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Heidelberg University

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany’s oldest university and one of the strongest research universities in all of Europe. The successes in both rounds of the Excellence Initiative and in internationally recognised rankings prove that Heidelberg’s excellent reputation and leading role in the scientific community are well deserved. In terms of educating students and promoting promising early-career academics, Heidelberg relies on research-based teaching and an outstanding, well-structured training for doctoral candidates.

Heidelberg University is a comprehensive university, offering the full spectrum of disciplines in the humanities, law and the social sciences alongside the natural and life sciences, including medicine. As a comprehensive university, Heidelberg aims to continue to strengthen the individual disciplines and to further interdisciplinary cooperation, as well as to carry research results over into society and industry.

Heidelberg Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences The Heidelberg Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences stands for innovative, interdisciplinary research at one of Europe’s top-ranking institutions. Heidelberg University aims to provide a structured PhD experience that draws on the productive use of existent cross- and interdisciplinary research at Heidelberg University and generates new research projects in a range of strategic areas.

Interdisciplinary dialogue is of particular importance at Heidelberg University, which has generated four main research areas as part of its Excellence Initiative, the “Fields of Focus”. The Graduate School is a nexus for Field of Focus 3:”Cultural dynamics in globalized worlds” and Field of Focus 4: “Self-regulation and regulation: individuals and organizations” as it comprises all affiliated faculties and specialist research groups working at Heidelberg and within an international network. Offering an enriching academic programme for its PhD candidates, the Graduate School supports them with exclusive courses, interdisciplinary seminars, lectures and workshops.

The Graduate School currently has 60 PhD members and is directed by a consortium of four professors and managed by a scientific coordinator. Through its links with all humanities and social science faculties, it draws on a large pool of teaching and research staff . The Graduate School also participates in academic events and policy decisions for the up to 7000 PhD candidates at Heidelberg University and maintains close ties to the Graduate Academy that is responsible for the career development of the PhD candidates at Heidelberg.

The expertise of the Graduate School is particularly broad and rich as it comprises teaching staff and young researchers from all faculties in the humanities and social sciences, excellence clusters and special research areas. The Graduate School offers a specific focus on interdisciplinarity as a significant tool for fostering socially relevant research that transcendends narrow scientific border and addresses questions and problems that are of wider significance.

The quality system used in the Graduate School pertains to heiQUALITY, the Quality Management Systems (QMS) developed and implemented by the university as a whole. Supporting young PhD researchers is an important area of heiQUALITY that implements the Plan-Do-Check-Act (POCA) Cycles in order to foster continuous improvement of quality measures in university teaching, research, administration and other university services, including career counselling.

In addition to these measures, the Heidelberg Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HGGS) supports specifically the “Doktorandenkonvent” (PhD Convention) at Heidelberg University, which was institutionalized in the autumn of 2015 as a forum and representation of all doctoral candidates. In its core function, it advises faculties and other university committees in all matters related to doctoral candidates and doctoral research. The establishment of the Convention is an important step towards the recognition of doctoral candidates as an independent group within the university. It allows them to discuss and communicate their positions, interests, and specific needs, and feeds into decision-making processes at university level.

Team members

Dr. Aastrid windstrid Wind Dr. Astrid Wind is the academic coordinator and manager of the Heidelberg Graduate School for the Humanities and Social Sciences (HGGS). Before joining Heidelberg University in 2013, she worked for seven years as a lecturer and researcher in La Paz, Bolivia, where she also founded and managed the international doctoral programme for the Universidad Nacional Siglo XX in Llallagua and the International Institute for Integration of the Convenio Andrés Bello in La Paz. In collaboration with researchers from Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela and the other Latin American countries that belong to the Convenio Andrés Bello, she designed postgraduate courses and accompanied the foundation and academic development of the indigenous universities in Bolivia and published books and articles on indigenous universities in the different world regions. She studied in the USA and England and earned her DPhil and MPhil at Oxford University.

Dr. Claudia Canales Dr. Claudia Canales is a part-time researcher at Heidelberg University. She is also Research Associate of the Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust, where she is in charge of education projects for rural and indigenous communities in Malaysia, in partnership with the University of Sarawak, Malaysia. Since 2012 she is also Consultant for the European Science Academies’ Advisory Council (EASAC) working on international policy issues related to food systems. Previously she was Project Manager for an international policy study on the challenges and opportunities for the electrification of off-grid rural communities in developing countries. She gained her DPhil at Oxford University.

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