Reported experiences of PhD students

Marlene Arens

Dissertation: Technological change and industrial energy efficiency – exploring the low-carbon transformation of the German iron and steel industry (University Utrecht, Netherlands)

Doing a PhD at Fraunhofer ISI means being very hands-on. During the first year, you get to look at different projects and find your own topic and mentor. The topics mainly concern what can happen, what should happen, and how to achieve this. Once you have overcome the first hurdle of finding a dissertation topic and mentor, you spend the next three years working on your dissertation and other projects. In the best-case scenario, these have something in common. If not, you are still working on interesting and future-oriented projects for politics or industry, sometimes for both at the same time. In any case, you are in an inspiring, friendly and supportive environment! At the end, when you are holding your PhD in your hand, you will look back over four years full of ideas, results and great colleagues!  

Hendrik Berghäuser

Dissertation: Die Dritte Mission von Hochschulen in Deutschland: Strategie oder window dressing? / The third mission of universities in Germany: Strategy or window dressing? (Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften Speyer)

I came to Fraunhofer ISI in 2013 after completing my degree in politics and economics, and worked as a research assistant in the Competence Center Policy and Society for two years to get to know different topics and projects. In 2015, I switched to a PhD contract. In my thesis, I examined the societal role of universities in the German innovation system. Even if it wasn't always easy to balance project work and my PhD, I believe a doctoral student at Fraunhofer ISI benefits greatly from being involved in different applied research and service projects, the insights into a wide range of topics and from working together with diverse stakeholders from politics, academia and industry.