Excellent supervision, clear prospects

Excellent supervision, clear prospects

Doctoral students researching at a Max Planck institute receive a support contract

The Max Planck support contracts allow the scientific freedom of a grant to be combined with the social security of an employment contract. They allow doctoral students to devote themselves to their scientific work independently and without restriction. The agreed working hours are currently 39 hours per week. Payment is based on the Collective Wage Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD). Doctoral students receive compensation corresponding to 50 percent of Pay Group 13 of TVöD (maximum level 2); this is currently just under 2,000 euros in gross terms. In addition, there is a special annual bonus.

Under certain circumstances, a recruitment bonus may be granted, so that remuneration amounts to a maximum of 100 percent of this pay grade. In addition, research residencies within the scope of the doctoral thesis - in Germany and abroad - are subsidized. Support contracts are concluded for a period of three years, with the option of a further one-year extension.

Support at a glance

  • Scientists do not generally supervise more than eight doctoral students at the same time.
  • The scope of doctoral studies is selected in such a way that the work can be completed within the usual period of time: generally three years (plus a possible one-year extension)
  • The rights and obligations incumbent on both sides are defined in a support agreement. Doctoral students are expected to discuss the schedule for completing their dissertation regularly with their principal supervisor.
  • The support contract represents a commitment to finance the doctoral student for the entire duration of their doctoral studies, provided that they achieve the expected level of scientific performance.
  • In addition to their principal supervisor, all doctoral students are supported by a second, independent scientist. They are also monitored by a Thesis Advisory Committee.
  • Supervisors encourage doctoral students, even while still pursuing their doctoral studies, to publish their research results.
  • Doctoral students have the opportunity while training to refer queries or differences of opinion locally to an independent authority.
  • The Scientific Advisory Board as part of its regular evaluations of the Institute will investigate the quality of training provided for doctoral students and compliance with the Guidelines.
  • Doctoral students receive support in continuing their professional training, acquiring soft skills and gaining experience of teaching. Financial support is also available for events such as peer coaching and self-organized retreats.
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