Open Research Day

The Open Research Day, held once every semester, is a core element of our School. It provides an excellent opportunity for our PhD students and supervisors to meet, share insights and to network. At the Open Research Day our doctoral students can present their current research in front of an interdisciplinary audience of peers and faculty, train their presentation skills and receive valuable feedback. At the same time, the event serves to showcase the thematic diversity of our School, both within it and beyond.

  • The Open Research Days are held in English to meet the international standards of the VDTR and to enable all our students to participate.
  • By participating, our PhD students can earn ECTS credits (by doing a presentation of their current research, chairing a session or by writing a reflection paper). It is also possible to choose several options at the same time at a given Open Research Day.
  • However, for credits to count, the student has to demonstrate a minimum regular attendance at the Open Research Days in the course of their studies (for details see below).
  • Regular attendance at the Open Research Day is also a prerequisite to benefiting from the various financial support options offered by the VDTR (for details see below).

Rules for earning ECTS credits at the Open Research Day

Basic rules

At each Open Research Day, ECTS points can be earned (1 ECTS equates 25 hours of work). We believe in creating a commitment to regular participation in the Open Research Day and so ensure a regular exchange within the School. For this reason, the ECTS points earned at the Open Research Day are not entered into the student's transcript at the end of each semester, but in total on completion of their studies, provided the student has participated in at least four Open Research Days.

Options for earning ECTS credits:

  • 2 ECTS for a presentation
  • 1 ECTS for chairing a panel (consisting of presentations and discussion) and writing a short reflection (1.5 pages) on that panel
  • 1 ECTS for writing a reflection paper (4-5 pages) on several panels following the Open Research Day.

Registration is done via the Moodle platform of the School.

Details on ECTS credits upon graduation from the doctoral program

  • In the course of the doctoral studies (based on a standard duration of 6 semesters of study), the doctoral student must attend Open Research Days at least 4 times. With 3 years of study, this means that, at most, 2 Open Research Days may be missed.
  • Attendance is checked in each case by means of an attendance list. Only full-day presence will be counted as attendance. For justified exceptions (such as important appointments during the day), the VDTR must be contacted by e-mail before the start of the event.
  • Unlike with the application for funding, no excuse for absence is needed for the criterion of earning ECTS.
  • Only if participation at a minimum number of Open Research Days has been met, the ECTS earned will be credited when the student completes his or her studies (e.g.: a PhD student who attended 5x, presented 2x and chaired a panel 1x, will receive 5 ECTS points on completing their study program. Someone who was present only 3x in total, however, receives 0 ECTS, even if, for example, he or she presented 1x and chaired a panel 1x).
  • To fulfil the minimum criterion for earning ECTS credits, attendance alone is sufficient. It is not necessary to do 4x activities.
  • For doctoral students who join the School after the beginning of their doctoral studies, the minimum attendance at the Open Research Days is reduced in line with their time of joining the VDTR. In any case, doctoral students should make sure they attend at least two thirds of the Open Research Days possible for them.
  • Contact the VDTR by e-mail in due time to ensure registration of the accumulated ECTS at graduation.

Details on the participation options

We collect feedback after each Open Research Day and strive to develop it ever further. The exact details of the current Open Research Day being planned can be found on the School's Moodle platform. The information below just serves as a rough guide:

  • Presentation (2 ECTS)

    • Preparing a 15-minute presentation in English (requests for justified exceptions must be made by e-mail to the VDTR).
    • Submitting an abstract of the presentation at registration.
    • Submitting a PowerPoint presentation at least one week before the talk.
    • Preparing questions for the subsequent debate.
    • Presence of the supervisor: In order to promote the exchange between doctoral students and lecturers, the supervisor's presence is necessary.

  • Chairing a panel (1 ECTS)

    • Introducing the speakers of a panel and their presented topics.
    • Preparing questions for the discussion.
    • Chairing the debate.
    • A 1.5-page reflection (Times, 12pt., 1.5-line spacing) on the chaired panel, to be submitted no later than 2 weeks after the event and graded "Pass" or "Fail" by the VDTR.

  • Reflection Paper (1 ECTS)

    • Writing a 4-5-page reflection paper (Times, 12 pt., 1.5-line spacing) on several Open Research Day panels, which must be handed in no later than 2 weeks after the event and will be graded "Pass" or "Fail" by the VDTR.
    • Criteria for the evaluation of the reflection paper: Originality and independent expression are major criteria for the paper. It should not just be a report of the papers discussed, but a critical reflection on the presented topics. How do the papers relate to each other in terms of interdisciplinarity? Can you relate them to your own thesis topic?

Attendance at the Open Research Day as a prerequisite for receiving financial support

Regular attendance at Open Research Days, as well as membership of the School, are the necessary condition for benefiting from the financial support options offered by the VDTR. The following rules apply:

  • Regular attendance at each Open Research Day is generally required to be able to apply for financial support. It is, however, possible to be excused 2x from the Open Research Day with a valid reason (in contrast to the ECTS award criterion, where no excuse is necessary). For an absence to be excused, the VDTR must be contacted via e-mail prior to the start of the event.
  • Attendance is checked in each case by means of an attendance list. Only full-day presence will be counted as attendance. For justified exceptions (such as important appointments during the day), the VDTR must be contacted by e-mail before the start of the event.
  • To be eligible for support, you must have previously attended an Open Research Day at least once (e.g. a doctoral student who has been a member of the School for one semester, but has not yet attended an Open Research Day, is not eligible for funding. A PhD student who has been a member for two semesters, has attended 1x and has been excused 1x, however, can apply for funding).
  • In principle, the degree of commitment to the School (participation in School events, helping with organizing tasks, etc.) is a criterion for awarding grants. Therefore, the more often someone was present at the Open Research Day, the better.