Science Compass – onboarding in the German academic landscape

JuDocS recommends that international doctoral researchers participate in the onboarding course “Science Compass” within the first six months after the start of their doctoral project at Forschungszentrum Jülich if they do not have experience with the German academic system. This course will give international doctoral researchers an insight into how the German academic system and, more specifically, a German doctorate, works. It will cover the different phases of the doctorate, what is expected from a doctoral researcher and what can be expected from a supervisor. Furthermore, the different roles of Forschungszentrum Jülich and the university in the doctoral process will be addressed. Here, a special focus will be on what doctoral researchers absolutely must take care of at the university and faculty so that the graduation can take place without further difficulties. The second part of the workshop covers questions that may arise in the course of working and communicating at a German research centre. Common challenges and how to deal with them will be discussed.

Time required: 1 day (up to 12 participants in total)

Trainer: Dr. Christine Issa


  • Introduction to German academic culture
  • Understanding, how doing a doctorate in Germany works
  • Developing a set of strategies for dealing with intercultural work situations

Main topics

  • The different phases of doing a doctorate
  • Understanding the different roles of the university/faculty and Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Duties and expectations in the relationship between doctoral researcher and supervisor
  • Different expectations and communication styles in intercultural teams


  • individual and small group exercises (reflections, discussions)
  • plenary discussions
  • trainer input
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Last Modified: 05.06.2023