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PhD Initiatives

The PhD Council members are responsible for the PhD Teams. These teams organize a number of events that allow students to get to know each other and broaden their horizons, making a vital contribution to DKFZ community, from which we all benefit.

The teams are:

Welcome Team

The Welcome Team is not only there for candidates at the two selection rounds a year, but is also organising Welcome Lunches for all newcomers providing incoming PhD students with a smooth start into our scientific community. After your introduction meeting with the Graduate Office, members of the council take you out for lunch to the Casino. Take this opportunity to ask about anything you want! During the selection rounds, the Welcome Team organises social events to comfort you during the stressful and exciting days of the selection. The Welcome Team also responds to regular e-mail inquiries about being a doctoral researcher at the DKFZ and provides personal mentoring prior to and after arrival at the DKFZ.

Retreat Team

The Retreat Team is responsible for the PhD student retreat, held annually (June/July). The retreat aims to improve scientific and personal contacts among the approximately 70 attending doctoral researchers. It is similar to a small congress where doctoral researchers have the opportunity to present their PhD projects in the form of a poster or give a short talk. The team also organises social and teambuilding events as an integral part of the retreat.

Social Events and Networking Team

The Social Events and Networking Team is responsible for a variety of social events throughout the year, where people can come together in a relaxed atmosphere. These events include, but are not limited to, regular PhD Happy Hours, sports tournaments, parties and movie nights. The team welcomes and appreciates ideas for new activities and encourage everyone to pitch in!

Being a doctoral researcher means a lot of work but the Social Events and Networking Team makes sure that there is much more. It is not only about having fun and some drinks but also building your network with people from other research units. Are you sure you want to miss it?

Communication Team

This team aims at enhancing the interactions within the Doctoral Researchers at DKFZ.

Part of our work is also to support and collaborate with other teams in the events there are organising and try to keep everyone updated on what is going on in the life of doctoral researchers, by gathering information/pictures of the events organised by the different teams. Every other month, we prepare the PhD newsletter to summarise all the amazing events our doctoral researcher organised.

At the same time, they work together with the Graduate School, Press Office and Career Office to strengthen our in-house and external network alongside other research institutes in Heidelberg.

Conference Team

This Team works very closely with the Graduate Office organising either the International PhD Students Cancer Conference (IPSCC) or the Heidelberg Forum for Young Life Scientists (HFYLS), both international, inter-institutional and interdisciplinary conferences.

We are responsible for everything related to the conference, such as selecting speakers, collect sponsors, organise the Conference schedule, prepare the different activities, manage the applications for talks and posters, arrange all the logistics and much more.



Do you want to participate? New ideas of what our institute desperately needs? Contact us by email (

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