We are also the junction of all 14 Doctoral Schools and have close contact to all student representatives of the Doc Schools. Furthermore, we have representatives in all important committees such as the Curriculum Commission and the Senate. This enables us to structurally improve the situation of PhDs. Last but not least we organise all kinds of events throughout the year: From talks and workshops over excursions to research facilities to after-work get-togethers.
This makes us the perfect place to go for everyone who wants to improve their conditions of studying, realise their own ideas, help their fellow students or just meet colleagues of different fields of expertise.
Conversations with other PhD students unearthed numerous structural problems concerning studies, which were evaluated and debated in a think tank about the future of the doctoral studies at the TU Graz: Start and progress of PhD studies, quality assurance, networking and time management.
This think tank evolved into a task force, which is held monthly since April 2019. It poses a possibility for informal communication between the vice rectors of teaching and research, the heads of the curricula commission and us, the PhD Union. First great successes include an annually budget for each doctoral school, the start of a mentoring system for PhDs as well as the plan for a new online-tool, which shall make the PhD process easier to understand and more clearly arranged.
That education and fun can come as one was proven by our latest excursion to the European Space Agency: Ten PhDs made their journey to the Netherlands to visit the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), a part of ESA, close to Leiden in Summer 2019. Currently the Galileo satellites are put through their paces there.
Particularly exciting was our visit the robotic lab where prototypes for the future Mars mission ExoMars are developed. It was also extremely fascinating to hear about futuristic plans of a moon station, about advances in 3D print in space and about the European contributions to international space station ISS. All in all, it was a marvellous journey with lots of opportunities to explore the European space program in combination with ample cultural program in Amsterdam and Leiden.
*Doctoral School within the framework of NAWI Graz