When you are looking for new ideas, it may be helpful to look over the fence. With this in mind and after a successful exchange in the spring of 2018 at the University of Antwerp, the University of Bremen hosted a second staff exchange between the two universities from October 14th– 16th, 2018. Five U Antwerp delegates from its HR Department, Communication Department, and Doctoral School met with delegates from Bremen’s Research Services Unit, International Office, and from three graduate schools to exchange ideas regarding doctoral education in the widest sense.
After a welcome by the Vice President International, Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Feichtner, the delegates examined concepts of quality assurance of doctoral education. Combining short presentations with discussion rounds, HR issues of international researchers and alumni management were further topics of discussion. Services for international doctoral candidates were a focus of the exchange. During a session on the well-being of doctoral candidates, international doctoral researchers from one of Bremen’s doctoral programs shared insights into their experiences and issues. The Vice President Research, Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter, also presented the latest results of the GradSERU study regarding the well-being of Bremen’s early-career researchers. Aside from the exchange, the delegates were also treated to a guided tour of MARUM, Bremen’s Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, which included a visit to the international core repository, and enjoyed some traditional Northern German food.
The delegates’ fruitful exchange generated many new ideas with regard to the improvement and expansion of doctoral education, for example regarding brochures targeted at international researchers and the evaluation of workshops. Both universities have a strong interest in deepening the good relationship by creating incentives for joint doctoral programmes. This common goal will be pursued in future meetings and it is hoped that more YERUN partners will be involved in future staff exchanges. The next meeting regarding topics such as career paths outside academia and alumni work is planned for March/April 2019. Expressions of interest from other YERUN partners are welcome.