In recent years, we have established comprehensive structures and activities at the University of Cologne (UoC) in the area of promoting early-career researchers. Faculty-wide and subject-specific UoC graduate schools have been established at all six Faculties. The university-wide Albertus Magnus Graduate Center (AMGC) was established as the central contact point for all UoC doctoral candidates as part of the Institutional Strategy of 2014. For the target group of postdocs, the Human Resources Development for Researchers Department has developed the Postdoc Career Program.
In 2018, all activities for early-career researchers were systematically brought together in the founding of the Albertus Magnus Center (AMC). The aim is to bring together the university-wide information, advice and training offers for doctoral candidates and postdocs across all UoC-Faculties. Thus, the AMC is the central hub of all interdisciplinary activities for early-career researchers and the offers of the Faculty-wide graduate schools.
With the founding of the Albertus Magnus Center, the University has taken a further step towards the sustainable institutionalisation of the structures created for the professional and transferable skills for all disciplines development of early-career academics.
Innovative network structure
The AMC and the managing directors of the Faculty-wide graduate schools and the Graduate School for Teacher Education ("Big 7 Round") develop and coordinate the interdisciplinary tasks and offers in a joint network structure. They hold regular meetings with the coordinators of all graduate programmes at the UoC ("Coordinators Round"). The aim of the exchange is to further increase the visibility and transparency of the offers to promote early-career researchers and to establish a demand-based programme through close cooperation with the graduate schools of the Faculties. Another important effect is the intensification of networking with and among the graduate schools of the Faculties.
The AMC is attached to the Vice-Rector for Academic Staff and Early-career Researchers who, together with six Faculty representatives and advisory members, is a member of the scientific management committee. The board elects a spokesperson (currently Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Speer).
The Human Resources Development for Researchers Department (Department 43 of the Central Administration) is responsible for the executive management of the AMC.
In addition, the UoC’s Young Academics Senate has been established as a university-wide exchange platform for all topics concerning early-career academics. The Young Academics Senate is composed of the scientific management committee of the AMC, the executive management of the AMC, the spokespersons and coordinators of the UoC graduate schools, the board of the Junior Faculty Club, the doctoral representatives of the Faculties and early postdoc representatives.