The Graduate Center at the University of Bremen promotes networking between doctoral students by means of PhD Success Teams, Doc-Networks and special offers for international students.

The focus in PhD Success Teams is on the respective research projects. The concept entails externally supervised peer coaching in small groups, whereby team members discuss issues concerning their individual research programs, project management and personal ambitions. The idea is that mutually agreed research objectives achieved within defined phases will lead to the successful completion of dissertations within a shorter time. Here are more information about the PhD Success Teams.

Doc-Networks are built up on the initiative of graduate students themselves, who create forums on research topics of mutual interest, methodology, and interdisciplinary approaches to research – often together with doctoral students at other universities and partner universities abroad. The networks develop mutual activities beyond the individual dissertation topics, such as the organization of meetings or co-authored publications. They serve to combine extended academic activities and early visibility in the scientific community with reciprocal informal support through the PhD process.

On a regular basis, the Graduate Center at the University of Bremen organizes meetings for international doctoral students. These serve to promote the exchange among doctoral candidates and as a forum to learn about the distinguishing features of life and studying at a German university.

Gruppe von Studierenden am Tisch mit Laptop, Schreibblock und Stift
© Universität Bremen


Graduate networks are formed on the initiative of doctoral candidates themselves. They create their own space for reciprocal peer support. Doc-Networks facilitate and enhance PhD research work by providing a source of peer counseling and advice, social inclusion and accompanying academic activities. 

The individual networks (list in German) are dedicated to an overarching theme (topic or method) that links together the research interests and projects of its members. As a rule, themes should have an interdisciplinary orientation. 

These networks serve to reinforce independent research on the part of doctoral students and advanced Masters’ students at an early stage of their careers as young researchers. The participation of international doctoral students is explicitly wished for.

What does a network do for me?

Doc-Networks have many advantages:

  • Peer counseling:  Doc-Networks enable the reciprocal exchange of experience and work techniques (methods and topics). Participants benefit from such tips and have a forum in which they can discuss their research work.

  • Social inclusion: You are part of a group. This presents a welcome and constructive interlude in the daily grind of doctoral research.

  • Coordination, knowledge, and motivation: You can engage in (disciplinary and interdisciplinary) discourse and the various activities made available through the network serve to boost motivation.

  • Accompanying academic activity: The network provides a source of interdisciplinary discourse beyond your specific field or university.

What will I need to create a Doc-Network?

Not so much:

  • Descriptive title/ underlying theme: The theme covered by the network is best illustrated via a descriptive title that provides a visible platform and facilitates finding other members. The title also fixes the frame as well as the thematic and methodological thrust of the network, making it easier for others to see a common reference point to their research.

  • Composition of members: Ideally, a network comprises 6 to 15 members, of whom one or two students act as contact- and spokespersons. Masters’ students may participate in the network on an equal footing, however, the doctoral students should be in the majority.

  • Written concept describing the thematic and methodological frame of the network, as well as how the individual dissertation topics fit in with these overarching themes (3-4 pages).

  • Brief introductory text: The network provides the Graduate Center at the University of Bremen with a brief text describing the main features that will be published online on the homepage of the Graduate Center.

What makes a successful network?

Active networks live from their members. Commitment, motivation and personal success are important factors.

  • Work in the network – learn from the network: The overarching theme or frame presents the possibility to work towards mutual aims. For example: Participation at scholarly meetings, invitations to guest lecturers or even interdisciplinary publications and projects. A cross-disciplinary and personal exchange of experiences (stumbling blocks, time sinks, good research methods, or new developments and stimuli) is also an important factor.

  • Interdisciplinary exchange: The likelihood of overlaps within the network gives you new ideas, widens your perspective of the science landscape through the influence of other subjects and, of course, everyone in the network also benefits from your experience.

  • Commitment/ regularity: Regular participation is important.

  • Additional activities: Every network develops additional activities, e.g. the organization of special lectures with external speakers, joint contributions to conferences or invitations to alumni for orientation to future careers.

What funding is available to promote networks?

  • Active Networks can apply for up to 2500 € p.a. for the funding of any individual activities they initiate. Among other things, the money can be used to cover the fees of lecturers or speakers, the organization of workshops and scholarly meetings and printing costs for co-authored publications. The funding can be spread over several different activities and applications can be submitted three times a year.

  • Transferable skills/Kick-off workshop: For every new network, ProUB organises and funds a workshop according to the specific needs of the members (e.g. time management, presentation skills, moderation).

  • Support and counseling offered by the Graduate Center: Once founded, Doc-Networks can avail themselves of the counseling offered by the Graduate Center at the University of Bremen at any time and count on its support and assistance.

  • Graduate Center publicity service: The Graduate Center will introduce every new Doc-Network on its web platform and assist in finding new members.

What else could materialize?

Beside material, social, and personal support and encouragement, Doc-Networks may also result in concrete positive results for your own life course.

  • Career push: A Doc-Network enables you to join in academic discourse with researchers in your field – also after having completed the PhD process. You are able to establish interdisciplinary contacts and acquire insights and competences beyond the boundaries of your own PhD project.

  • Co-authored publications: Via co-authored publications you can increase your standing in the scientific community. Together with the group or part of it, you can publish joint articles, project results or initiate scholarly meetings.

  • Interesting inclusion in your résumé: When submitting job applications you can refer to your activities and achievements in the Doc-Network, providing an interesting addition to your other qualifications.