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This section provides further information on terms mentioned throughout our website. You will also find the application form for financial support in the respective sub-sections.

Annual Retreat

The Annual Retreat is the main two- or three-day scientific workshop of the graduate school, organized by the fellows for the fellows at a location near Heidelberg. The retreat brings together all PhD students to discuss their research projects, engage in workshops and training sessions, and socialize. The cost of participation is covered by HGS MathComp. This is one of the mandatory events.

Annual TAC Meeting

Each PhD student reports regularly to their Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) on the status of their PhD project so that the committee members can provide input and advice as part of a scholarly discussion of the project. The advice will ensure that the thesis represents a complete investigation of the PhD topic and, if necessary, help to refocus the project. These mandatory TAC Meetings take place after the first and after the second year of the PhD phase, with an optional meeting in the third year.

To organize the meeting, you arrange a date for a research presentation and invite the TAC. This will typically happen in a group seminar of your working group, so it is not necessary to schedule a separate event. You present the current status of your PhD project (e.g. research, publications, training) in an appropriate manner, followed by a scientific discussion of the project plan and its organization. During the meeting, you record updates on the progress, milestones for the coming year, and your supervisors’ feedback in the minutes. After the meeting, you send the presentation and minutes to all TAC members.

Blue Sheet

The Blue Sheet is the only administrative record each PhD fellow must keep. It lists all training activities and conferences attended throughout the PhD phase, as well as the credits gained. PhD fellows should aim to obtain 18 ECTS throughout the PhD phase. The Blue Sheet is the basis for the final certificate. All details are discussed during the Blue Sheet Meeting for new members.

Fellows’ Assembly

The Fellows' Assembly is the annual organizational meeting of all fellows. During the assembly, the graduate school presents the plans and events for the coming year. The fellows also meet to elect their Fellow Speakers, who represent the interest of all fellows in the graduate school bodies (Executive Board, Admission Committee). The Fellows' Assembly is mandatory and lasts about two hours.

Guest Program

‘Semper apertus’ (always open) is the motto of Heidelberg University. HGS MathComp supports this by funding guest stays. Together with one of your supervisors, you can propose to invite a guest for a research stay or guest lecture.

  • Guest fellows:  Invite an external PhD student to join the research group for up to a month.
  • Guest researcher: Invite an external postdoc or professor to join the research group for up to a week. During their stay, the guest researcher should give a lecture or course at HGS MathComp.
  • Guest speaker (short-term): Invite an expert to give a lecture or course on a specific topic. This will be part of the HGS MathComp training program.

The funding for guests is limited to the costs of their stay in Heidelberg (accommodation and a daily allowance) and is subject to the guest regulations of Heidelberg University. Travel costs should be covered by the guest's home university. For guest speakers (short-term), an honorarium is possible.

In the application, the reasons for the invitation should be motivated (e.g. joint lab work, forthcoming joint publication, or exchange of research ideas). The duration of the stay should be closely linked to the reasons for the invitation. The application must be made with one of your supervisors to confirm the availability of office space for the guest.

To apply for guest funding, please submit the application form (log in with and your UniID password). We aim to support as many applications as our funding permits. Decisions on applications are made within six weeks of submission.

Membership Colloquium

During the Membership Colloquium, new HGS MathComp fellows present their PhD projects. All fellows and researchers are invited to join. Presenting at the Membership Colloquium is mandatory in order to become a full member; however, it is not part of the formal selection process.

Research Assistant (Hiwi)

The collaboration between you as a PhD student and undergraduate or Master’s students offers you the opportunity to do laboratory work faster and on a larger scale. You also learn how to work in small teams, distribute work, and advise students.

HGS MathComp offers research assistant (Hiwi) contracts to help PhD fellows with tasks directly related to their PhD project, such as running a series of numerical experiments, and programming support e.g. for GUI programming or parallelization, experimental lab work, or data studies. The duration is up to six months with up to 40 hours per month. The proposal must be made with the research group leader to authorize the use of lab and office space. A co-funding of 25% by the hosting research group is expected.

To apply for student assistant funds, please submit the application form (log in with and your UniID password). We aim to support as many applications as our funding permits. Decisions on applications are made within six weeks of submission.

Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

In addition to their thesis supervisor, PhD fellows select a second supervisor and two mentors to form the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). One supervisor and one mentor must be members of HGS MathComp.

The second supervisor is usually a professor from another research area. In interdisciplinary research projects, they usually represent the field of application while in highly disciplinary fields, we recommend that you choose someone from a complementary research area. The two supervisors are the central contacts for you to discuss research issues and plan the next steps in your PhD project.

We strongly encourage you to spend three to six months of the first PhD year in the second supervisor’s research group. Such a change of perspective helps to understand different research groups and alternative ways of conducting PhD projects.

The mentors are usually senior PhD students or postdocs from the groups of the two supervisors or an industry partner. The mentors support you with advice on day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, especially in the first year of the PhD phase. They act as guides, helping you get accustomed to the working group and organizational procedures, such as applying for computing accounts, planning your first conference visit, or finding material for your research project.

Travel grants

Attending conferences to present the results of one’s work is an important step in a young researcher’s career. In addition to the funding from the supervising group, HGS MathComp offers a funding scheme for conference attendance that each PhD fellow can apply for once during the PhD phase.

The application must be completed by the fellow and their first supervisor. The amount of the travel grant should not exceed € 1,000. A part of the funds can be provided as an advance payment. Co-financing with other sources is possible.

Please complete the application form to apply for a travel grant (log in with and your UniID password).

Please note that only complete applications will be accepted. We aim to support as many applications as our funding permits. Decisions on applications are made within six weeks of submission.