The three-year program reflects the increasing importance of interdisciplinarity in life science research and provides comprehensive training for scientific, methodological and "soft" skills. The program will focus and prepare candidates towards a career in life sciences and space research. The SpaceLife program consists of a three-year research project as well as introductory and advanced lectures, student workshops, journal clubs, active attendance of congresses, and participation in laboratory and transferable skill courses.
Expert supervision throughout the research activities leading towards a doctoral degree within 3-3.5 years is regarded with the utmost importance. In addition to the day-to-day supervision, each doctoral student has a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). The main task of the TAC is to guide the doctoral students throughout their thesis work and to monitor and evaluate the progress of the research project and the individual development of the doctoral student.
The TAC consists of three faculty members. First and second supervisors are chosen on the basis of their research specialty in order to provide as much scientific expertise required as possible to realize the proposed thesis project.
The DLR Supervisor is a scientist at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine working at the laboratory where the research is being performed. At least one member of each TAC must be a university professor.
The Mentor is a scientist from a different scientific field and gives general advise to the doctoral student, e.g. for career planning.
The TAC will help to design and monitor the trainee’s thesis work and will help the trainee to establish contacts inside and outside the institution.
Following the submission of a project proposal after one month, and an initial report meeting after 3 to 6 months, TAC meetings are scheduled on an annual basis. TAC meetings include a written report and an oral presentation which covers the theoretical background, research progress, results obtained so far and experiments to be done in the future. The Initial Report focuses on the detailed outline of the thesis project and planning for future experiments. The 3rd Annual Report meeting defines the work to be done prior to writing and submitting the thesis, and the time frame for obtaining the doctorate. TAC meetings can be integrated in the Students’ Workshop or organized separately.
The doctoral students invite the TAC for their thesis presentations in the Students’ Workshop (1st, 4th and 6th semester) and arrange an independent meeting with the TAC during the first month of the thesis to discuss the subject and approach.
Seminars, Workshops and Experimental Courses
The workshop “Biomathematics” combines lectures and exercises, and provides skills towards the quantitative analysis of experimental data and experiment configuration and study design. Experimental Courses cover different methods in space life science research. A series of laboratory courses that have already been installed by the partner institutions will offer the trainees a special training in specific areas including laboratory as well as theoretical work
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