Workshop “Preparing for a Doctoral Project“ 2016

27-29 June 2016, Munich

The Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies invited six promising students from Hungary, Russia, Italy, Moldova, Greece, and Macedonia to this year’s workshop ‘Preparing for a Doctoral Project’ taking place in Munich in June 2016. The workshop gave us the chance to discuss and improve our PhD project proposals. The thorough, interdisciplinary and inspirational character of the workshop proved to be an invaluable experience, one that provided us with helpful guidelines for developing solid research proposals and a lot of information about German Academia in general.

The workshop schedule of the first two days was designed to build up to a presentation of our revised project proposals on the third, and final, day of the workshop. The morning sessions held by postdocs provided us with detailed and structured information about Germany’s system for doctoral studies along with useful organizational and academic features of the Graduate School’s doctoral programme. Moreover, we learned how to avoid common mistakes that might appear on a CV, a cover letter, or an expose, and to improve the strength of our applications by following the form and content requirements for application documents submitted to German universities and research institutions.

The afternoon sessions gave us the chance to revise our proposals and application documents by incorporating the suggestions and tips given by the postdocs. We worked in groups based on the similarity of our research interests, and each group worked closely with one of the postdocs. The intensive afternoon discussions critically reviewed each proposal from different methodological and theoretical perspectives, allowing us to revise our materials and produce improved, more solid versions.

At the end of the workshop, the series of lectures and discussions finished with presentations of our revised, or work-in-progress, project proposals. The benefits from the interdisciplinary nature of the Graduate School were best seen in this instance, as we were able to learn in more detail about each other’s projects, not just in terms of topics, but also of research approaches and methods. All of us agreed that the whole team of the Graduate School did an excellent job in introducing German academia to us, and we left Munich with the best impressions, thankful for this unique experience. 

Maria Menegaki  (Agios Nikolaos, Greece) & Elena Volkanovska (Bitola, Macedonia)