3 May 2021, by Ingeborg Adler / Christina Krätzig, UHH Newsroom in German
Photo: DESY, Lars Berg / privat
Dr. Philipp Wessels-Staarmann and Dr. Irene Fernandez-Cuesta are two of the seven young investigators participating in the Young Investigator Group Leader Program.
The Cluster of Excellence CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter has launched a new funding concept: The aim of the "Young Investigator Group Leader" concept is to optimally support highly talented young researchers and accompany them on their way to a professorship or leading position. A special feature is a structured program for individual support including a development center.
Seven Young Investigator Group Leaders have already started their work at the Cluster of Excellence "CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter". The positions have been newly created and are aimed at young scientists who are already independently carrying out challenging research projects of their own and who are attracting or have already attracted funding at the level of Emmy Noether groups or ERC Starting Grants.
The researchers are supported by a so-called host and are affiliated with his or her research group with their research projects. This concept allows them to conduct research largely independently while benefiting from the group's resources.
Individual development plans with a focus on leadership skills
As a special feature, the cluster has linked the concept with a targeted development program for individual advancement. The central question is what researchers need to take the next steps in their careers. "The starting point is a voluntary Development Center. This is intended to help the Young Investigators identify the areas of development that are important to them personally," says Prof. Henning Moritz, who is overseeing the new program together with Cluster Managing Director Anika Ostermaier-Grabow and Careers Officer Jutta Voigtmann. Arne Seeburger, Strategic HR Development and Recruiting Officer at Universität Hamburg, provided the cluster with comprehensive support in the conception, preparation, implementation and evaluation of the so-called Development Center, which was specially developed as the core of the new funding concept.
In these half-day events, prepared by meetings and discussions, the Young Investigators have to face practical tasks and leadership simulations. Based on the results, they receive a personal development plan, which will be supplemented as needed by workshops, coachings or meetings to share experiences and will be reflected on every six months.
"I think it's very good that the program is so individualized and addresses personal development needs," says Dr. Philipp Wessels-Staarmann, one of the seven Young Investigators. “Going through the Development Center was also a valuable experience, to see directly how such an assessment center works in the academic search procedure." Irene Fernandez-Cuesta, who is also participating in the project, adds: "The development center was a very interesting experience. It definitely helped me learn more about myself and see things from a different perspective. I also got useful feedback from colleagues, and especially from professionals."
With the concept of Young Investigator Groups Leaders, the cluster "CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter" is specifically implementing the support of young researchers, which is a priority in the research program and for which more than 80 percent of the funding is earmarked. "If it goes well, we will then offer the development program to other cluster scientists outside the Young Investigator project who are about to take the next step in their careers, in order to provide even more individualized support for young researchers," Ostermaier-Grabow hopes.
The participants in the Young Investigator Group Leader Program
The Young Investigators are Dr. Thore Posske, Dr. Philipp Wessels-Staarmann, Dr. Guillaume Salomon and Dr. Eric Hill, as well as Dr. Frank Schlawin, Dr. Aaron Kelly and Dr. Irene Fernandez-Cuesta. For more information, see the two linked news articles featuring the Young Investigators.