The EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health offers a structured training program for medical students at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, with the aim of introducing medical students to substantial scientific activity at an early career stage, to enable them to integrate knowledge across disciplines utilizing the broad-ranging expertise of the scientists involved and to support and mentor them individually beyond the doctorate, thus preparing them in the best possible way for a career as Clinician Scientists.

Scientific Education


We try to balance curricular demands, specific support and independence of the individual student. At the same time we believe that every young scientist needs a certain set of skills to take full advantage of their potential during and after the PhD. To ensure transferability and recognition of qualifications, doctoral researchers earn credit points according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) when completing individual components of the educational program. The program coordinator, in consultation with the thesis advisory committee (TAC) members, advises the doctoral researchers in designing an individual educational program.

The EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health offers a bi-monthly seminar series to exchange scientific data. This includes lectures by fellows, feedback by senior scientists and the coordination team. In addition, workshops on methods are planned in which selected techniques (e.g., next generation sequencing, gene targeting, CRISPR/CAS, etc.) are prepared for the fellows by top scientists. Specific seminar series and lectures can also be attended within the supervisor’s groups. Courses on scientific writing and grant writing are organized through the ZIBI Graduate School .

The mandatory monthly Students’ Days, which is organized by the ZIBI Graduate School, offers a platform to regularly present research amongst peers. Typically, four doctoral researchers succinctly present the hypothesis and background of their project, discuss the data, areas for improvement and future directions. In an optional monthly Journal Club, doctoral researchers discuss scientific publications with the faculty to improve their skills on interpretation of published data and to place scientific work in a contextual framework.

Scientific Communication & Networking

Annual Re-Thinking Health Summer School

The annual summer school brings all participating labs, supervisors and students together to exchange scientifically and socially. As we follow a strategy of active participation, a committee of PhD students with the help of the program coordinators organizes the summer school. In addition to student presentations, lectures by leading scientists associated with the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health from Germany and abroad, (career) workshops and social events are planned. Since the topics of the individual doctoral projects originate from different research areas, the interdisciplinary discussion will play a significant role and thus also reveal new perspectives for the scientific development of the fellows. Nevertheless, there are sufficient breaks for informal exchange.

Conferences & Travel

With an international ambition in mind, we prepare doctoral researchers for becoming respected members of the international scientific community. From the outset, Re-Thinking Health doctoral researchers are encouraged to actively participate in the scientific community by presenting their ongoing research Re-Thinking Health specific meetings and support junior researchers to actively participate in the planning, organization and operational aspects of our program.

Exposure to fellow scientists on national and international conferences is an integral part of our strategy to develop doctoral students into creative junior researchers. The opportunity to visit international congresses allows the doctoral researchers to share their data with the scientific community as well as increasing their professional research network.

Stay abroad

Depending on the project, 6-month stays abroad in research laboratories of collaboration partners may be offered and taken into account accordingly in the planning of the research project. Projects that include a stay abroad are identified accordingly and confirmed by the collaboration partner with a job commitment when the project is announced.


Transferable Skills


Transferable skills are important for the success of a graduate student in a competitive research environment. We offer selected transferable skills courses, including courses promoting scientific development, outreach to the public and political involvement Personal development courses include time management, communication skills and language courses.

Doctoral students of the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health have access to a range of courses and programs offered by the ZIBI Graduate School, such as good scientific practice, statistics, data analysis and visualization, time management, conflict management and intercultural competence, career planning, scientific writing, and scientific presentations. Offers specifically organized by the ZIBI Graduate School are supplemented by courses available through the Humboldt Graduate School and the Dahlem Research School. This allows doctoral researchers to choose from a variety of courses to specifically addressing their needs. International graduates are encouraged to attend German language courses in order to adjust to the new environment.

All doctoral researchers have to attend a workshop on Good Scientific Practice and are sensitized annually at the Science-Ethics-Politics event. Science-Ethics-Politics is designed to promote discussion and provide education on the growing public and political interest in science and the individual scientist in society.

Supervision & Mentoring


We believe that junior researchers are motivated by their passion for their project and by their determination to succeed, because they are keen on generating career opportunities after completion of their MD/PhD. The EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health supports this individual quest by creating an environment of excellence. Each doctoral student of the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health has a primary supervisor who is responsible for the research project. Doctoral students, together with their primary supervisor, prepare a project outline with a time schedule as well as personalized curriculum, choose two further members for their thesis advisory committee and prepare a supervision agreement to provide security and reliability.

The committee meets three and nine months after start to monitor the progress of the research project and gives advice for their scientific project but also for personal career-enhancing tasks. In preparation of the thesis advisory committee meeting, the doctoral student summarizes his/her preliminary results in a written report.

Career Track Meetings

The doctoral program is intended as an entry portal for the recruitment and consistent support of excellent clinician scientists and should enable a direct connection to the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program. Therefore, a Career Track Meeting between the fellow, the coordination team of the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health and the coordinators of the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program shall take place to discuss career options and to plan a career track. Doctoral students will be assigned a clinical mentor who will accompany the fellow and advise him/her in the planning of the internship year as well as the choice of potential further education sites within and outside the Charité, especially with regard to the consistent further development of clinical education and research.

Mentorship program for female clinician scientists.

An important aspect of the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health is fostering equal opportunities and thus, in particular, the support of young female scientists. Therefore, the EKFS Promotionskolleg Re-Thinking Health offers a special mentoring program specifically tailored to female physician scientists, which is intended to illustrate career paths for female physician scientists. Part of this specific program is mentoring by leading international, female Physician Scientists as role models