Qualification programme

Fast track programme

Our challenge is to take “early-study” a step further to a fast-track study, blending school and university education with PhD research. Our aim is to link pupils and university students at an early stage to ongoing SystemLink PhD projects.

Participation of successful applicants in the fast track study programme is possible through three different routes: (1) entry of national and international school leavers with an excellent secondary school examination record, who apply for the fast-track programme; (2) an “early study” programme in Environmental Sciences for talented upper and lower secondary school pupils who can apply for this program during their time in secondary school (HochSchG §67 Abs. 4); this programme will, however, be of interest mainly for pupils in the vicinity of Landau; and (3) nomination by lecturers of Bachelor students during the first semester. Before starting the programme, each participant has to pass a qualification test.

Study programme

Complementing the research concept, the qualification programme aims at extending the knowledge of doctoral researchers to neighbouring disciplines, i.e. to transcend the classical disciplinary borders between molecular biology, (stress) ecology, chemistry, physics and biogeochemistry with respect to research fields and methods applied. A second aim of the proposed doctoral researcher education is to foster teamwork and concerted action for the analysis of complex environmental systems across the classical borders between aquatic and terrestrial research as well as biogeochemical and biotic approaches.


By establishing student research teams as one key element of SystemLink, we aim to counteract a rather specialized doctoral researcher education and provide a powerful framework for high-level interdisciplinary research and knowledge management. Each research team will consist of three doctoral researchers. One team consists of those doctoral researchers working on the same research facility, with each doctoral researcher having one main supervisor and two co-supervisors. Hence, the members of each research team cooperates on complementary projects but with different methodical backgrounds.


SystemLink offers the participating doctoral researchers amongst others an extensive additional course programme:

Soft skill development workshops

(i) Project management
(ii) Scientific writing & presentation
(iii) Conversation & conflict management
(iv) Rhetorical skills
(v) Project funding

Advanced innovation workshops

(xvi) Entrepreneurial design thinking
(xvii) Science-business interaction
(xviii) Ethics in science/Good scientific practice
(xix) Science-policy interaction
(xx) Science-social media interaction

Specific topic workshops

(vi) Hydrology
(vii) Environmental chemistry
(viii) Environmental physics
(ix) Ecotoxicology
(x) Geoecology
(xi) Molecular ecology
(xii) Physiology/food web analysis
(xiii) Ecosystem analysis
(xiv) Advanced data analysis
(xv) Soil microbiology