The best possible support for your PhD studies

The IMPRS GW offers its PhD students a structured doctoral program. With the IMPRS curriculum, we want to give you the best possible support so that you will be able to bring your doctoral work to a successful conclusion within the specified funding period.

The IMPRS curriculum ensures a high-quality and comprehensive graduate education in all aspects of gravitational physics. It is our goal that theorists acquire a basic understanding of the experimental foundations of laboratory work in general and of interferometry, laser physics and quantum optics in particular. And experimentalists, on the other hand, are expected to acquire a basic understanding of data analysis, relativistic astrophysics and numerical relativity.

University and AEI lectures, and Lecture Weeks

The curriculum of the IMPRS combines specialized lectures offered regularly at Leibniz Universität Hannover, specialized lectures by AEI scientists which are video-transmitted to the other part of the institute.

At the heart of the curriculum are our “IMPRS Lecture Weeks”. These are weeks of block lectures in general relativity, data analysis or numerical relativity (alternating), and experimental gravitational-wave physics (with changing topics), taking place at seminar hotels in the surroundings of Europe. With this concept, we want to ensure that experimentalists also get some basic knowledge in the theoretical fields of gravitational-wave astronomy and theorists learn the basics of the experimental fields. The second important goal of these weeks is to bring the students of the different research fields and both institute locations together.

Interdisciplinary training program

Our final structured curriculum is turning out to be very successful. Because of the enormously broad scope of the research at the AEI, communication between the extremes has always been a challenge. Due to the interdisciplinary training program in the IMPRS we are beginning to see a new quality of communication, since experimentalists and theorists have a basic understanding of each other’s daily work and challenges.

Soft skills, project and human resource management

It is an ambition of the School that its graduates not only possess first-rate scientific skills but that they also acquire additional competences, ranging from “soft skills” (e.g. scientific writing, presentation skills, proposal writing, etc.) to project or human resources management. Work in gravitational wave astronomy is normally project-based and carried out under time and budget pressure with a success-oriented schedule, as other projects normally depend on it. As a result, effective project management is something all students have to learn from day one, furthermore they have to learn working in a team of peers. An emerging and rapidly expanding field as gravitational astronomy can only blossom through intense science marketing combined with effective outreach measures. Students are incorporated in this and thus acquire communication skills early in their careers.

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