In the field of teaching and research, one of the core activities of the Friedrich Schiller University is the promotion of talented students who are enthusiastic about science. Teaching staff at all faculties make an effort to identify students who excel in their studies, and to provide them with individual support and the opportunity to engage in their own research activities. The Honours Programme encourages this very mission and increases its visibility by offering a structure and a variety of opportunities to identify and promote research talents at an early stage.
The programme is intended to give excellent students a deeper insight into research processes during their studies, thus enabling them to participate in the scientific community and preparing them for a scientific career.
Coordinated by the Graduate Academy, this cutting-edge programme is an essential component of the “LIGHT, LIFE, LIBERTY – Connecting Visions” strategy of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. It is financed by the university allowance provided via the Excellence Strategy of the German State Government and the Länder.
The Honours Programme consists of three components: individual support provided by the Honours mentoring, academic support given in the Honours workshops, and financial support provided via the Honours funds.
To participate in the Honours Programme, scientists are asked to apply in a tandem with their talented students. Upon successful application, the selected students will be supervised by their tandem partners. The University invites professors and advanced postdoctoral researchers to opt for supervising talented students. Depending on the research culture, the supervision may comprise a small individual research project, a publication project, or a participation in graduate programmes; it may be also be combined with advanced seminars or doctoral colloquia as well as with participations in congresses and conferences.
Graduate Academy will offer several workshops and other events to the selected students. These events will focus on certain topics beyond the standard contents of undergraduate programmes. Among others, there will be workshops on scientific writing and presentation, on good scientific practice, on the philosophy of science and research ethics and, last but not least, on how to take the very first career steps as a researcher. By their participation in these workshops, the students will be able to train research-related key qualifications at an early stage of their studies, as well as reflect on their own research and their experience of the research culture. Through these workshops, as well as through regular networking events, the University also seeks to encourage the interdisciplinary exchange of the selected students, and strengthen their sense of belonging to the scientific community.
The financial support provided throughout the programme should support those activities of the selected students which are related to their research, for example, travel expenses when taking part in congresses, or other material costs of up to €1,000 per year.
In addition,the participating students may also receive financial support for their own scientific initiatives. For example, they may be able to invite visiting lecturers to the University or organize their own student research congresses.