Press release from April 28th, 2008

New HIGRADE graduate school gets off to a good start

Leipzig. The new HIGRADE graduate school has got off the ground with a high proportion of female and foreign postgraduate students. Of a total of 130 students, the majority (75) are female. Around a quarter of the PhD students come from abroad. The new Helmholtz Interdisciplinary GRADuate School for Environmental research (HIGRADE) opened in October 2007. The graduate school has funding for six years totalling EUR 3.6 million from the Helmholtz President’s Impuls- und Vernetzungsfond (Initiative and Networking Fund). It is a collaborative venture between the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and six German universities: Universität Leipzig, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Technische Universität Dresden, Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in, and Universität Kassel.

PhD conference at the UFZ

PhD conference at the UFZ
Photo: André Künzelmann/UFZ

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Sixteen of the 18 scholarships for the first three years have now been filled. The scholarship holders are based primarily at their respective universities, but are financed from the Helmholtz fund. Over 200 postgraduate students from Europe, North and South America, Africa and especially Asia applied for the scholarships in environmental research. “Good scientists don’t grow on trees. It is often not easy to find the right people for research projects,” explains Prof. Olaf Kolditz, spokesperson for the graduate school. “Support for the next generation of researchers really begins at university. This means that we are able to select the best minds when making the offer of a PhD.” The collaboration between one of the Helmholtz centres and the universities primarily benefits the graduates. They can make use of the good technical facilities of the UFZ whilst working towards their doctorate at the university. It also opens up new career prospects for some of the postgraduate students.

By the end of April the PhD students will have been able to collect credits in ten courses and three other events from the seven departments. Nine more events are planned this year. They include the annual PhD conference, at which the doctoral students present their work to all the UFZ staff. This year the conference took place on 23 April at KUBUS, the UFZ conference centre.

More Information:

Dr. Vera Bissinger
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Phone +49 341 235-1844

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Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Press office
Tilo Arnhold / Doris Böhme
Telefon: +49 (0)341 235 2278


Graduate School HIGRADE

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ was established in 1991 and has about 800 employees in Leipzig, Halle/S. and Magdeburg. They study the complex interactions between humans and the environment in cultivated and damaged landscapes. The scientists develop concepts and processes to help secure the natural foundations of human life for future generations.
The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space. With 25,700 employees in 15 research centres and an annual budget of approximately 2.3 billion euro, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).