The Graduate Academy was able to acquire third-party-funding for different projects. These projects are presented below.

Project "Natural sciences in industry and society: contact, mentoring, communication and cooperation"

With the project "Natural sciences in industry and society: contact, mentoring, communication and cooperation", the Joachim Herz Foundation supports the expansion of the graduate development programme at the Graduate Academy.

The project aims at strengthening the transfer paths between academic natural sciences on one side and industry and society on the other side:

  • the transfer through individual career development after the doctoral and postdoc phase,
  • the transfer through science communication in the context of a "third mission" and
  • the transfer through joint research in the framework of doctoral research projects in cooperation with companies and associations.

A special "career day" for doctoral candidates, a mentoring programme, and an annual short film project are the key activities that the Graduate Academy will implement in order to better prepare doctoral and post-docs candidates for career fields outside academia, and to support them in presenting their scientific results in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Furthermore, within the framework of this project, legally binding standards will be developed, in order to ensure an adequate collaboration between the industry and academia; these are going to be implemented within pilot projects.

The project is funded by the Joachim Herz Foundation for the period of 5 years.

The Joachim Herz Foundation in Hamburg, Germany, promotes education, science, and research in economics and the natural sciences as well as the personal development of teens and young adults. In these areas we also fund small, innovative third-party projects. Since 2017, additional funding has been granted to support research projects in the fields of medicine and law. The Joachim Herz Foundation was founded in 2008 after the death of German entrepreneur Joachim Herz. It is one of the largest private foundations in Germany.

Project coordination:
Lea Kvarantan Huber
Phone: 03641 - 9 401320


Finished Project "Jena House for Young Researchers" (2011-2017)

Until November 2017, the Stiftung Mercator supported the development of the Graduate Academy with the Jena House For Young Researchers project. For the first time in Germany, both the postdoc and doctoral phases are being supported.

As part of this project, excellent conditions for doctoral candidates and postdocs are being created. In addition, models are being developed that have to do with graduate-level support nationwide.

Shaping the Qualification Phase after the PhD and Supporting Postdocs

The phase between finishing a PhD and entering a permanent position either within or outside academia is possibly the most difficult part of a young academic's career path. At the same time, this phase was seldom paid attention to by universities and politicians. There was very little information about postdocs and it was also unclear how much responsibility should be taken for these individuals.

This project in Jena focuses on public discussions about the framework of the postdoc phase and on support measures for postdocs at Jena University.

Supporting the Representation of interests and Networking of Doctoral candidates and Postdocs

The common interests of doctoral candidates should be discussed at the university. Because of that, the project Jena House for Young Researchers supports the constitution of a doctoral representation.

In addition, various formats are being developed in which doctoral candidates and postdocs can be engaged and help to support each other, e.g. "doc4doc", a programme in which doctoral candidates offered workshops for other doctoral candidates. The basis for all of these activities is the House for Young Researchers Zur Rosen, which serves as a center for meeting and networking.

Development of a Qualification Programme on Fundamental Questions of Sciences and Humanities

For a leading position in academia, one needs to be an excellent researcher and teacher as well as have solid 'soft skills'. In order to develop these skills, there is a wide variety of support in different subject areas and in central university departments. But how is reflection on the basics of one's own academic work cultivated? Where are knowledge, orientation, and critical judgment of fundamental questions of sciences and humanities trained? Those who want to research with clarity, to consciously take on responsibility, and to work in an interdisciplinary environment need to be able to reflect on these levels.

Within the framework of this project, interdisciplinary workshops are being developed for doctoral candidates and postdocs. They deal with topics such as responsibility for research, academia and society, interdisciplinary competences, or basic stances of the theory of science. The communication with an lay audience was also trained in workshops or projects like "Show your research".


Dr. Hanna Kauhaus
Norbert Krause
Wiss. Mitarbeiter