Information from GAUSS & GAUSS Career Service

GAUSS Career Workshop: “Supervising PhD Students as a Postdoc” (24 October 2023)


We are happy to announce our next GAUSS Career Workshop “Supervising PhD Students as a Postdoc” by Dr. Silke Oehrlein-Karpi.

Date: Tuesday, 24 October 2023
Duration: 1 full day (9:00-17:00h)
Location: GZMB building, seminar room -1.105, basement, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11 (map)
Trainer: Dr. Silke Oehrlein-Karpi

Registration: Please register here and send an email to including a short statement on your motivation to attend the workshop.

Workshop Description: 

During the profiling and positioning phase on the way to academic independence in the German academic system, it is part of the process to secure grants, such as Emmy Noether (DFG), in order to start one´s own research group. Usually, those programs have one to three staff members (doctoral candidates, technical staff, and student assistants). Obviously, this group setting is characterized by mutual interpersonal dependencies. That means that junior research group leaders bear the responsibility for developing motivated individuals and a productive research group, beside of keeping their specific research tasks and laboratory activities going. Due to this increasing complexity, it is never simple to make the role transition from being a postdoc and colleague to becoming a junior research group leader. Instead, it is a classic problem of supervisors in science that there is a strong need to invest time and energy in additional supervision and management tasks. Actually, a whole range of personal, methodological and social competencies are necessary to develop in addition to the subject-related expertise.

Knowing one’s own competencies and integrating them into supervision activities in a solution-oriented and appropriate manner has proven to be extremely helpful.

This onsite workshop allows to reflect on these challenges with a focus on the following topics:

  • ME as a supervisor – Guided reflection on personal supervision style
  • Motives, motivation & professional development of PhD students
  • Conflicts, crises & mental health – Early warnings and interventions

Methods and approaches:

  • PreWork: – Preparatory assessment of the current situation regarding the topic of supervising doctoral students 14 days before the workshop commences
  • Informative short theory parts on the above mentioned contents
  • Alternating between interaction in the whole group and small group work
  • Interactive work based on case studies or personal examples
  • Feedback and change of perspective to expand one’s own scope of action
  • Provision with checklists on supervision-related topics
  • PostWork –  Several workshop-related e-learnings
  • Voluntary PostWork: Compilation of one´s own individual supervision profile