Photo: Maciej Czekajewski/

Testimonials: HIGRADE-funded Activities

IONTOF User´s Training Course 2018, Münster (D)

Pietro Benettoni


What was the most interesting thing you experienced during the trip about science?
During this experience my scientific horizon got broadened by meeting many different other researchers that use this instrument for completely different purposes and applications.
Often you are limited in your way of thinking due to your education or personal experience and thus, it was very interesting for me to get to know other point of views and possible use of this instrument.

IONTOF Training Course 2018 participants. Photo: IONTOF

What was most valuable about the trip for your personal life?
During this course we were often accompanied around the city by the R&D and application employers of ION TOF, so I had the opportunity to get to know them outside of their working place. It was very interesting and inspiring to learn about their personal stories and growth within the community and the company.
I would say that I aspire to become as experienced and successful as they are. 

SENSE/HIGRADE course "Stable Isotopes Applications in Microbiology and Environmental Studies", 11-14 December 2017 in Wageningen (NL)

Washington Logrono and other HIGRADE PhDs

Stable Isotopes Course HIGRADE SENSE 2017. Photo: Xin You, UFZ.

What was the most interesting thing you learned during the trip about science?

I have grasped the main concepts of stable isotopes and how to apply them in the field of microbiology. Different case studies were presented and that was a great asset for the course. The presentations covered different areas, and that was very important check whether some of the approaches could be applied to my research or not.

Stable Isotopes course HIGRADE SENSE 2017. Photo: Xin You, UFZ.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about the country/region?

The massive utilization of bicycles was astonishing. We usually find parking zones for cars in the underground of buildings; however, the same parking zones were observed but for bicycles. It was surprising that almost no walls were found in the interiors of the buildings. The concept of a continuously developing and sustainable building of the campus was very interesting.

N² Science Communication Conference, 6-8 November 2017 in Berlin

Susann Birnstengel and other HIGRADE PhDs

N² Conference 2017

The joint event of N² – the PhD networks Max Planck PhDnet, Helmholtz Juniors and Leibniz PhD Network – was meant to give an insight into state-of-the-art science communication as well as a possibility to explore new avenues without neglecting the past.

What was the most interesting thing you learned during the trip about science?

The conference was about science communication. The important thing for me was the aspect that people that are talking about science communication often don’t mean the same thing. That came out clearly during the conference. Whether we are talking about science communication to public or about science communication to a scientific audience needed to be sort out many times…

What was most valuable about the trip for your personal life?

How important clear messages are, core points and a good way of presenting what I am interested in. And the point that teaching is important because it makes you realize what you haven’t understood yet.

Would you recommend this event to other PhDs?

Yes. I think it is important to share our science and our knowledge with non-scientists, and this conference gave a little insight to the ways and possibilities of doing so.

NextGen@Helmholtz 2017 at GEOMAR/Kiel

Several HIGRADE PhDs

NextGen @ Helmholtz

The NextGen is a conference organised by the Helmholtz-Juniors to allow the doctoral researchers from all over the Helmholtz society to meet once a year for a scientific and personal get-together to get to know each other and their work and find partners and friends for the future.

"We had some days of fresh air that gave me new impulse and enthusiasm for doing research. It was a great opportunity to rediscover and rethink our task as the workforce of the scientific community. The organizers did a great job and it's remarkable that they voluntarily took time of their lives to do so. Such events are extremely important to share with people that can deeply understand what implies being a Ph.D. student nowadays. It was also great because the content of the workshops was about science but not only about science."

Other Events & Activities Funded by HIGRADE

Field trips/ Courses 2017

  • Paperwriting Workshop with Dr. Matthias Koschorreck, February 2017
  • Trip to Federal Environment Agency (UBA), September 2017
  • Field trip "Mapping Ecosystem Services", September 2017
  • HIGRADE/WIMEK course: Stable Isotope Applications in Microbiology and Environmental Studies, Wageningen, December 2017

Paperwriting Workshop in the Harz mountains. / Photo: Matthias Koschorreck, UFZ
Paperwriting Workshop 2018 in the Harz mountains. / Photo: Matthias Koschorreck, UFZ

Individual trips 2016/17

  • 4th Summer School Biotransformations 2017, Hannover (D)
  • Course "The FEM for Deforming Porous Media", Dublin (IRL)
  • iDiv Summer School 2017 – Synthesising and modelling biodiversity data (D)
  • Summer School 2017 "Sense making of GPS Data in a GIS Environment", Utrecht (NL)
  • Course "CFF with OpenFOAM", Stuttgart (D)
  • Summer School: Dynamic Modeling of Toxic Effects", Holbaek (DK)
  • Course "Age and Anatomical Structure of Plants", Kloster Dorf (CH)
  • Summer School "Spatio-Temporal Data Analyses Using Free Software", Matera (IT)
  • Summer School "Advanced Course on Metabolomics for Microbial Systems Biology", Delft (NL)
  • Course "Dynamic Modeling of Toxic Effects", Copenhagen (Denmark)
  • Sommerschule "Qualitätssicherung in der Analytischen Chemie", Berlin (D)
  • "Phytoplankton pigment analysis course", Horsholm (DK)
  • Fortran Workshop HLRS, Stuttgart (D)
  • ...