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The research training group will be focusing on the mechanisms in weathering, reactive transport and remineralization and the respective role of microorganisms in these processes. With this research profile, a PhD program is established that is characterized by its scientific excellence and strong international context and that will stimulate interaction between students coming from different scientific disciplines in an highly innovative research field. International education and language skills are also enhanced by a mandatory 3 months project at a foreign institute.

The fellows are provided with excellent research and teaching facilities, the program is aiming at developing an interdisciplinary and highly international career. A program for acquisition of soft skills will enable PhD students to promote their skills. The fellows will receive training within use of statistical and additional programs for identification of microbes. Employment after graduation is conceivable in research as well as in environmental and geological consulting companies which so far have relied mostly on geography students which have good presentation skills but often lack hard-core natural sciences education. The housing for all incoming international students will be provided by the Friedrich-Schiller-University where apartments for guest researchers are available for approx. 250 € per month. Child care facilities for parent students are also provided.

The PhD program is a logical step that follows upon the installment of a new Bachelor and Masters program in Environmental Sciences. A Bachelor and Master program “Biogeowissenschaften” (Biogeosciences) and a Masters program Microbiology have been established. The best bachelor students of each year can directly enter the PhD program with one year of qualification instead of a required Master. The research training group is a part of the "Jena School of Microbial Communication" and credit is given to lectures and courses provided by this school. The Jena Graduate Academy will help with administrative issues of PhD and defense, and will also contribute teaching elements, which can be chosen and are credited in this research training program.

The doctoral theses will be cumulative which ensures publication of the results in a time frame that is strictly enforced with 3 years. The Faculty included  now cumulative, English dissertations in the graduation regulatory. This is essential for the structure of the research training group and will allow shorter times for PhD projects with higher publication activities in the future.
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