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Jan 23, 2009; University Of Wuerzburg,



On January 23rd 2009 at the University of Wuerzburg, Department of Psychiatry, a DAAD workshop was held on the theme “European PhD-Programme in Biomedicine – How to Improve International Cooperation”. This DAAD workshop follows from the years of collaboration between scientists from Wuerzburg, Zagreb, Sarajevo and other SEE cities, lead by Prof. Riederer from Wuerzburg. The collaboration enabled a number of young researchers in the phase of writing their doctorate theses to stay a certain period in Wuerzburg, and the project also supported some participants at the first two ORPHEUS conferences in Zagreb.

Wuerzburg DAAD Workshop

The workshop participants were as follows:

Prof. Peter Riederer, Prof. J¸rgen Deckert, Prof. Stjepan Gamulin, Laszlo Sztriha, PhD, Prof. Thorsten Liebers, Prof. Matthias Frosch, Prof. Nevena Secen, Prof. Hannes Stockinger, Prof. Bajram Hysa, Prof. Osman Sinanovic, Prof. Radu Badea, Prof. Slobodan Loga, Dr. Andrea Thelen-Frˆlich, Prof. H. Joachim Seitz, Dr. Stephan Schrˆder-Kˆhne, Prof. Manfred Gessler, Prof. Zdravko Lackovic, Gerlinde Kerscher



The chairmen were Prof. M. Frosch, Medical School Dean, University of Wuerzburg, and Prof. Z. Lackovic, University of Zagreb, and the proceedings included several lectures, each followed by discussion. Prof. Lacković as the ORPHEUS President gave an introduction into the ORPHEUS idea ñ a European medical PhD network. Prof. H. Stockinger from Vienna talked about the PhD programme at the Medical University of Vienna, with emphasis on introduction of clinical programmes. Prof. S. Gamulin from Split lectured on the PhD programme in Split, in particular on the topic: Thesis on the basis of published papers. Prof. S. Loga from Sarajevo talked about the state of science in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Prof. L. Sztriha from Hungary presented on the PhD programme in experimental and clinical neuroscience. Professors S. Schroeder-Koehne and A. Thelen-Frˆlich introduced graduate schools in Wuerzburg and their MD/PhD programme. After these lectures a general discussion followed to sum it all up, in which all participated.


From the lectures of the representatives of Szeged, Zagreb and Split, and from the ORPHEUS booklets which were distributed, the agreements can be seen on PhD programme benchmarks, and the accomplishments of two South European countries, as a positive example for other South East European countries. Prof. Loga, Secretary of the Academy of Science and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, pinpointed difficulties arising with any kind of scientific work in Bosnia due to unsettled circumstances in which there are practically no local funds for research, so research is possible primarily as cooperation with pharmaceutical companies or as joint projects, such as DAAD projects.


Professors Schroeder-Koehne and Thelen-Frˆlich from Wuerzburg presented the MD/PhD programme in which, considering reputation of the Wuerzburg University, a relatively small number of students participated, mainly in the field of preclinical studies. For now in Germany, despite introduction of PhD programmes (Die Graduierten Kolleginen), there are no programmes which would cover the field of clinical medicine. Contrary to this, Prof. Stockinger from Vienna described their efforts to introduce clinical PhD programmes, and said that all Austrian medical universities offer their own PhD programmes which include clinical medicine. A comment was that cooperation between South East European universities and Germany, regarding junior researchers, would be much easier if on both sides there were comparable PhD programmes open for mobility of students and lecturers, although there are dissertations being prepared at the Zagreb University which have joint mentors from Wuerzburg and Zagreb. Prof. Seitz emphasized that in Germany there are habilitations, the criteria of which are much higher than those of the Zagreb Declaration required for PhD programmes, but Prof. Lacković reported that PhD programmes within the Bologna system have much wider function than habilitations.


Regarding South East Europe, it was noticed that the development of science is slow, and that opportunities for cooperation and funding, such as DAAD projects, are not used enough. It was suggested that the ORPHEUS creates web pages on scholarships and other sources of funding, and European cooperation (wider than the EU). After the workshop some participants expressed in e-mails that further regional meetings on this topic should be organized, and Prof. Deckert emphasized that, regardless of the form, the PhD criteria should be higher and more open to clinicians.