Courses and Events

The following courses and events are an integral part of the educational programme of the GRK1172

● Core Curriculum
● 3x Summer School
● 3x Winter School
● Seminar Biopharmaceuticals
● 1 elective course
● 20 guest seminars
● Scientific Writing
● Scientific Presentation

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GRK1172 is open to students from pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, natural sciences, biotechnology and chemistry and aims to recruit excellent students. Prerequiste for admission will be a Master´s degree (MSc, MPhil), university diploma (Diplom) or state medical exam (Staatsexamen).
Outstanding students (top 5%) possessing a Bachelor of Science degree ("Fachhochschul-Abschluß") can be considered for admittance but must successfully complete an extra qualifying year. Based on the level of education of the student, one member of the Teaching Committee will compile an individual prepatory course programme together with the student. This individual qualifying programme needs to be approved by the whole Teaching Committee.

GRK1172 will award doctoral degrees in accordance with the regulations of the participating faculties. The faculties for Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy awards a Dr.phil.nat. ("Promotionsordnung der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Fachbereiche der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, May 26th, 1993, last amendment July 9th, 2003). Currently the non-medical graduate students at the medical faculty receive their doctoral training and degree in collaboration with the science faculties. The medical faculty is currently establishing regulations for awarding a PhD to graduate students from the natural sciences and pharmaceutics and an MD/PhD to physicians.

In general, these regulations for awarding doctoral degrees require that the students have demonstrated the ability to understand, design, implement and critically evaluate a research process which has enabled them to make a contribution through original research. This must be done in a thesis and a successful presentation and defense of this thesis in public. We do not have specific additional formal requirements for doctorates, but GRK1172 students are expected to have documented their research contribution by at least three national or international peer-reviewed publications, at least one as first author. GRK1172 PhD students are encouraged to write and defend their thesis in English.

The scientific progress of the PhD students during their studies is reviewed in the research meetings as well as during the GRK1172 Summer School by the supervisor, the 2 co-supervisors and the Scientific Advisory Board. Ideally, the 2 co-supervisors should have different backgrounds then the main supervisor, so that the PhD student has close personal contact with scientists having different expertises. The function of the

supervisor team is to monitor the progress of each student and to encourage GRK1172 students in their endeavours to develop and critically evaluate their research goals and strategies. The supervisor committee should be the first to identify potential problems with the GRK1172 educational programme and is responsible for designing alternative courses of action to help the students to achieve their overall goal. A half-time evaluation is held after 18 months in order the quality standards are met.

In addition to the doctorate, GRK1172 awards a diploma in Drug Research, Development and Safety at the end of the teaching curriculum. This diploma is based on the successful completion of an educational programme from the FIRST course catalogue. Exams are a combination of oral or written tests and practical tasks, e.g. the preparation of a business plan, project outline or grant application, or designing a preclinical safety test programme.

The 3-year curriculum

The transfer of key knowledge and skills specific to the field of drug research and development is a multi-stage, three-year process (plus an additional qualifying year for those graduates with a BSc/Fachhochschul-degree):

- Catch-up term & 1st year

Of primary concern in the first three months is to establish a common knowledge and methodical platform for all of the PhD students. Here, graduates from the natural sciences are introduced into medical terminology and pharmacology (Basics in Medicine & Pharmacology), while pharmacists and physicians aquire the basics in molecular and cellular biology (Molecular Medicine, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry). The first modules of the GRK1172/FIRST Core Curriculum on the basics in drug research, development, safety, as well as target identification and drug optimisation will be taught in the first year.

- 2nd & 3rd year

In the 2nd and 3rd years, the PhD students receive training in the fields of preclinical safety testing, animal models, drug formulation developement, clinical studies, German/European/international regulations (GMP, GLP, GCP, ICH), drug approval and basic marketing techniques. In the 2nd year, the PhD students take also courses such as Scientific Writing and Presentation, and one or two elective courses according to their interests and topic of their PhD research.


Credit Points

Credit Point System:
All courses have defined aims and are intended for a certain groups of PhD students.  For successful participation, the PhD students have to contribute actively to the course, ideally this should be done by problem-orientated learning (e.g. in a small group) rather than a written test.  The successful participation will be documented with Credit Points which reflect the time expenditure for the course.  The number of Credit Points per course as well as the number of Credit Points to obtain during the PhD is fixed to 30 Credit Points.

Thesis Committee Report

Thesis Committee Report:
The Thesis Committee (the supervisor and the 2 co-supervisor) discuss the progress of the Phd project at least twice a year with the PhD student, this is done on the basis of the research talk by the student at the yearly Summer and Winter School.  The members of the Thesis Committee and the PhD student report the aims reached to tat date, discuss problems and their possible solutions, and if necessary adjust together the aims of the project.  In those cases where the project may fail, the committee will search with the PhD candidate for a redirection of the project. The results of these Thesis Committee Meetings are recorded in written form.  The PhD student is responsible to obtain these twice yearly meetings.