Doctoral candidates of the RTG 2386 will have at least two supervisors or advisors (both terms are used interchangeably), usually at the professorial level. At least one of them will be the Principal Investigator (PI) of one of the ten research areas of the RTG.
Doctoral candidates will be integrated into the research group of the PI who is the primary supervisor/advisor. In the empirical/experimental research fields, usually the PI will be supported by an additional postdoctoral researcher. Candidates will usually matriculate at the PI’s university and faculty. See also Doctoral degree (internal webpage)
For each doctoral project, a supervision and training agreement between the doctoral candidate, the two (or more) thesis supervisors, and the RTG, represented by the speaker, will be drawn up (Betreuungsvereinbarung).
As members of the RTG, doctoral candidates will be part of the larger peer group of RTG doctoral candidates as well as doctoral members of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Einstein Center for Neurosciences, and Max Planck School of Cognition. Here, they will discuss their ideas, present their findings, explore further lines of investigation as well as stimulate interdisciplinary discussion.
Thesis Reviewers/Assessors (Gutachter)
In Germany, unlike many other countries, at least one of the supervisors/advisors may also be one of the thesis reviewers/assessors.
Please note: Rules and regulations for doctorates at the many participating universities/faculties may differ considerably. Make sure that you know as quickly as possible which rules apply to your thesis at your university and faculty for the duration of your doctoral project. Each faculty has advisory personnel for doctoral candidates, and you can ask them to supply the current set of rules and regulations. The set of rules and regulations will also always be available online, on the faculty’s website.
Below, we will give you two examples (excerpts only) from Humboldt-Universität (HU).
Regulations of HU Faculty of Life Sciences (excerpt), last amended 2015
§ 7 Supervision of the dissertation (Supervisors = Betreuer)
(1) The dissertation shall be supervised by at least one university lecturer in accordance with § 5 (1).
(2) The Faculty Council (Fakultätsrat) may, upon proposal by the institutes, grant the right to supervise individual projects to junior research group leaders, limited in time for the duration of the doctoral project. The prerequisites are that the junior research group leaders must demonstrate experience in supervising junior researchers, their own scientific quality and the ability to teach independently. The requirements are defined by the institutes.
(3) Within the framework of structured doctoral programmes [this applies to the RTG], the dissertation may also be supervised and evaluated by university lecturers or teaching staff from other faculties or research institutions and by junior research group leaders who meet the requirements set out in § 7 (2). The corresponding authorization will be granted by the Faculty Council in individual cases at the request of the Institute and will be limited in time for the duration of the program.
(4) The supervisor and the doctoral candidate agree on the most important cornerstones of the doctoral project in the form of a Supervision Agreement in accordance with Appendix 2.
(5) In addition to the supervision by a university teacher, subject-specific supervision can be ensured by a mentor who has at least a doctorate.
§ 8 Doctoral Commission (Reviewers/Assessors = Gutachter)
(1) Upon the opening of the doctoral examination procedure in accordance with § 9, the Doctoral Committee (Promotionsausschuss) shall appoint the Doctoral Commission (Promotionskommission) responsible for conducting the procedure on the recommendation of the relevant institute. The Doctoral Commission shall consist of the Chair and two or three experts, one of whom may be the supervisor of the doctoral candidate. The commission is completed by additional members (university lecturers or postdoctoral research assistants) up to a minimum size of 5 persons. To be awarded the grade summa cum laude, three expert opinions with this grade are required. The reviewers must have habilitated or have demonstrated habilitation-equivalent achievements or meet the requirements defined in § 7 (2) and (3). The reviewers must not be dependent on each other. At least one reviewer should not belong to the working group or institute at which the doctoral candidate has carried out the doctoral thesis. At least one reviewer must be from an institute belonging to the faculty. University lecturers and doctoral candidates from the institute representing the doctoral subject should form the majority on the doctoral committee. In structured doctoral programmes, the majority rule may be deviated from. When the doctoral procedure is opened, the Doctoral Commission should not include more than one university lecturer who has been discharged or retired. (...)
Full regulations (external website): https://fakultaeten.hu-berlin.de/de/lewi/karriere/promo/formulare/lewi2015
Regulations of HU Faculty of Philosophy (excerpt), last amended 2018
§ 5 Supervision of doctoral projects (Betreuer)
(1) Doctoral projects are supervised by at least two university teachers. The first supervisor must be in active employment at the Faculty of Philosophy for the expected duration of the doctoral project, unless a “successor” from among the active university teachers has been named in the supervision agreement for the case of need.
(2) The Faculty Council (Fakultätsrat) may, at the proposal of the institutes, transfer the right to supervise doctorates to junior research group leaders. The prerequisites for this are that the junior research group leaders must demonstrate experience in supervising junior researchers, their own scientific quality and the ability to teach independently. They can only be appointed as initial supervisors if they are in active service at the HU for the expected duration of a doctoral procedure or if a successor is determined. (...)
§ 8 Assessments/reviews of the dissertation (Gutachter)
(1) The Dean, in consultation with the chairperson of the respective examination board (Prüfungsausschuss), appoints a first assessor/reviewer and a second assessor/reviewer (Gutachter) for the assessment of the dissertation. In exceptional cases, a further assessor/reviewer may be appointed at the request of the doctoral candidate or on the basis of a decision by the responsible examination board.
(2) The assessors/reviewers must belong to the group of university teachers, including non-scheduled professors, honorary professors and Privatdozenten. In addition, the first reviewer must be a member of the Faculty of Philosophy of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin or must have been a member in the last two years or less. The second assessor/reviewer may belong to another faculty or university. (...)
Full regulations (external website): https://gremien.hu-berlin.de/de/amb/2018/15/15_2018_promotionsordnung-phil-fak_druck.pdf