Educational Concept

The central part of any doctoral thesis is the scientific project. The doctoral researchers of the TRR 241 will be in charge of their individual projects and, guided by their supervisor, will design and perform the experiments, followed by data interpretation and presentation. The research project and the educational curriculum will be discussed by the candidate with the mentoring committee, who will provide a detailed feedback on project advances and provide advice in case of problems.

A structured educational program will complement the research project itself, thus ensuring a successful doctoral study. The doctoral researchers will learn from faculty, and also from each other, about laboratory routines, modern technologies, and experimental set-ups in research-oriented, interdisciplinary lectures and practical courses. In particular, iRTG researchers will be trained in critical handling of research data in the context of good scientific practice, scientific thinking and reasoning as well as in skills for the effective communication of their research work.

All courses will be given in English.


The iRTG-TRR 241 concept will be composed of the two following structural modules:

(I.) an IBD joint scientific program and

(II.) a career and competence program.


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I. The IBD joint scientific program

The IBD joint scientific program aims to provide doctoral researchers with profound expertise in IBD-related science (theoretic background, methodical aspects and networking)

Coordinated scientific forum devoted to IBD. This forum will take place once a month in Erlangen and Berlin and will be projected as an open webinar allowing a direct interaction between doctoral researchers from both sites. All doctoral researchers included in the TRR 241 from both sites will participate in the event. The forum will be co-chaired by a doctoral researcher (rotation system) together with Imke Atreya (Erlangen), Chiara Romagnani (Berlin) or other faculty members and will include a progress report of an individual doctoral project as well as discussion of current data from literature (journal club; both presented by a doctoral researcher; rotation system).

This forum will in particular support doctoral researchers with regard to the following aspects:

(1) broad scientific education on IBD, intestinal epithelial cells and immunology, including state-of-the-art technologies;

(2) networking and exchange of knowledge between doctoral candidates of the TRR 241;

(3) training in data presentation and discussion;

(4) skills in critical discussion of literature data;

(5) training in chairing a discussion.

Guest seminar series. Another important part of our educational program will be the guest speaker seminar series. The doctoral researchers will select and invite the guest speakers among leading scientists in the fields of IBD, intestinal epithelial cells and immunology. We plan to invite at least six guest speakers per year in the frame of the iRTG. This mandatory event will be projected as an open webinar for all TRR 241 members in Berlin and Erlangen and will complement the scientific forum in providing in-depth education in IBD-related topics. Besides, iRTG doctoral researchers will be encouraged to join interdisciplinary guest speaker seminars offered in Erlangen (e.g. Medical Immunology Campus Erlangen) and Berlin (e.g. Mucosal Immunology Club, Microbiota Club, T cell/ILC club, Organoid group). Overall, it will be obligatory for all iRTG doctoral candidates to join at least 10 guest speaker seminars per year.

Annual retreat: Once a year, doctoral researchers from the TRR 241 in Erlangen and Berlin will organize a two-day scientific retreat, which will alternately take place in Erlangen or Berlin. The scientific program of the retreat will include oral or poster presentations of all doctoral projects. The annual retreat will foster networking of doctoral researchers and scientific exchange between the IBD centers in Erlangen and Berlin.

Methodical internship: In order to further develop technical skills of the enrolled doctoral researchers and to strengthen the network formation between doctoral candidates in Erlangen and Berlin, it will be possible for all TRR 241 doctoral researchers from Erlangen and Berlin to join a methodical internship.


II. Career and competence program

The joint program on IBD will be complemented by the participation of a set of courses aimed at broadening interdisciplinary competence in the following fields:

Biostatistical analyses: Good quality scientific data requires solid biostatistical analyses. We therefore decided to implement a basic course on biostatistical and multidimensional cytometry data analyses as an obligatory component within our graduation program.

Good Scientific Practice: As it is of elementary importance for all researchers to understand and follow the rules and guidelines for good scientific practice, we have made participation at a course dedicated to this topic obligatory for all doctoral researchers of the iRTG.

The career and competence program will foresee participation to at least two additional transferrable “soft skill” courses per year organized by each University in Berlin and Erlangen.

Finally, doctoral researchers will have the possibility to further develop networking and competence in public relation activities by participating in national or international conferences for oral or poster presentation after applying for respective iRTG funding.