The educational program of the CRC 1116 is designed to promote professional, i.e. science related, as well as supportive, transferable skills. The emphasis lies on the development of scientific skills. A further important aspect is that the educational program should only minimally influence the laboratory work. Therefore, the total workload is restricted to 300 hours per thesis (3 years) and courses have been planned as short block units to avoid substantial interruption of the experimental work.
The graduate students participate in an intense lecture series on “basics in cardiovascular biology” held by all of the PI‘s and junior scientists, including chapters on development, function, pathophysiology, signaling and repair of heart and vessels. Based on these fundamentals, the theoretical education is continued by self-learning and journal clubs throughout the educational process. The journal club is organized to address spotlight topics, e.g., a series of papers dealing with a specific topic.
The basics of oral and written communication are addressed in specific courses organized by the “Medical Research School Düsseldorf” (MedRSD) and “Interdisciplinary Graduate and Research Academy Düsseldorf” (iGRAD). Professional trainers introduce the graduate students into rules for oral presentations as well as to the principles of scientific writing. Based on these fundamentals the communication skills are further evolved in the context of journal clubs, progress seminars, and retreats under the guidance of the PI’s.
Further, all participating institutions contribute to a methods course “functional analysis of the cardiovascular system”, in which basal as well as high-end technology are introduced to the graduate students. The courses are held by expert scientists working in the different groups of the CRC 1116. When participating the courses, the students rotate through the member labs which not only will enhance their specific knowledge but also support networking among the participating groups and graduate students to form a coherent research group. The doctoral students attend at five (medical students at three) methodological courses and two clinical courses.
An important task of the CRC 1116 educational program is to supply our alumni with professional qualifications enhancing their chances to position themselves among top candidates in a competitive field of applicants. Certificates according to “protection of animals act”, “act on genetic engineering” and “act on radiation protection” may represent important qualifications which might enhance the job ability of our graduate students.
Two programs dedicated to support structured doctoral theses have been established at the HHU: the “Interdisciplinary Graduate and Research Academy Düsseldorf” (iGRAD) and the “Medical Research School Düsseldorf” (MedRSD), respectively. iGRAD and medRSD offer a broad spectrum of classes including “good scientific practice”, presentation skills, skills for scientific discussion, skills for scientific writing etc. During workshops, doctoral researchers are trained by professional experts. The doctoral and medical students attend at six courses or more in areas such as:
- Project- / self-management /organization
- Presentation / rhetoric / communication
- Professional teaching / learning / didactics
- Special career relevant skills
Furthermore, courses of the University Language Center, the Department for Teaching at University Level and other institutions can be chosen for additional workshops.