Next to the research and advanced study programme MWK-Fellows will be strongly supported by offering them several career guidance and training measures, which are based upon the EU Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training. MWK-Fellows will profit from a broad range of subject-specific courses as well as those on transferable skills that will help them to advance their career in academia and the non-academic sector.
It is mandatory that all independent postdoctoral researchers are assigned to a host (internal partner) who will particularly help to ensure that MWK-Fellows establish access to the respective academic community, so as to successfully advance their career. Hosts provide an individual mentoring to incoming fellows and take on the responsibility of introducing them to academic networks. The host can be a research group or a single researcher based at the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt (including junior researchers, associated fellows working at cooperating institutions, co-opted members of other university faculties, central research units of the University of Erfurt and alumni).
The Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt will provide the workspace and necessary infrastructure for the realisation of the MWK-Fellows’ projects to train their research skills. It will also integrate the fellows into its diverse research groups, should they wish to become part of them, and advise and help them in organizing their daily lives. The advanced study programme of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt in general and the MWK-Fellows programme in particular includes colloquia, seminars and workshops, public lectures, guest lectures and conferences.
The interdisciplinary colloquia are the most crucial aspect of the study programme. Once a semester every member of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt (doctoral, postdoctoral and experienced researchers) writes a 20-page summary of his/her research findings, which will then be presented to the other researchers during a two-hour discussion. The text is distributed a week in advance so that all colloquium participants have read it ahead of time. At the beginning of the session the presenting fellow gives a brief overview of his work. The moderation is assured by the host who invites the participants to comment on the paper from their specific disciplinary perspective in order to provide new insights into the discussed problem.
The seminars and workshops are based on the readings of classical texts concerned with topics that the members of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt agree on beforehand. Every semester five public lectures will take place for which speakers will be especially invited. All members of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt (including the MWK-Fellows) can make suggestions for speakers, which are then finalized by the Kollegrat. Guest lectures by invited speakers will be tailored to an academic audience and thus leave time for critical and engaged discussion. Members of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt are also encouraged to make suggestions for guest lecturers.
The conferences provide opportunities for networking and international exchange. The Max-Weber- Kolleg Erfurt helps MWK-Fellows to organise conferences of their own. The research budget for the MWK-Fellows can be used to finance invited speakers, workshops and conferences according to the specific interests of the MWK-Fellows. Networking is also supported by the existing external academic partners of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt. At the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt the cooperation between advanced researchers and younger researchers is a core component of academic life. The MWK-Fellows can take the chance to participate in the advisement of doctoral students and have discussions with senior fellows. The alumni evaluation carried on in 2011 revealed that these cross-generational contacts were extremely valuable for former fellows at the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt and helped to improve their skill set.
(Non-research oriented) transferable skills are important for the career development of postdoctoral fellows. Through the HIT-Programme (Academic Personal Training at Universities in Thuringia) the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt can offer tailor-made support for MWKFellows at every level of academic career by broadening their personal transferable skills (e. g. in project management, leadership, presentation techniques, didactic skills, time management, science communication). The two-day workshops are led by professional external experts and include as a rule intensive practical training. The workshops are attended by researchers from different Universities of Thuringia, which often leads to new personal contexts and helps networking. The costs for participating (max. 3 courses) will be reimbursed by the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt.
In addition, MWK-Fellows will have the opportunity to improve their German language skills at the university’s language teaching centre. Given the immense pressure of research work, all courses must be efficiently and conducted in an individualised manner. There will also be the possibility to conduct specific courses for MWK-Fellows, should they require them. Teaching is a core requirement for researchers pursuing a career at a university, as well as in many non-academic contexts. The Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt offers MWK-Fellows the opportunity to teach in a faculty of the University of Erfurt. MWK-Fellows can take the opportunity to teach BA- or MA-courses in order to gain teaching experience. This is of special importance for the qualification profile of younger researchers. Nevertheless, MWK-Fellows will decide themselves whether or not they wish to teach. For those who decide to teach, the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt will offer comprehensive support.
MWK-Fellows working in cooperation with partner institutions from the non-academic sector will enjoy significant benefits: On the one hand they will be able to gain helpful insights into the job market outside academia, which will enable them to develop potential (new) career prospects outside academia. On the other hand many researchers’ projects are significantly related to practical questions, and can only be adequately investigated from inside relevant institutions and organisations. Likewise, impulses and problems from the practical field can substantiate the academic work and enhance its relevance for society. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, working in more practice-oriented fields offers researchers an excellent opportunity to acquire job-related skills, which further advance their research competence and allow them to cross-sectorally move between academia and practical job fields. Furthermore, MWK-Fellows will get the opportunity to enhance their skills in transferring scientific knowledge into society and particular in creating awareness among the general public. The cooperating media partners of the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt will help to train the MWKFellows in transferring scientific knowledge into society (e. g. in cooperation with a local radio station). In addition, the Max-Weber-Kolleg Erfurt will strongly support the MWK-Fellows in terms of publication their research work in order to reach a broader audience outside academia (e. g. in cooperation with nation-wide German newspapers, such as ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’).