Study Programme of the International Graduate School
The qualification concept
... has a module-based structure and has been set up to accompany the autonomous and independent research projects of young scholars through a methodology and theory focused training programme, as well as through thematically discursive exercises in reflection (with supervisors and tandem partners) and advanced cross-disciplinary guidance. Furthermore the framework of the already introduced and regularly accredited EPPP („Erfurter Promotions- und Postdoktorandenprogramm“) and the Doctoral Academy of Graz (DOC-AG) will be used to guarantee highest international quality standards.
In order to implement this concept the following scheme has been designed: At the beginning of the project term there will be an introductory conference for every cohort of doctoral researchers from Graz and Erfurt. During this conference, the thematic background and the main research problems will be presented by the faculty and cooperating researchers and individual topics will be outlined by doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. Renowned visiting researchers will also give additional impulses at these conferences. The introductory and closing conferences are important tools that allow one cohort of doctoral researchers to pass their critical conceptual and methodological knowledge on to another and help to integrate the new members of the IGDK into the ongoing research.
Hence the opening conference represents the kick-off event to the study programme in terms of content and method. Moreover, the organisers will bring doctoral candidates from Graz and Erfurt together in so-called cross disciplinary ‘tandem teams’, pairs of candidates consisting of one student from each institution, with the intention to promote direct cooperation over the course of the next three years. By creating an additional collegial level of reflection, while simultaneously fostering intensive, personal collaboration between the two institutions, these tandem teams will supplement the regular supervision scheme carried out by faculty members in tandem teams: this effort includes consistent communication via Skype meetings, as well as mutual help in editing, and commenting on, written texts, and, finally a joint presentation at the closing conference.
The training strategy is completed by measures for training and internships outside academia in order to help the doctoral researchers who have completed their qualifications to find a position in or outside academia.
The study programme, which will feature colloquia for all doctoral and postdoctoral research projects, as well as a seminar series that guarantees the integration of the doctoral and postdoctoral candidates into the interdisciplinary research agenda and the interdisciplinary expansion of methodological competency, is the heart of the qualifying concept. This concept has been already tested at the Max-Weber-Kolleg with very good results, as is visible especially in the high quota of successful dissertation projects.
The colloquium sessions, during which every doctoral researcher has to present her/his work once a semester, thus form the core of the programme. Candidates will be required to present texts of a maximum of 20 pages to be distributed a week in advance in order to give other participants enough time to read them thoroughly. This allows the colloquium itself to be dedicated to discussion. Each colloquium will be chaired by a participating researcher of the IGDK (either one of the assigned supervisors or another doctoral researcher). The tandem partners will then be asked to comment on the presented texts by delivering a short commentary. Minutes will be taken of all colloquia, so that candidates can focus fully on the discussion and pick up important suggestions and ideas. Moreover the minutes will facilitate the supervision process by providing consistent documentation of progress. Supervisors and tandem partners from the respective partner institution will be present for every colloquium, so that the cooperation between the two institutions can be deepened and cultivated. Every member of the IGS has to attend 20 academic events per semester (excluding the final semester of writing up). Besides the aforementioned colloquia for the doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and for the participating researchers, who will also be required to showcase their work, method modules, guest lectures and meetings of study groups also fall into the category of academic events.
Moreover, four modules on Research Methods (two in Erfurt and two in Graz) are scheduled to be completed between semesters 2 and 5. These modules have been designed for the purpose of introducing specific research methodologies in an interdisciplinary manner, focussing on the theory of resonance and comparative cultural studies (Erfurt), as well as classical studies and ritual theory (Graz). These thematic areas will be detailed according to the needs and interests of the doctoral researchers (especially depending on the particular research topics). At the heart of these seminars lie distinctive sets of questions, methods or texts, which aim to tie in with most of the doctoral projects.
In order to successfully form stable cohorts for the production of joint scholarship and to encourage intensive academic exchange between the two localities, all doctoral and postdoctoral candidates have to spend the third and fourth semesters of their term at their respective partner university. By doing so, they can improve their networks through extended stays and benefit from the specific expertise of the scholars in both Graz and Erfurt.
Aside from these events, the IGS will also offer small-scale study groups on certain topics for interested doctoral candidates. Every study group must have a minimum of five participants, one of whom must be a postdoctoral or cooperating researcher or a faculty member. Such study groups can be proposed and coordinated by all members of the centre and will allow for the opportunity to read essential texts thoroughly or to discuss and reflect on a specific range of topics.
Internationally renowned scholars, whose work may be relevant to the topics cited in the research programme, will be asked to hold guest lectures that will be followed by block seminars which the attending guests take part in as visiting researchers with the IGDK.
The doctoral researchers
... will be actively involved in the planning process of all events and will, to a certain degree, be involved in the organisation process. Through this set-up, the programme can achieve a maximum level of coherence with regard to content, and allows the doctoral researchers to gain academic coordination skills that go beyond their individual research projects.
The qualifying concept if the IGS will be evaluated annually through systematic interviews conducted with all young academics and through advisory meetings with the supporters of the programme. The results will be taken into account during the on-going planning process.