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CRC 806 – Our Way to Europe: Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG): Quaternary Science and Geoarchaeology (project Z3)


The Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) since the establishment of CRC 806 brings together PhD students in an interdisciplinary forum of discussion, education, and research. Along with PhD students of the CRC sensu stricto, usually in junior researcher (part-time) positions within CRC projects, IRTG membership is also made available to PhD students from collaborating institutions and scholars with independent funding but scientific topics related to the CRC research. 

The aims of the IRTG are threefold. First, the IRTG is designed to provide active support to its graduate students during their studies. Second, it promotes and maintains academic networking both within the CRC itself, and with external, nationally and internationally recognised experts and institutions. And third, it aims to prepare young scientists who are completing their doctoral theses within the CRC with the necessary skills for their post-doctoral academic careers. The concept developed for the IRTG of CRC 806, which has proven immensely beneficial to the successful implementation of our goals in the first phase of the CRC, is founded on three important organisational and academic pillars. These include: 

(1) CRC Lecture Series

The CRC Lecture Series is one of the most important seminars organised by the IRTG. It provides a meeting point not only for PhD students but for all members of CRC 806. In addition to lectures presented by CRC members, who report on recent developments from their projects, a main aim of the lecture-series is to gain insights and make contacts to national and international centres of expertise working with similar methods and in similar areas. This is achieved through invitations of external specialists to Cologne to give scientific presentation, which are subsequently discussed in detail. 

(2) PhD Seminar

At the PhD Seminar, PhD students present methods and results of their research to peers and colleagues in the research centre. Due to the international character of the CRC, presentations are made in English. This reinforces the skills learned in the frame of the PhD-workshops (see below), on which academic English language and communication skills constitute a fundamental part of the curriculum. 

(3) PhD Workshops

Within the frame of PhD Workshops, PhD students are provided with the opportunity to develop and improve upon a range of different skills, including important soft-skills. Workshops are offered on a regular basis (usually once per term) and take the form of block-seminars lasting two to three days. Alternatively, they can be staggered over the entire term. Among the topics offered to IRTG members are an introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS), an introduction to computer-based statistical processing (e.g., R and Matlab), English presentation and debating skills and scientific writing, and – in preparation for post-doctoral status – courses on third-party (external) funding acquisition. 

Additionally, a literature club provides a forum for the discussion of new and important scientific papers. Finally, social events are offered to promote interaction between candidates. For the participation in these activities, for the presentation of posters and oral contributions to workshops and meetings, as well as for scientific publications, every candidate is awarded credit points (as in a master programme).