Plant Science Student Conference (PSSC)


The Plant Science Student Conference (PSSC) is an annual meeting of PhD students from the IPK Gatersleben, the IPB Halle and the JKI Quedlinburg. It is organized by PhD students for PhD students and alternately takes place at the IPK and the IPB. Young scientists present their current research to an international audience either by a given talk or presenting a poster. We have a jury of experts, who will award for the best works. Additionally, keynote speakers complement the conference sessions and PhD students have the possibility for lively discussions with great senior scientists.

The conference does not only focus on single topics, but a great diversity of subjects in the fascinating and broad range of plant science to explore new ideas. Additionally, it offers young scientists a great opportunity to network, collaborate and socialize during get-togethers and social events.


 Check out [link]Latest News to get some information about the next Plant Science Student Conference.


The seminars is organized and maintained by the PhD Students. This provides the opportunity to practice presentation skills within a less formal environment and to learn how to explain difficult things in a short and easy way, independent of prior knowledge. It is not only a source of new information about scientific topics but also a good chance to meet your peers. The PhD seminars are announced via e-mail to the PhD mailing list and take place every second Thursdays at 15:00 o'clock.

A regular PhD seminar includes talks from two doctoral candidates that differ in the objective. The chair of the seminar is responsible for a proper conduct and guide the speaker and the audience through the program of the seminar. Additionally, a mentor is appointed for each seminar.


PhD Seminar calendar

You can find the actual calendar in the [link]Intranet


Regulations for the seminar


Seminar speaker (15 to 20 minutes)

The regular seminar is held by PhD students about a topic free of choice related to the PhD thesis or at least with a general introduction into the topic. The student should not repeat the state of the art of their thesis! Instead, the student should give a comprehensive introduction into the topic and present all the information in such way, that people outside this area of research will understand it. The goal is to give a clear overview of the topic to your colleagues in 15-20 min.

The presentation should include all references. As a listener you should be able to grasp the major points of the topic and be able to discuss the topic with other scientists.


Hot Topic speaker (5 to 10 minutes)

A hot topic is a subject that a scientist should have heard about since this topic is in the current focus of important journals (e.g. Nature, Science) or meetings. Furthermore, a hot topic can also be a new revolutionary technique. You may learn about hot topics from discussions with other scientists or by reading Nature, Science and so on. The hot topic do not necessarily need to be related to the plant field, but to biological science in general!

The hot topic has to be a short and firm presentation and includes the references. As a listener you will probably not understand immediately everything about the topic, but you are informed, you learned the keywords and you will know where to search for more information.


Chair of PhD Seminar

The chair welcomes the audience and introduces the speaker of the seminar and the hot topic. During presentations, the chair is responsible to warn the speakers that they are nearing the end of their allotted time and cut them off once this time is passed. After the talks, the chair directs the order and duration of questions for a lively discussion. Additionally, the chair is responsible for the distribution of the evaluation sheets at the beginning of the seminar among all participants and for the signature list at the end of the seminar.


Mentor of PhD Seminar

The mentor of each PhD seminar is responsible to encourage questions from the student body and give each student critical (i.e. guidance and praise) feedback regarding their presentations. This feedback should be given personally to the each student after the seminar is over.

Any PhD student who is going to give a seminar may contact its mentor to get assistance in talk preparation and in case of other questions related to the seminar.


Procedure of the seminar:

1.        Preparation of the presentation room and distribution of evaluation sheets

2.       Introduction of the seminar speaker by the chair

3.       Seminar talk (15 to 20 minutes)

4.       Guided discussion on the content of the seminar (~5 to 10 minutes)

5.       Introduction of the hot topic speaker by the chair

6.       Hot topic talk (5 to 10 minutes)

7.       Guided discussion on the content of the hot topic (~5 minutes)

8.       Comments on the presentation style of the speakers (evaluation sheets) (< 5 min)

9.       Sign in in participation list

10.     Collecting of evaluation sheets and handle over to the speakers

11.     Closing of session by chair

Beagle Award

Since 2010, every PhD students at IPK can apply for the Beagle Award. This prize is awarded to young PhD scholars as a distinction for their outstanding achievements in research curriculum and extracurricular activities. The young researchers can apply for this award in their final year of their PhD. The awardee will be selected, based on their outstanding scientific achievements as well as high social commitment judged by a panel of experts. The award presentation ceremony is held within the scope of the annual Institutes Day and the winner is honoured with a prize money of 1500 €.


The next application time will be announced in Spring/Summer 2019


Ceremony of the Beagle Award:

in frame of the institutes day 2019, Communication Centre, Lecture Hall


Please check out [link]Latest News for more information.



Departmental Day

The PhD Student Board organizes a new series of lectures: the Departmental Day.

The Departmental Days will take place twice a year, one in spring and the other one in autumn in order to replace the neglected lectures in the PhD seminar. The Departmental Day is meant to give the departments the opportunity to give a more general overview about their research topics. As new part of the IPK graduate program, it is of high interest especially for the PhD students, but equally for everybody else, to get a general overview into the research within this highly interdisciplinary institute and insights into fields, not necessarily linked with ones own work. At each event, the research groups of one department will present their work by lectures of 20 minutes with a short discussion afterwards. In between we will have coffee breaks with cake and cookies.


Please check out [link]Latest News to get more information about the next Departmental Day.



Meetings and Discussion groups with Invited Scientist

At IPK, experienced scientists are invited to give seminars in the so-called 'Gatersleben Lecture' about topics related to plant research on a regular basis. The topics are very divers and in general, all interested people are welcome to participate in the seminars.

Commonly, the invited scientists stay at the IPK for a day to get to know the institute or to discuss their research with other scientists. As Student Board, we want to offer young scientists (whether undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate students) the opportunity to meet the invited scientists as well.

The aim of these meetings is to give you as young researchers the opportunity to network with high-ranking scientists. Even though they might not work in the same field as you do, you get the chance to discuss about your project or other scientific problems with them. In turn, you maybe can get a new point of view and ideas for your own scientific carrier.

We are organizing these short meetings (around 30 minutes to one hour) by sending around doodle surveys to you. So, whenever you´re interested in such meetings, don´t miss to sign into the doodle. If you have missed a doodle, or you are not sure, when there will be the next opportunity please don´t hesitate to contact to [link]Vanessa Paffrath and [link]Stefan Steckenborn, who are the responsible organizers of those scientific meetings.



As mandatory part of IPKs graduate school, technical and soft skill courses are offered every academic year. Britt Leps is responsible for the organization of the courses, together with the Student Board as her helping hand. They are designed in a flow to help students identify, develop and improve key academic and organizational skills needed to achieve academic goals, as well as to increase self- awareness about your own learning. The technical courses, for example computational or microscopy courses, provide an inside into techniques, which might be useful for press ahead the progress of the own PhD projects and to advance new ideas. In soft skill courses, like presentational skill, scientific writing or research funding, students will get useful tools with a view to their later career as successful scientist. The goal is that each student should participate at least three technical and three soft skill workshops during his/her PhD.