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Research AktuelL


Dear Reader, at the moment, we experience a fairly controversial discussion on the nature of a dissertation. On the one hand there is the tradition where the dissertation is based exclusively on the preparation of the thesis. An individual supervision is the usual case but (e.g. in mathematics) principally not mandatory. On the other hand there is the tendency for a comprehensive dissertation programme in which, in parallel to the work on the thesis, knowledge is imparted through lectures, seminars, etc., similar to the university studies before starting the dissertation. This tendency is older than the Research Training Groups of the DFG and other similarly structured dissertation programmes. These can be identified by the apparent existence of a rigorosum as the final examination which embraces a topic that may only be loosely connected with the contents of the thesis itself. However, the programme of the Research Training Group of the DFG is another step towards a de-individualisation of the dissertation. A structured training component is thereby advocated. There are several reasons for the advancement of this structure. Doctoral students in interdisciplinary projects do not have specialized knowledge from their prior university studies fulfilling the requirements of the project. Second, there is nowadays the growing concern that the specialisation has gone too far and that the exclusive preoccupation with the individual research project during the dissertation should be avoided. Third, the reason for the structured training of doctoral students is that students with bachelor degrees or from foreign universities are admitted, who do not have the required qualifications as the former diploma degree students. In future, this last aspect will probably become more important. With the growing number of cases, it has to be considered that the introduction of an examination, similar to the American qualifying exam, may be necessary. Though, this is a rather practical question. It is more difficult to ascertain the proportion of the degree course that should be allocated to activities apart from the actual work on the dissertation. The most difficult question in this context is probably: How much subject-specific, general training should be included in such a structured dissertation programme; and how should this training be imparted. In the Research Academy Leipzig this question is not answered by guidelines with good reasons. Standards will be established through practical experience of the present and future structured dissertation programmes. It would be desirable, if the scope of the courses on offer would exceed the duration of the actual project funding. Prof. Dr. Stephan Luckhaus

Newsletter der Research Academy Leipzig


Research Academy Leipzig



New International School in Leipzig The newly established International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity is based at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, and the University of Leipzig. The school also involves the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, and the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, UK.

The IMPRS offers a unique interdisciplinary graduate programme to study the functional, structural, and plastic bases of human communication. Its overriding goal is to train PhD students in the multidisciplinary aspects of cognition, psychology, and neuroscience which are involved in communicative action, and to introduce them to specific research topics within this broad area of academic endeavour. The graduate programme, with a duration of three years, will start with the Summer Semester 2009 (1 April 2009). Highly qualified and motivated research students from all over the world are invited to apply for a PhD scholarship at the IMPRS. Further information: Second Leipzig Dissertation Prize of the RAL At the annual meeting of the RAL on the 27th of November 2008 the second Leipziger Dissertation Prize of the Research Academy Leipzig was awarded for the second time. Three scientists received this distinction for their outstanding dissertation: Dr. Alexandra Bendixen (GC Life Sciences), Dr. Isabella Löhr (GC Humanities and Social Sciences) and Dr. Nadine Große (GC Mathematics/Computer Science and Natural Sciences).

Dr. Isabella Löhr, Dr. Alexandra Bendixen, Dr. Nadine Große: awardees of the Leipzig Dissertation Prize of the RAL 2008

Presentation of the Boston Consulting Group Over 50 doctoral students of the RAL participated in a presentation by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on the 15th of January. The BCG provided information on chances and perspectives for scientists with a PhD from non-business research areas to join a consulting company. During the reception following the lecture there was room for informal conversations. RAL at the MIT European Career Fair in Boston As in the previous year, the RAL was represented with a stand at the MIT European Career Fair. They presented the activities in the structured qualification of doctoral students at the University of Leipzig. This fair is the largest of its' kind in the United States attracting 3000 visitors every year. Graduate Centre Life Sciences Poster prize for doctoral students At this years Research Festival at the Max-Bürger-Centre three doctoral students from the GC Life Sciences received poster prizes: Regina Linnertz (Paul-Flechsig Institute for Brain Research) investigates the autocrine volume regulation of Müller cells, Mirko Witte (AG Neurobiology, Institute of Biology II) demonstrates the development of inhibitory synaptic transmission in the auditory brain stem, and Grit Schaarschmidt (Clinic and Policlinic of Neurology) is looking into the functional development of human neuronal progenitor cells. Three new classes within the GC Life Sciences Alongside the International Max-Planck Research School "Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity" (IMPRS NeuroCom), two additional Graduate Centres will be integrated as new classes within the GC Life Sciences in 2009. The DFG conceded an application for the graduate school "Protein Sciences" within the scope of the SFB 610, spokeswoman Prof. A. Beck-Sickinger (q.v. PbF III). Another graduate school is planned to be integrated in the positively reviewed Transregion-SFB "Matrix Engineering controlling healing processes in bone and skin tissue. From the material to the clinic" (spokesman Prof J.C. Simon). Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences Grant Application for an IGK with the University of Stellenbosch In autumn, the DFG positively evaluated the preliminary grant application for the establishment of an International Research Training Group "Germany and South Africa in a new global order". The applicants from the University of Leipzig and Stellenbosch are now invited to submit a full grant application this spring. In February 2009, Ulf Engel will visit the University of Stellenbosch in order to incorporate the suggestions of the reviewers. Secluded Winter Conference of the IPP "Transnationalisation and Regionalisation" and the Research Training Group "Critical Junctures of Globalisation" On February the 4th and 7th the secluded conference of the International Doctoral Degree Course (IPP, Internationaler Promotionsstudiengang) "Transnationalisation and Regionalisation" and the research training group "Critical Junctures of Globalisation" took place in Leipzig. The Research Training Group will meet in the Thomaskirchhof 20, the doctoral degree course at the Mediencampus Villa Ida. The secluded conferences will serve on the one hand to promote a

focussed discussion with the directors on the work progress of all doctoral students, on the other hand to evaluate internally the individual classes as well as to debate the research perspectives that form the bases of the classes. Interdisciplinary Series of Lectures "Doing the Inevitable: Comparison in Scientific Praxis" The Leibnitz-Institute for Regional Geography in collaboration with the Graduate Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences is hosting an interdisciplinary series of lectures on comparative research. This series of lectures with the title "Doing with the Inevitable: Comparison in Scientific Praxis" commenced on the 27th of January at the IfL with a talk by Matthias Middell on "Conjunctures of Comparisons in Historical Research". Scholarships In November 2008 the Foundation Examination and Reappraisal of Communist Dictatorship in Former East Germany awarded six scholarships. Two of these were offered to doctoral students of the doctoral degree course "Transnationalisation and Regionalisation": Fruzsina Müller and Steffi Töpfer. Congratulations! Graduate Centre Mathematics/ Computer Science and Natural Sciences BuildMoNa Award 2008 On the 10th of December 2008 the first anniversary of the Graduate School BuildMoNa was celebrated. The festive lecture given by Prof. Stefan Spange, TU Chemnitz, focussed on "Twin-Polymerisation" as an example for ring opening polymerisation in the synthesis of innovative materials. The coordinator of the Graduate School, Prof. Evamarie HeyHawkins, gave a review over the last year in which already 74 doctoral students were admitted to the Graduate School working on interdisciplinary research topics.

BuildMoNa-Preisträger Florian Huber, P. Santosh Kumar, Christian Patzig

During the celebration, outstanding scientific achievements of doctoral students were honoured with the BuildMoNa Award. The first prize (endowed with 2.500 ) was received by Christian Patzig for his overall achievements of his work on "Glancing Angle Deposition of Silicon Nanostructures". In particular the number and quality of his publications and talks was accentuated. The second prize (of 1.500 ) was given to P. Santosh Kumar for his paper on "Factors Relevant for the Regioselective Cyclopolymerization of 1,6-Heptadiynes, N,N-Dipropargylamines, N,N-Dipropargyl Ammonium Salts, and Dipropargyl Ethers by RuIV-Alkylidene-Based Metathesis Initiators" (Kumar, P.

Santosh; Buchmeiser, Michael; Wurst, Klaus; J. Am. Chem. Soc., in press). P. Santosh Kumar also received the Best-Poster-Award at the NATO ASI Meeting in Antalya 2008. The third prize (of 1000 ) was awarded to Florian Huber for his paper on "Growing Actin Networks form Lamellipodium and Lamellum by Self-Assembly". Prof. Dr. Evamarie Hey-Hawkins 2nd BuildMoNa Symposium The second BuildMoNa Symposium will be held from the 2nd to the 4th of April. The following international guest speakers are invited: Prof. Dr. Bruce Weismann, Rice University Houston, Prof. Dr. Jaen Louis Barrat, Université Claude Bernard-Lyon I and Prof. Claudia Steinem, Universität Regensburg, as well as industrial representatives, who will talk about current research topics. The doctoral students of the Graduate School BuildMoNa will present their work during a poster session. The symposium will be held in the Arthur Hantzsch lecture theatre at the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy. Guests are welcome. Information and registration under: Evaluation of Research Training Group 'IMPRS MIS' On the 9th of January the IMPRS MIS (International MaxPlanck Research School, Mathematics in Sciences) was evaluated on behalf of the MPG by the following referees: Prof. Alexander Mielke (Berlin), Prof. Werner Nahm (Dublin), Prof. Michael Struwe (Zürich) and Prof. Harry Yserentant (Berlin). The spokesman Prof. Stephan Luckhaus and the coordinator Dr. Hayk Mikayelyan introduced the concept of the IMPRS MIS. The doctoral students provided poster presentations. Moreover, the graduates Dr. N. Grosse, Dr. Y. Savchuk, Dr. M. Zhu as well as the doctoral students B. Zwicknagel, S. Kühn, J. Schlemmer gave a presentation of their work. The official report is expected in March. However, the evaluators pronounced in advance that they will recommend a grant application for extension of funding by another six years.

GC Mathematics/ Computer Science and Natural Sciences Aliaksandr Baidak, Christina König, Michal Lutecki, Karthik Paithankar, Kristina Schuckmann, Sven Stadlbauer, Ana-Maria Valean (IPP "Interdisciplinary Research at the Frontiers of Chemistry"), Oraphan Saengsawang (Thailand), Stephan Zschiegner, Hans Friedrich Witschel, Ronny Melz. Our congratulations!

Staff Matters

New Coordinator of the GC Mathematics/ Computer Science and Natural Sciences On the 1st of February Dr. Laura Rodriguez resumes the coordination of the GC Mathematics/ Computer Science and Natural Sciences. She is the successor of Dr. Doritt Luppa, whom we sincerely thank for her work at the RAL. Contact details: Dr. Laura Rodríguez, Johannisgasse 26, Zimmer 2-14, Tel. 0341-97 32 105, [email protected] Election of the RAL PhD Students Representatives On the 15th of January Ines Keske was elected by the representatives of the individual classes of the RAL as the representative of the Doctoral Students. Lars Baumann was elected as vice representative. They replace Sandra Veser, whom we sincerely thank for her commitment. Coordinator of the IMPRS NeuroCom Dr. Antje Holländer was appointed as coordinator with the establishment of the new International Max-Planck Research School (IMPRS) "NeuroCom" ("Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity"). Her responsibilities amongst others are the development and organization of the IMPRS, and she is there to help with any queries from applicants. Contact details: Dr. Antje Holländer, coordinator of the IMPRS, Tel. 0341 9940 2261, [email protected] de,


Last year, the following doctoral students successfully concluded their dissertations at the centres of the RAL. GC Humanities and Social Sciences Luise Althanns: Culture of Consumption during the Transformation from Socialism to Free Market Economy. The Cities of Leipzig and Moscow as Examples between 1980 and 2000; Isabella Löhr: Setting forth towards a global governance of cultural property: The globalisation of intellectual properties within new structures of international collaboration (1886-1952); Victoria Reinhardt: Subsidies versus Accession Perspectives. Brussels and Chisinau since the collapse of the Soviet Union. GC Life Sciences Dr. Philipp Kanske, Dr. Kristin Liebal, Dr. Valentin Wagner from the Research Training Group "Attention"; Dr. Raymond Chan, Dr. Anja Fielder, Dr. Jens Gerdelmann, Dr. Thomas Reinert, Dr. Nicole Schliebe, Dr. Sandra Tolnai, Dr. Elke Ulbricht, Dr. Christina Wolf from the Research Training Group "Interneuro"; Dr. Sandra Fuchs, Dr. Alexandra Ludwig aus dem IPP ,,Signal" and Dr. Matthew Skinner from the IMPRS "Human Origin".


Scholarships of the IMPRS NeuroCom Scholarships are advertised at the International Max-Planck Research School "Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity". (IMPRS NeuroCom). New Doctoral Research Grants of the Research Training Group "Critical Junctures of Globalization" Starting with the 1st of April, further 10 doctoral research grants for the duration of two years are offered within the DFG Research Training Group. The Research Training Group is then in the last round of awarding research grants during the first period of promotion (2006 to 2010).


PbF2 "Mathematical Sciences" Analysis of Stochastic Surface Evolution: From Microscopic Models to Large Scale Behaviour The main topic of this workshop was mesoscopic (continuum) models for the dynamics of stochastically disturbed interfaces in statistical mechanics and materials

science. The behaviour of such interfaces under the influence of a consistent propelling force, especially the thereof resulting transition from a solid to a random motion interface, is of much interest in physics. We brought together physicists and mathematicians working on analysis and probability theory in order to make a contribution to the rigorous understanding of such phenomena. Further information: PbF3 "Molecular and Cellular Communication: Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Biomedical Science in Therapy and Diagnostics" New Class "Protein Science" The Collaborative Research Centre 610 "Variation in Protein Conformation: Cellbiological and Pathological Relevance" is a joint project of the University of Leipzig and the MartinLuther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. This SFB is going into the third period of promotion and will extend its research profile with an integrated Research Training Group "Protein Science" starting in January 2009. The new class is directed at all doctoral students of the SFB 610. The structured qualification programme will support the students during their work on the dissertation and will introduce them, with the help of diverse didactic methods, to the workflow from the biochemical protein characterisation and isolation to the clarification of the protein conformation on the molecular level. Furthermore, the integrated Research Training Group provides the conceptual and methodical network for the individual subprojects and promotes competent collaboration of the two research disciplines within the SFB: the natural and medical sciences. With the help of the specific university training facilities (Leipzig: RAL, Halle: HaMol), the doctoral students will be able to receive complementary scientific training as well as possibilities to further qualify in essential scientific skills (e.g. scientific writing). The acquired credit points can be used to substitute the rigorosum. Spokesperson of the integrated Research Training Group "Protein Science" for Leipzig is Prof. Dr. Torsten Schöneberg, Medical Faculty. Contact details: Prof. Dr. Torsten Schöneberg, Telefon: 0341 97-22151, E-Mail: [email protected] PbF4 "Brain, Cognition and Language" The founding of the Medical NeuroCentre (MedNeZ) On December the 11th 2008 the Medical NeuroCentre (MedNeZ) was set up out of the Top-Level Research Area IV. The increase in neurodegenerative illnesses such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, dementia or depression, should result in an effort to merge fundamental and clinical research with the aim to develop effective diagnostic and therapeutic measures and to optimise approved ones. With the help of the Medical NeuroCentre the knowledge of the brain research aims to reach the patients as directly and quickly as possible. EU Fund for Brain Researchers from Leipzig The research group of PD Dr. Steffen Roßner of the PaulFlechsig-Institute for Brain Research of the University of IMPRESSUM

Leipzig received a fund from the European Commission in the amount of 430.000 which is placed within the existing neuroscientific framework programme "NEUROPRO". The enzym Prolyloligopeptidase (POP) is the focal point in this research group. It plays a particularly important role in physiological processes in the brain, but also in the development of neural illnesses. The capacity of the enzyme will be under investigation and, furthermore, its importance during the development and progress of neurodegenerative illnesses, e.g. considering Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease. Overhead for DFG Project Professor Dr. Erich Schröger, Institute for Psychology I of the University of Leipzig, received an overhead of 1.250.000 for the Reinhart-Koselleck-Project of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Thereby, Prof. Dr. Schröger is one of the first beneficiaries of this new funding programme. This project focuses on the potential scopes of automatic modelling and the systematic acquisition of auditory rules, as well as the suppression of the brain's response to autogenous stimuli. Schröger hopes to prove that the prediction and verification of what was predicted play a key role in both of these areas and that they are based on similar cognitive processes.


Interdisciplinary Qualification Programme Workshop: "Presentation Techniques for Scientists" Lecturer: Markus Schubert and Thomas Lehr, Trainer & founder coaches of SMILE Dates: The Basics of Presenting: 4.03. 10-17; Training: in groups, participants may choose a date (9. 03. 13-17h; 10. 03. 9-13h; 11. 03. 13-17h; 12.03. 9-13h); Presentations in front of a panel of experts: 18. 03. 9-12h or 13-16h Registration under: Colloquium of the doctoral students of the BBZ 4th of February, 17h Center for Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Deutscher Platz 5, lecture theatre GC Mathematics/Computer Science and Natural Sciences BuildMoNa Training Activities Scientific and methods modules 2008-M09: Hybrid Systems 11. ­ 12. 02. 2009-M01: Nanomanipulations 19. ­ 20. 03. 2009-M02: From molecules to materials 23. ­ 24. 04. Transferable skills "Writing and publishing research" Part Two 12. ­ 13. 03. Registration under: [email protected]

Herausgeber: Prof. Dr. Martin Schlegel, Leiter der Research Academy Leipzig Kontakt: Research Academy Leipzig, Otto-Schill-Str. 2, 04109 Leipzig, Telefon: 0341 97-32350, Fax: 0341 97-32353, E-Mail: [email protected]




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