The annual PhD Day was held at the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) on 11 June 2015 under the slogan “Agricultural landscape research: perspectives for young scientists”. The open day gave many PhD students at ZALF the opportunity to present their research topic and to discuss it with others. At the same time, the event was an ideal platform for networking and engaging in exchange with students and early career researchers from other research institutions. An additional aim of the event was to enable the research location of Müncheberg to further raise its profile throughout Germany.
Professor Dr. Harald Kächele opened the PhD Day with a short presentation about ZALF and the challenges and opportunities open to PhD students. The three Junior Staff Representatives – Isabell von Rein, Monique Andres and Christiane Peter - then went through the programme. During a Science Slam in the morning, six PhD students not only put their scientific skills to the test, but also presented the highlights of their research in an entertaining and easily understandable lecture. The aim of the slam was to strengthen the communication skills of early career researchers, and to raise the audience’s interest in a host of scientific topics.
After the Science Slam, two post-docs Dr. Anne-Katrin Prescher and Dr. Christian Strauß gave a talk about the advantages of going abroad and teaching at university whilst doing a PhD.
After a short refreshment break for lunch, the event continued with a talk by Dr. Sabine Müller, contact person for the support of early career researchers in the Leibniz Association. She spoke about “The next generation of researchers”. The talk was followed by a lively discussion on the challenges faced by young scholars involved in research projects and in today’s world of science, as well as the necessity to plan a career in good time.
The guest talk was followed by a poster exhibition. Supported by their posters, six PhD students presented their research work in short talks. After these talks, Dr. Ulrich Strachow reported about the tasks and fields of activity undertaken by the ombudsmen at ZALF.
Two Discovery Tours were then held, featuring a number of stops at the ZALF site. During the first tour, quantitative PCR analysis was explained by Phillip Rebensburg; Dr. Zachary Kayler presented the isotope laboratory; and Madlen Pohl demonstrated how greenhouse gas emissions are measured. The second tour started at the Institute of Landscape Hydrology, where Marcus Fahle explained the water cycle using a model he had constructed. Dr. Timm Sauer then presented the field experiments he is conducting at test sites in Müncheberg. This tour was rounded off by Dr. Dietmar Barkusky, who drove visitors to the test sites in a tractor and trailer to show them the various field trials.
Finally, awards were presented by the association “Freundes- und Förderverein der Forschung in Müncheberg e. V.” for the best lecture and the best poster. Professor Dr. Monika Frielinghaus and Dr. Claus Dalchow presented awards to Mathias Hoffmann for his excellent lecture on the topic of “Feedbacks of soil erosion on CO2- exchange and C-budgets in soil-plant-systems” and to Kathrin Specht for her outstanding poster “Potentials, problems and acceptance factors for the introduction and implementation of the innovation “zero- acreage farming”.
Professor Kächele thanked the scientists who supervised PhD students who completed their doctoral degree in 2014.
After so many exciting activities, the best way to end the PhD Day was to have a barbecue together in the evening.