HHU StartMNFiGRASPseedDoctoral Program

Qualification program

The iGRASPseed qualification program uniquely meets the demands of an outstanding innovative and future-oriented doctoral training and aims at the development of a broad range of scientific and further profession-relevant skills. The doctoral fellows will be trained in all-embracing methods, theory and understanding of protein science and technology as well as in transferable skills.

In detail the iGRASPseed student fellows will hold a tremendous theoretical and methodical expertise in the fields of production and purification of proteins (including enzymes), their characterization, functional analysis, structure determination, dynamic modeling and the design of new proteins. Furthermore iGRASPseed fellows will gain a deep scientific understanding of the structure and dynamics of biologically and medically relevant proteins due to the variety of proteins examined in iGRASPseed research projects, ranging from medical and pharmaceutical disease-relevant proteins (e.g., aggregating proteins), structurally and functionally relevant proteins (e.g., membrane proteins) to biotechnologically and / or chemically relevant proteins (e.g., molecular machines, biocatalysts). Moreover, they will grasp the subsequent consequences of molecular mechanisms and interactions on the sub-cellular, cellular and organism level.

Additional training courses in transferable skills combined with subsequent, guided practice in essential profession relevant skills will enable iGRASPseed student fellows to build up an individual and complementary profile of diverse key competences, thereby completing their exceptional profile of scientific expertise and professionalism.

Some outstanding parts of the educational program in iGRASPseed are the annual student symposium organized by iGRASPseed fellows and CLIB-GC fellows, the iGRASPseed retreats and the Protein Science School which is organized by the participating research groups.

The complete iGRASPseed qualification program can be outlined as follows:

Module M1: The iGRASPseed student fellows will complete a highly interdisciplinary doctoral research project within three years (including the completion of the thesis). They will learn the fundamentals of scientific methodologies and theories and will be introduced to autonomous scientific work.

Module M2: Additional profound training in key protein methods including protein purification and functional assays, structure determination, dynamic modeling, rational design and directed evolution will be trained within yearly Lab Rotations and during Shadow Days. The iGRASPseed student fellows will absolve 1-2 days of so called “Shadow Days” a year. During these days experts will track the fellows as their “shadow” during typical lab days to introduce to delicate techniques. The yearly “Lab Rotation” will train the iGRASPseed student fellows in up-to-date methods in protein science and/or to learn techniques which can be helpful for the fellow’s research project. Usually the “Lab Rotation” should take one week per year, but can be scheduled demand-oriented and time-variable. Both training methods can be absolved in the lab of the co-supervisor or other iGRASPseed members, but also in collaboration with international partners and industry.

Module M3: The annual iGRASPseed Retreat will serve as an interchange of ideas and discussion of problems comprising the doctoral research project. The retreat will include presentations of the scientific work/progress of each iGRASPseed student fellow, lectures and workshops in the field of protein science and technology. In the first year the iGRASPseed Retreat will conclude a workshop on “good scientific practice” in cooperation with iGRAD (Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Academy Düsseldorf).

Module M4: The Protein Science School will be absolved in an half-day seminar every month. The iGRASPseed student fellows will present their scientific research alternating. The inviting Institute will give a lecture on their scientific research topic and will present their actual scientific work. Furthermore invited researchers will give talks.

Together with the CLIB graduate school iGRASPseed student speakers organize the annual CLIB-GC & iGRASPseed Student Symposium 'From Gene to Protein and Beyond'.

Module M5: The iGRASPseed student fellows will absolve the iGRASPseed specific curriculum in transferable skills in cooperation with iGRAD (Interdisciplinary Graduate Research Academy Düsseldorf). Qualification training courses in a broad range of specific and general transferable skills combined with subsequent, guided practice in essential profession relevant skills are offered. The iGRASPseed specific curriculum of iGRAD contains four two-day courses in profession-relevant transferable skills. These courses will be completed in parallel to the PhD project. The iGRASPseed student fellows have to participate in one course from the field presentation/communication/rhetoric, in one course from the field project management/self-management/organization and in two courses from optional fields which can be choosen from the annual iGRAD-program. Furthermore the fellows will absolve the course “good scientific practice” containing in the first year iGRASPseed Retreat (Module M3).

Module M6: Starting their PhD the iGRASPseed student fellows and their supervisors will design a scientific project research plan for the first year and will sign the “Agreement on Training and Supervision”. In an annual Follow-Up Meeting Report the iGRASPseed student fellows and their supervisors will design a research plan for the following year again and will report on the PhD project progress.

Module M7: iGRASPseed will support the practice in essential career skills while awarding attendance of scientific conferences, presenting of project results by talks or poster and the publication of PhD project results with Credit Points.

Module M8: iGRASPseed student fellows have to complete a language course “German for foreigners” in their first year of PhD project or alternatively as native German-speaking student a course in “Scientific English”.


Responsible for the content: E-MailMartina Holz