Scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses 

Scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses

(A) Berlin University Alliance courses

During the current period of the national excellence initiative (2018–2025), most courses and services offered by the Berlin member universities of Berlin University Alliance (BUA) will be open to all members of these institutions. Many courses and services will be free of charge.

The graduate centers all offer transferable skills courses (scientific soft skills) and many further courses and services such as project management, intercultural and general communication training, mentoring programs, conflict consultation, information about family support work-life balance.

Most courses and services are available to all doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers in Berlin, i.e. all doctoral or postdoctoral members of M&B are entitled to books courses. Please find and book your favorite topics.

Direct links to course offers of the BUA graduate centers:

– Humboldt Graduate School, HU Berlin: News and online offers
– Humboldt Graduate School, HU Berlin: Transferable skills courses
Dahlem Research School, FU Berlin
Charité, Graduate Studies Support
Scientific Continuing Education, TU Berlin
Berlin University Alliance

If courses cost fees, please see section (B) below which explains which fee-charging courses on key competencies you may or may not book:

(B) Mandatory scientific soft-skill / key competencies courses for M&B program

General principles:
Most courses which you will attend will be offered through Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) at HU Berlin.

NB: If courses cost fees that M&B would have to cover, you may select only one fee-charging course per person from each category 1–4 during the course of your doctorate. You will have to check with M&B in advance whether the costs will be met by the program!

If you would like to take fee-charging courses for which M&B does not cover the costs, you must either pay the costs yourself or ask whether your institute or your supervisor would contribute to the costs.

(1) Good Scientific Practice (first year)
Good Scientific Practice / Research Integrity / Research Ethics / Data Publishing / Research Data Management / Open Data / Gute wissenschaftliche Praxis / Rechte und Verantwortung in der Forschung.

Please note: Data management courses by the HU computing center or the HGS basic online course Good Scientific Practice are recommended, but will not be accepted as a Good Scientific Practice course for the M&B doctoral program.

(2) Scientific presentation (first year)
Scientific Presenting / Slide Writing & Storylining / Poster Presentations, Poster Writing / Rhetoric and Speaking in Public / Keeping Your Talk Fresh.

(3) Scientific writing (second year)
Scientific Writing / Academic Writing / Wissenschaftliches Schreiben.

(4) Grant proposal writing (third year)

Defending (end of doctorate, after thesis submission)
Dissertation defense coaching / Preparing for the disputation / Preparing for the thesis defence

(C) Course certificates & your transcript of records

We will be happy to list these courses on the transcript of records which you will receive from M&B once you have completed the program. Therefore, after the completion of a course, always send a scan of the attendance certificate to Dr. Dirk Mende:

YourLastName_Presentation ( = attendance certificate for the Scientific Presentation course)

(D) Rules and regulations for attending HGS courses

(1) Your registration for courses is binding!

(2) For your information: Unless courses are free for M&B (= e.g., paid through the Berlin University Alliance or HU Berlin), M&B will have to pay on average 250€ per course day for each M&B participant (some courses are considerably more expensive).

(3) Cancellation Policy at HGS (for FU, TU, Charité Berlin cancellation policies, please find out when booking):

HGS Cancellation Policy
Please note that this registration is binding, this means participation may be cancelled up to 14 days in advance without any reason given. If the participation is cancelled after that, the member program of the doctoral candidate or the doctoral candidate themselves has to cover incurring costs. Last minute cancellations due to illness are only acceptable with a medical certificate. If a place is not taken without notifying the Humboldt Graduate School, it can cause exclusion from further workshops. Please be aware that you are also taking away another doctoral candidate’s opportunity to join the workshop.

  • To prevent incurring costs for you and our program, participation must be cancelled at least 14 days in advance by writing to and
  • A cancellation owing to illness at less than 14 days in advance is only acceptable with a doctor’s certificate (Krankschreibung).

(E) Other available courses and workshops through HGS, DRS or the Berlin University Alliance

Should theses courses cost fees, they will not be covered by M&B.

  • Writing: Writing Abstracts / Writing Review Articles / Publishing Research Articles / Publishing Journal Articles / Scientific Argumentation / BUA Writing Retreats (in En or De) / Wie wird aus meiner Forschung ein guter Fachartikel
  • Presenting & Communicating: Speaking with confidence and impact / Self-presentation in public: Work on body, voice and charisma / Media training / Communication in intercultural and interdisciplinary teams
  • Project management: Project management / Get your things done / Getting started / Kick off your doctorate, etc.
  • Career: Annual career days / Career development courses / opportunities / Plan B courses (= careers outside the Academy)
  • Support & Mental health: One-to-one mentoring, peer mentoring, conflict consultation, Scholar Minds
  • Teaching: Didactics / Teaching skills for junior scientists
  • Start-up: Business start-up courses


This page last updated on: 26 January 2024

Contact re. suitability of courses

Dr. Dirk Mende

Contact re. fees / costs

Annette Winkelmann