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GRK 1482 Jahrbuch 2011-2014

Page 8 | GRK Progress Report 2011-2014 The 1st funding period (4.5 years) of the Research Training School GRK 1482 had started on April 01, 2008 and ended on September 30, 2012. The GRK resides at the Center of Life and Food Sciences in Weihenstephan and at the Klinikum rechts der Isar in Munich. The speaker of the 1st funding period was Prof. Hannelore Daniel (Molecular Nutrition Unit), deputy was Prof. Dirk Haller (Nutrition and Immunology). The DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) financially sup- ported the GRK 1482 in the 1st funding with 2.4 million Euro. 14 PhD fellows (8 female/ 6 male) were granted a DFG scho- larship to complete their doctorate within the framework of the GRK 1482. With respect to the geographical distribution of applicants, 13 of them held the German Nationality, 1 came from India. The GRK 1482 had also five associated PhD fellows, eligible to participate in all activities of the GRK but with funding provided by other sources. The projects of those PhD students did relate to the general theme of the program. Research Program All research projects focused on the gastrointestinal tract as an important barrier and communication organ that defines the interface between the luminal environment including nu- tritional and microbial factors and the host. About half of the projects covered physiological aspects of the gut interplay with food constituents and host signals, whereas the other half co- vered disease-related mechanisms focusing on animal models for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The emphasis on IBD was based on recent findings highlighting the importance of the intestinal microbiota in the disease initiation and progression. With the unique spectrum of experts from microbiology, physio- logy and gastroenterology, the GRK 1482 took a strong position in this rapidly developing field. Qualification Program In addition to the Research Program, the Qualification Pro- gram was an important structural element for the PhD fellows. To foster cooperative research activities and quality two super- visors were assigned to each PhD fellow. The mentoring inclu- ded guidance on the science project and its progress as well as personal development advice. Both supervisors were requested to have face to face discussion with the PhD fellow. The indi- vidual mentoring has proved to be a successful instrument in guiding the PhD students. Equally important for the work progress were the annual retreats of the GRK. Each PhD student was requested to present the project, including state-of-the-art background, results and perspectives in the presence of all supervisors and peers. These retreats stimulated vital discussions among all participants, laid the foundation for a fruitful feedback and enabled collabora- tions and synergies. Furthermore, a dedicated scientific education platform with mandatory seminars and a 10-days lab course covering prime research areas of the GRK, has been offered to the PhD fellows. The scientific seminar series constituted another key element of the Qualification Program. A wide variety of experts, predo- minately from foreign countries and overseas (in total 54 spea- kers, 29 of them from outside Germany), were invited to present their research topics largely covering all themes of the GRK PhD fellows were asked to spend extra time with the experts after the seminar at the “bar” with drinks and snacks. On a more personal level, experiences, scientific details, the pros and cons of a career in academia or industry were discussed. Scientific skills and knowledge were provided by the GRK, its members and the invited experts. Social competence and gene- ral career development courses were provided by TUM Graduate School, WIMES and the Carl von Linde-Akademie. The following courses were offered: • Scientific Writing • Presentation skills and communication • Rhetoric skills • Team guiding • Conflict management • Values in changing world and cultural competence • Ethics and responsible conduct in science It was mandatory that the PhD fellows enrolled in at least 3 courses; however most of them enrolled in more courses. To provide insights into industrial R&D, two excursions were organized. In 2010 we visited DSM in Basel which is one of the largest producers of food ingredients in the world. The fellows gained useful insights into industrial research activities and necessities for project management. In addition, we visited the Nestlé Research Center in Vevey with guided tours through labs in the food, nutrition and life sciences areas. The second excursion in 2011 brought us to the Netherlands with visits to Wageningen University as well as site-visits to Friesland Campina and to NIZO, a commercial research organization specialized in R&D on foods and nutrition. In addition the PhD fellows had the opportunity to spend time abroad (a few weeks) in labs within Europe or overseas. Self-assessment In a self-assessment approach all PhD fellows and involved post-docs were asked to participate in a review process eva- luating work progress, environment of the GRK, organizational framework, education and mentoring program. The outcome of this self-assessment certified that the real-life SUMMARY OF THE 1ST FUNDING PERIOD OF THE GRK Summary of the 1st Funding Period of the GRK