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DFG Research Training Groups

Research Training Groups (RTGs) are established by universities to promote researchers in the early stages of their academic careers, and funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a maximum period of 9 years. Their key emphasis is on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research programme and a structured training strategy.

In contrast to taught PhD programmes, there is a low amount of coursework, and doctoral researchers are expected to actively take part in shaping the ideas and activities of the Research Training Group. The research profile defined by the RTG provides a framework for the independent research  projects undertaken by the doctoral researchers. For this reason, applicants are asked to apply by proposing their own research topic – which should, of course, be situated within the thematic scope of the RTG.

On the other hand, Research Training Groups differ from wholly individual PhD projects (as was and still partially is the tradition in Germany) by creating a space for a group of doctoral researchers to work together and to profit from discussions and exchange with each other.

While doctoral researchers are taken seriously as producers of knowledge, the RTG also aims to ensure excellent supervision in order to enable each doctoral researcher to complete their degree within the three years of their funding within the project. Thus each PhD student will be advised by a team of three supervisors (2 local, 1 international). In addition, a range of qualification measures ensures the acquisition of academic and professional skills, both in general and suited to the specific profile of each doctoral researcher.

Within the RTG Minor Cosmopolitanisms, doctoral researchers are offered staff positions (instead of scholarships) at one of the participating universities in Potsdam or Berlin for a period of three years, thus ensuring health care and social security coverage for the researchers.