Hannover Biomedical Research School

Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS)

Prof. Dr. Reinhold E. Schmidt, Clinical Immunology, Dean

Dr. Susanne Kruse, scientific coordinator

In the year 2000, Hannover Medical School (MHH), one of Germanyís leading medical schools, was the first to establish a structured and accredited interdisciplinary PhD program. Just three years later, MHH founded the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS) as an ìumbrella organizationî for existing and future structured postgraduate programs. HBRS now comprises two international PhD programs and four DFG-funded research training groups, two of which are joint European programs. More recently, a structured doctoral program for medical students (StrucMed) has also been successfully established (final degree Dr.med.). Already within this short period of time HBRS has managed to become a highly attractive graduate school for (MD)/PhD training with an outstanding international reputation. It co-ordinates teaching and ensures excellent training in high quality research laboratories, furthers motivation, and actively encourages integration and interdisciplinary exchange between students and young researchers from both medical and life science backgrounds. HBRS also fosters educational and scientific interaction between university and non-university institutions; among these are the University of Veterinary Medicine, the Helmholtz Institute (HZI), and the Fraunhofer Institute (ITEM). It provides a framework for international guest lectures, summer schools and for the training of talented medical and life science students for a future career in science. In providing optimal conditions for female PhD students, HBRS aims to motivate, support and convince female academics to pursue a career in science.

The international MD/PhD program started in 2000. The MD/PhD Program offers an interdisciplinary project-orientated postgraduate education for medical students as well as students from life sciences. Students learn how to carry out thorough and independent scientific work while doing their own 3-year research project, and, thus, earn a further qualification for the performance of tasks in research and teaching. The program is designed for German as well as international PhD students. The whole program is in English. Besides the individual research projects, it comprises of obligatory seminars and tutorials, which deal with basics and methods in Biology and Medicine (in the first year), and then on more applied aspects through seminars on current research projects in the MHH (in the second year). Furthermore, students attend a large catalogue of project-orientated and interdisciplinary seminars/courses, including guest seminars, scientific colloquia, practical method courses, and seminars in ìEthicsî, ìAnimal experimentsî, ìScientific Writingî, ìPresentation techniquesî etc.

The main focus lies on the scientific research project in ìMolecular Medicineì, carried out in one of the departments of the MHH, especially in one of main research fields: Immunology; Infection; Oncology and Differentiation; Genetics and Cell Biology. Numerous cooperations with outstanding scientists and institutes guarantee the scientific excellence of the program. Short-term stays abroad within the scope of cooperations and projects are desired as well as the invitation of guest lecturers/scientists.

The medical students in this program receive more in-depth education in life sciences, especially in molecular medicine, whereas the students from natural sciences receive an education in the basics of medicine. The MD/PhD program is highly attractive for foreign students and, moreover, supports the international experience of the Germans. On December 9th, 2003 the program has been accredited according to European standards (ZEvA, Hannover; ECTS) as the first PhD program in Germany.

Since October 2003, the MD/PhD program is one of the key programs of the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS).

Medical students usually start their career during their undergraduate study to to a short Dr.med. thesis. Since 2005, MHH has established a structured doctoral program for a selected number of students. The aim was to find an alternative for ìevening or weekend researchî. Students pause their normal studies for 9-months to do molecular lab work in one of the departments of MHH or partner institutes. They have a curriculum of about 100 hours (serminars, journal clubs, soft skills). Students are getting paid as student tutors in order to compensate slightly prolonged studies and study fees. Sucessful students receive Dr.med. degree + a certificate.

After their final degree (Staatsexamen), medical students are able to enter one of the PhD programs, where they work full-time in research for 3 years.

MHH is trying to separate clinical from research work in careers of medical doctors.