Doctoral Supervisor Training

Doctoral Supervisor Training

Doctoral Supervisor Training – Become the next SUPERvisor!

The Doctoral Supervisor Training offers support for the supervision of doctoral candidates on an academic and personal level. In cooperation with qualified trainers, various aspects of supervision, such as my role as a supervisor, leadership through communication, mental health, etc., are examined with best-practice examples in individual sessions. The training will provide you with a holistic overview of how you can best support your doctoral researchers from recruiting to career development.

Through the cooperation with scientists from different fields and institutions, the offer also provides a platform for professional exchange.

The jointly developed training is aimed specifically at professors, directors, research group leaders, IMPRS faculty members and postdocs (with supervision responsibilities) at the two Max Planck Institutes of Biochemistry and for Biological Intelligence, Helmholtz Munich and TUM.

The structured program consists of eight modules taking place between February and April 2024. The kick-off, as well as the conclusion of the training, are designed as in-person events, while the other six content modules take place online via Zoom. The modules are linked by an exchange of experiences and practical applications.

Program outline

    Trainer / Topic Content / Learning Outcomes
Module 1
Feb. 22nd 2024, 1 pm - 6 pm
in person at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Monika Beer
Neele Meyer
Camila Hernández Frederick
Vera Kaulbarsch

Essentials of Supervision
  • - Getting to know each other and clarification of expectations
- Supervision timeline & formal aspects
- Understanding my role as a supervisor
- Team building & Get together
  Module 2
Feb. 29th, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Ulrike Schneeberg

Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence & Non-violent Communication
- Introduction to the basics of Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
- Understand and know how to manage own emotions in the workplace
- Increase awareness of other people’s emotions and needs
- Know how to integrate both their own and others’ needs and interests when communicating with others
- Apply concepts of emotional intelligence to improve their communication skills, especially when giving feedback, resolving conflicts and or motivating a team
- Use the tools of NVC to lead your team with empathy and make clear requests
- Implement NVC principles in different case situations
  Module 3 
March 7th, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Martin Fladerer
Clarissa Zwarg

Basics Leadership:
Giving and receiving Feedback, Clarification of Expectations
- Giving and receiving feedback in a non-violent and constructive way
- Regular constructive feedback as an integral part of the supervisory role
- The importance of clarifying mutual expectations 
- Identifying potential changes in the way of giving feedback, using concepts shown to improve communication skills
  Module 4 
March 14th, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Ulrike Schneeberg

Intercultural Communication
- Learn about and get familiar with culture-specific dimensions of communication (Erin Meyer) to increase their awareness of cultural dynamics to foster successful and productive relationships with their supervised Doctoral Researchers
- Reflect on and discuss their own, other participants’ and/or exemplary critical incidents in the context of cross-cultural work experience to evaluate the effectiveness of the employed behaviours in these specific situations.
- Learn to identify and focus on underlying interests and not on positions. Understand the concept of principled negotiation and its benefit in the supervision of DRs
  Module 5 
March 21st, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Judith Bergner

Mental Health
- Being a role model for staying mentally strong in a challenging work-environment
- Healthy self-motivation strategies
Self-calming strategies in stressful times
- Knowing warning indicators for mental exhaustion
- Establish routines to keep strain and regeneration in balance
- Supporting doctoral researchers in dealing with different stressors
- Create a safe work environment in which people can flourish
  Module 6
April 11th, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Martin Fladerer
Clarissa Zwarg

Recruitment & Onboarding
- Introduction to the scientific basis of a structured recruitment process and the benefits of such a process
- Understand cognitive biases and strategies to reduce these biases within the recruitment and selection process 
- Importance of effective onboarding and integration into the team 
Know the process of organizational socialization (i.e., integration on three levels: professional, social, value-based)
  Module 7
April 18th, 9 am - 1 pm, online
Ulrike Schneeberg

Leading Difficult Conversations
- In the weeks before this module, participants will conduct a role play via zoom with a professional actor, based on a specific scenario of their choice.
- Analyzing, reflecting, and discussing the role play based on video feedback and feedback from the actors.
- Improve your conversational skills and deal with challenging conversations 
  Module 8
April 25th, 3 pm - 6 pm,
in person at the TUM Campus City Center
Monika Beer
Neele Meyer
Camila Hernández Frederick
Vera Kaulbarsch
Alumni of the Supervisor Training Program

Closing Event: 
Looking back & future vision as a supervisor. Insights from experts & Networking
- Reflection: My role as a supervisor after the training, definition of milestones & implementation strategy to put theory into practice
- Impulse lecture with a supervisory role model and panel discussion 
- Networking Event & Award of Certificates


Ulrike Schneeberg, PhD is a Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and systemic business trainer with a focus on caring and honest communication to improve (self-)leadership in research systems. Website | LinkedIn

Judith Bergner is a licensed psychologist and holds an Executive Master´s degree in business engineering. She founded skillfactors in 2000. Her focus is currently on mental health of employees and the correlation with working conditions and superior interactions. Website | LinkedIn

Dr. Martin Fladerer is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Chair of Research and Science Management at the TUM School of Management, TUM. He is also the Scientific Director of the “Perspektivenlabor” at the House of Competence at KIT.

Clarissa Zwarg is a research associate and doctoral candidate at the Chair of Research and Science Management at the TUM School of Management, TUM. She is part of the DFG-project “Does the place make the people? The role of leadership and work climate for moral and prosocial socialization in the workplace”.


Dr. Monika Beer is Head of Scientific Talent and Career Development, Strategy, Programs, Resources and Director of the Helmholtz Graduate School Environmental Health (HELENA) at Helmholtz Munich.

Dr. Camila Hernández Frederick is Head of Career Services & International Max Planck Research School for Molecules of Life (IMPRS-ML) at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich.

Dr. Vera Kaulbarsch is Project Manager Qualification Program at the TUM Graduate School.

Dr. Neele Meyer is Postdoc Coordinator as part of the Scientific Training and Career Development Team at Helmholtz Munich.

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