Fields or subjectsPhysicsChemistryMaterials ScienceDesign
Integrated Research Training Group "Polymers: random coils and beyond"
Obtain a doctorate in polymer science within the integrated Research Training Group "Polymers: random coils and beyond"
Since 2012, doctoral students from the fields of physics, chemistry, and materials science collaborate in active research in the interdisciplinary field of polymer science at the university cities of Halle (Saale) and Leipzig.
The graduate program provides in-depth training in interdisciplinary soft matter research, including the design and preparation of specific materials. A thorough understanding of the basic principles of chemistry, physics and engineering of polymers and soft matter are aims of the research within our graduate school. All students work closely with a supervisor and meet regularly with a mentor. In addition to the development of a broad background in polymer science, the acquisition of transferable skills is an important goal of the course program.
Research on synthetic and biological polymers
Polymer research at the graduate school comprises aggregation phenomena of proteins and investigations of lipid membranes in the field of biopolymers. For synthetic polymers, crystallization and self-healing concepts of are in the focus. Doctoral students conduct their studies interdisciplinary and closely connected with other groups in this wide range of polymer topics.
Scientific exchange and collaboration
More than 30 doctoral students are interconnected through our graduate school. Common projects, mutual support by, e.g., measurements in other research groups and seminars lead to active exchange. Highlights are full two-days advanced training modules giving an introduction to selected research methods. In addition, the faculty offers lectures on several polymer topics. Besides the scientific education, doctoral students are supported in their transferable skills, such as writing publications and giving talks.
The scientific progress and the current research activities are discussed regularly during meetings with supervisor and mentor. The English language is the common basis for communication within the graduate school.
A diverse research field
Our graduate school comprises the expertise of more than 15 leading scientists in polymer research in Halle (Saale) and Leipzig. This high number of working groups from the fields of Polymer and Soft Matter Physics as well as Polymer Chemistry enables a fast exchange and a highly interdisciplinary work. Research is carried out in the individual groups. Work as a doctoral student combines experimental investigations in the lab with the theoretical modeling and data analysis at the office desk. In Theoretical Physics and Chemistry the experiments are carried out on large computer clusters. Funding is mostly provided through grants by the German Research Foundation "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" (DFG).
The Integrated Research Training Group "Polymers: random coils and beyond" is a graduate school and part of, but in its scope not limited to, the transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TRR 102 funded by DFG. The graduate school is a common initiative of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Leipzig University (UL). The Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (Halle) and the Leibniz Institute for Surface Modification (Leipzig) also participate in the graduate school.
Polymer science bridges the gap
All doctoral students are doing research in the field of polymer science. In this interdisciplinary research field physical, chemical and material science related questions are in the focus, combining experiments and theory of synthetic and biological polymers. Further topics are the synthesis and the transfer of results of basic research into the area of application.
The two main topics within the polymer-oriented Collaborative Research Center TRR 102 are:
Aggregation of biopolymers
Stages of amyloid formation
Folding, dynamics and stability of proteins
Effects of nanoparticles
Simulation of amyloid structure formation
Investigation of isolated macromolecules in innovative traps
Monomolecular protein layers
Crystallization of synthetic polymers
Semi-crystalline structure formation
Simulation of crystallization
Polymers at surfaces
Influence of nano-patterned surfaces
Crystallization at the water/air interface
Influence of shear fields
Further research topics within the iRTG are:
Materials for organic solar cells
Interaction of synthetic polymers with lipid membranes
Responsive polymeric systems
Interaction of DNA and polyamines in solution
Polymer networks (swelling of elastomers)
Synthesis of block copolymers
Polymers for pharmaceutical and medical applications
Folding and defolding of DNA
Doctorate within the integrated research training group "Polymers: random coils and beyond"
Fostering of scientific exchange, knowledge of fundamental and transferable skills
The graduate program provides in-depth training in interdisciplinary soft matter research. It serves as a platform for scientific exchange and collaborations in polymer science. An individual qualification program supports each doctoral student. This includes the development of a broad background in polymer science and transferable skills.
Fostering scientific exchange and collaboration
In seminars and workshops doctoral students exchange their experience and inform each other about progress in their projects via talks. During regular meetings with a mentor close to their own topic, the doctoral students obtain a second viewpoint concerning the progress of their work.
Learning of new scientific methods and concepts
Doctoral students learn new scientific methods for investigations of soft matter in full two-day workshops, focusing on one special method in detail. These advanced training modules combine basics with the application of methods in recent research. In a second part, participants apply their theoretical knowledge in the lab. Due to the large number of polymer research groups, topics of the modules cover,e.g., synthesis, X-ray diffraction and numerical simulations of polymers. This diversity is reflected also in several polymer related lectures of the faculty. Our doctoral students can also become acquainted with new methods or materials during research stays with partners abroad. Related winter and summer schools help to deepen the knowledge.
Acquisition of transferable skills
Doctoral students present and discuss scientific results at conferences. The graduate school supports the students with a variety of workshops to strengthen their transferable skills. Concepts of writing are offered in the workshop for academic writing. Courses for scientific presenting help the doctoral students with the presentation of their results in talks and posters and during the discussion with colleagues.
The planning and conduction of the whole doctoral time is supported by a workshop for time and self-management. A number of further courses support doctoral students in their individual development.
An alumni network, including mutual visits and invited lectures, establishes strong links between former and current iRTG members, and support the latter in their career plans. Current and former members have the possibility to exchange and profit from the experience at annual alumni meetings. Former members are invited for talks with focus on their career steps in industry or academia.
Roadmap for doctorates in polymer science
Applicants initiate their application by registering via a web form available at www.natfak2.uni-halle.de. An overview of recent open positions can be found here.
Scientific entrance level for doctoral students
Applicants should have - or are about to obtain - a master degree, diploma or an equivalent degree in Natural Sciences or related fields. Typically students hold a degree in physics, chemistry or bioscience. This includes a written thesis, an written or oral test and two years of advanced course work. Degree certificates from non-german universities need to be approved by the admissions office. Applicants should have a strong interest in the iRTG research program centered around the topic "Polymers: Random coils and beyond" and in cross-disciplinary projects.
Very good command of the English language in reading and writing is mandatory. Knowledge of the German language is recommended and helpful, but not mandatory.
The application includes the email address of two referees willing to write a letter of recommendation, of which one is the supervisor or mentor of your thesis (master/PhD). Please do not provide a letter of recommendation.
Your application includes all necessary information for a successful selection process. You will have to supply information on the project you are interested in, your motivation, a CV, your present scientific achievements, skills and qualifications, which are all essential for the selection process.
Required documents (scanned copies)
copy of the certificate for general qualification for university entrance (e.g. Abitur, High School)
transcript / record of study and degree certificate of bachelor degree, if applicable
transcript / record of study and degree certificate of diploma or master degree
Your links to the integrated Research Training Group
The integrated Research Training Group is a common initiative of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, as the coordinating university, and Leipzig University. The location of the doctorate depends on the project and the supervisor.