We want to get young people excited about science. They will be the discoverers, idea generators and innovation drivers of the society of tomorrow: a society that is already changing today and one for which we are researching. Our goal is to promote excellence at all education, training and career levels and to attract the best minds in international competition. From events of the Schools Laboratory, future-oriented vocational training and dual study programmes to career support for young executives, we offer a wide range of opportunities for young talent under the “juelich_horizons” umbrella.
The JuLab Schools Laboratory flexibly adapted its programme in 2021 to the changing corona regulations. In the second half of the year, select courses could again be offered in person for the cooperation schools.
Some 400 students took part in face-to-face events at JuLab and 257 in online events. In addition, 118 teachers attended further training courses.
In the first half of the year, the JuLab designed new online offers and optimized established ones. In cooperation with the Jülich scientists, new topics were developed for the online format “Mission Forschung” (Mission: research):
In the form of live interviews, for example, researchers presented the topics of brain research, big data and ethics to senior school students. The students could participate interactively via an app. The offer was aimed at students from biology, philosophy or ethics classes.
The focus was on agricultural photovoltaic research in view of energy transition and structural change in the Rhineland region. During a live video tour, participants could get to know about sensors, such as for the temperature or the headcount in the room, as well as the smart control of energy consumption in the JuLab. The photovoltaic modules already installed and the wind turbine next to the JuLab building, both set up as part of the Living Lab Energy Campus, were also part of the presentation.
For the first time, the JuLab participated in the nationwide Maus-Türöffner-Tag. – an initiative by the popular German children’s television programme “Sendung mit der Maus”, internationally known as “Mouse TV” – with the format “Mission Gehirn” (Mission: brain) online. This gave many families even from outside the region an insight into brain research at Jülich.
The JuLab coordinated three project courses for senior school students. For one year, together with their mentors from the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences (IBG-2), the students could work on their own research projects on the topics of “Algae in the Bioeconomy”, “Agricultural Photovoltaics” and “Education for a Sustainable Development”. The aim was to sensitize young people to socially important future issues and to get them excited about researching.
Brochure “Soft matter matters” with student experiments available for download (in German):
As the largest training company in the region, Forschungszentrum Jülich assumes special social responsibility in vocational training. It offers up to 115 trainee positions in 26 different professions every year. More than 5,000 young people have received qualified vocational training here. Many of them are still employed at Forschungszentrum Jülich today.
In 2021, 95 trainees completed their training. 67 of them (70.5 per cent) passed the exam with the top grades of either “very good” or “good”.
Forschungszentrum Jülich is partnering with neighbouring universities in offering six dual study programmes in the natural sciences as well as in the commercial and technical fields. A dual study programme combines profound training at Jülich, for example as a mathematical-technical software developer (MATSE), with a bachelor’s degree at a university of applied sciences, such as a “Bachelor of Science in Scientific Programming”.
New trainees in 2021
|Occupations||Total||including a dual study programme|
|Mathematical-technical software developers||25||25|
Forschungszentrum Jülich offers a wide range of opportunities for career orientation. In 2021, 46 school students were accepted for their compulsory school internships, while 131 students were supervised in the context of compulsory internships and voluntary, study-related internships. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were significantly fewer internships than are usually offered by Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Forschungszentrum Jülich offers superb starting conditions for a scientific leadership career to excellent postdocs with the opportunity to set up their own young investigators group. In 2021, two new groups were established at Forschungszentrum Jülich, which meant a cumulative total of 18 young investigators groups. Seven of the group heads held a junior professorship, two a W2 professorship and one a W3 professorship; four were funded by the EU through an ERC Starting Grant.
publications were released by PGSB fellows
Every year, students from all over the world come to Jülich to gain experience early on in a research-intensive environment. The mobility of young researchers fosters their personal and scientific development, propels the transfer of ideas and intensifies the international collaborations of Forschungszentrum Jülich.
In 2021, in the RISE programme, the German Academic Exchange Service awarded eight scholarships to bachelor students for an internship at Jülich. Due to the corona pandemic, these internships had to be conducted virtually. Two Russian students came to Jülich as part of the DAAD’s BARI programme.
Thanks to numerous committed fellows and alumni, the Palestinian-German Science Bridge (PGSB) was scientifically very successful in 2021 despite the pandemic. In 2021, four bachelor’s and master’s students, 35 doctoral researchers and two postdocs worked at Jülich as part of the PGSB. The PGSB fellows released a total of 20 publications. With a research cluster in the field of energy materials confirmed, there are now six research clusters with individual, sustainable concepts for cooperation between Forschungszentrum Jülich and Palestinian universities.
The China Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarship programme funded a total of 34 doctoral researchers and two postdocs in 2021. One master’s scholarship was awarded under the Georgian-German Science Bridge.
Since autumn 2021, Forschungszentrum Jülich has been offering a topic portal on the intranet for young researchers and their managers. It lists advice and support services, including contact persons, so that doctoral researchers, postdocs and young investigators group heads may quickly gain an overview. It provides information about the structured doctoral training offer at JuDocS as well as the Career Centre & Postdoc Office’s offer of advice on career opportunities in and outside academia. A funding calendar provides an overview of those grants, scholarships and research awards for which Forschungszentrum Jülich offers individual advice. For young investigators group heads, the portal provides access to a range of services that support, advise and accompany them from the application process to offboarding.
The structured doctoral support of JuDocS forms the basis for the subject-specific offers in the institutes, research training groups and graduate schools, such as HITEC (Helmholtz Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training in Energy and Climate Research) or HDS-LEE (Helmholtz School for Data Science in Life, Earth and Energy).
In addition to a central point of contact for questions and problems, JuDocS supports Jülich doctoral researchers with a targeted onboarding process, an interdisciplinary qualification programme, a low-threshold counselling service in the event of supervisory conflicts, and independent monitoring of the progress of the respective doctoral project.
Since good supervision is crucial for a successful doctorate, Forschungszentrum Jülich has also increased its focus on the concerns of supervisors since early 2021: a new central email distribution list regularly provides all academic supervisors with relevant information and offers. Analogous to the contact person for doctoral researchers, a position already established in 2019, there is now a designated contact person for supervisors within JuDocS.
In the course of 2021, 1,227 supervised doctoral researchers 1) worked at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Around 35 per cent of them were women and around 44 per cent came from abroad. They were supervised by the institutes, the doctoral supervisors and the academic supervisors at Jülich, adding up to around 460 people. As of 31 December 2021, there were 312 postdocs at Jülich, including 102 women. Some 48 per cent of all postdocs came from abroad.
1) This figure also includes doctoral researchers who do not have a contract with Forschungszentrum Jülich, but are financed through scholarships, for example.
FOTOS: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Ralf-Uwe-Limbach