Curriculum 2.0 and Supervision

Einstein Training Program

The ECN invests great care in organizing and evaluating structures, courses and projects to harmonize the existing training programs in Berlin to achieve a PhD eduation equal to the highest international standards and the ultimate goal to promote a strong collorative research and training landscape.

Our research program is characterized by unique collaboration and partnerships

The ECN is the central institution connecting its PhD students to partner programmes, such as, the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin (BCCN), the International Graduate Program Medical Neurosciences, and the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure. Our PhD Fellowship program offers selected students the opportunity to train in an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment and become experts in neuroscience research and related disciplines. While the first cohorts already graduated, we used their experiences to improve our curriculum to make a better fit for the needs of today´s PhD students.

The combination of the ECN curriculum and courses offered by our partner institutions allows students the interdisciplinary study of neuroscientific disciplines (such as anatomy, physiology, cell biology, computation, pharmacology and philosophy). Learning about the research questions and methodologies of different scientific fields will help students generate their own curriculum and pursue their individual research focus and career plans.

The goal of the core curriculum is to provide a common foundation, so that all students have a strong knowledge base and a common language across the breadth of Neuroscience, which is a highly diverse and multidisciplinary field.

Overview over the Einstein Training Program of three years. Scientific workshops and lectures of our partners are not included. An entry into the program is possible anytime but recommended in May or September.

For more information click on the topics below:

Conferences & Meetings

Every year in the beginning of October, the Berlin Neuroscience Meeting takes place. The BNM is a two-day long conference bringing together Berlin's neuroscientists and renowned international speakers.

For ECN PhD students it is mandatory to attend twice during their PhD.


Starting in 2024, the ECN holds a one-day internal symposium called 'Frühlingsfest' ('spring celebration') during which senior PhD students can present their research to their co-fellows and students of all cohorts can meet and interact with each other.

For ECN PhD students it is mandatory to attend once during their PhD.


All PhD fellows can participate in the annual ECN retreat. These retreats are usually three to four days long and give the students the possibility to interact with each other, discuss their research and educate themselves with self-chosen topics. Students in their second year of their PhD projects organize these retreats.

It is voluntary to attend.

List of previous retreats:

2019 – Szczecin, Poland
2020 – Landgut Stober, Brandenburg
2021 – Warnemünde, Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania
2022 – Pirna, Saxony
2023 – Lübben, Spreewald, Brandenburg


The ECN and their partners offer a variety of topics to complete the research profiles of the PhD students.


Clinical Neuroscience (Mondays, winter term)

This lecture series is devoted to clinical manifestations of pathophysiological changes in the nervous system. Many lectures are given by active Charité clinicians and frequently illustrated by case presentations.

Participation voluntary.


Cognitive Neuroscience (Mondays, winter term)

The cognitive neurosciences are focused on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying human cognition, such as perception, attention, memory, language, decision-making, and consciousness. Key challenges include developing better tools and techniques to study the complex interactions between brain structure, function, and cognitive processes in order to advance our knowledge of the biological basis of the mind.

Participation voluntary.


ECN Lectures (monthly)

This lecture series comprises the implementation of new research methods, PhD project presentations by senior ECN fellows, Fuck Up Nights, and interesting stories from ECN alumnae and alumni.

The participation for ECN fellows is mandatory five times during their PhD.


Global Challenges in the Neurosciences (monthly)

Climate change, increasing age in humans, and growing urbanization are only some of the obstacles which increase the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases and decrease their onset. Learn how this affects your research and get first ideas to address these issues.

Participation voluntary.


History of Neurosciences (bi-monthly)

Learn how single experiments and disputs between scientists have shaped the field of today's neurosciences.

Participation voluntary.


Philosophy of Mind (weekly, winter term)

Professor Michael Pauen from the Berlin School of Mind and Brain introduces basic philosophical concepts and the Theory of Mind.

Participation voluntary.


Sex & Gender in Neurosciences (bi-monthly)

The neurosciences are grappling with how to better incorporate considerations of sex and gender into research, as these factors can have significant impacts on brain structure, function, and susceptibility to neurological and psychiatric disorders and manifestation of these disorders. Researchers are working to move beyond simplistic binary categorizations of sex and gender, and instead embrace the complex, multidimensional nature of these variables and how they dynamically interact with the development and functioning of the nervous system.

Participation voluntary.


Winter School 'Ethics of Neurosciences and AI' (every February)

Every year in February, BCCN and Mind & Brain organize the Winter School 'Ethics of Neurosciences and AI'. The Berlin-based and international speakers cover the theoretical foundations as well as practical and ethical aspects of neuroenhancements.

The participation for ECN fellows is mandatory once during their PhD.



Advanced statistics (weekly, winter term)

Statistical methods and applications which are commonly not taught in BSc or MSc programs will be covered here. To stay close to the needs of our students, the methods most wanted are regularly surveyed and compentent docents will be invited.

Participation voluntary.


Programming with Python (weekly)

In our 2019 survey about the future use of programming languages in the neurosciences over 80% of the participating ECN Principal Investigators answered: Python. Therefore, the ECN offers Python programming courses for beginners and advanced users.

Participation mandatory for ECN fellows without programming skills.


Improving (your) science (weekly)

The ECN wants to help PhD students not only to conduct their experiments in respect to Good Scientific Practice but make the most of their science. Developed with the BIH QUEST Center, this yearly course prepares PhD students for their upcoming research projects by covering topics such as experimental planning, smart analysis strategies, open science and how to establish one’s profile on the international neuroscientific stage.

Participation voluntary.


Student-driven seminar series (irregularly)

The Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure and the ECN sponsor every year up to five seminar series for specialized neuroscientific topics. PhD students and postdocs of Berlin-based workgroups receive a budget to invite international speakers for talks and to network.

Participation voluntary.

In 2024 take place:

  • Circuits Club Berlin
  • Enlightening Neuroscience: Optogenetics from green algae to the brain
  • Neural Mechanisms of Psychedelic Drug Action
  • Rethinking Synapses: Aspects of synaptic complexity and diversity
  • Rhythms of the Mind – From Theory to Bench and Bedside



ReproducibiliTeach (yearly, part I in June, part II in September)

In this joint course offered by the BIH-QUEST Center and the Cluster of Excellence NeuroCure ECN fellows learn how to make their research more robust and transparent. This flipped-classroom course contains online material about the use of reporting guidelines, risk of bias measures, research resource identifiers, study flow charts, method reproducibility etc. In five additional on-site sessions will the learned knowledge deepened.

This course is voluntary.

More information here.


Project management in academia (every December)

New, time limited and complex – such are the tasks generally undertaken as projects. A work environment without project work is almost unimaginable nowadays. And this is not only true for the non-academic sector: Even the doctorate is a project!

Proven project management tools pave the way for the professional development and planning of projects, for competent guiding of their implementation and for their successful completion. With the help of these tools even difficult steps in the project journey can be safely navigated.

A participation in the workshop 'Time management in academia' is recommended but not required. Participation in this one-day event is recommended for PhD students in their first year.


Time management in academia (every December)

Teaching, part time work, professional development, private arrangements and not last but least the thesis: Time pressure results in many things only being half done. In the end there is not enough time for the important tasks and you are left with the uncomfortable feeling of again not having managed everything.
It is however not difficult to improve dealing with the personal time budget. Through the implementation of established time management methods, individual disturbances can be minimized, priorities can be set and planning horizons can be determined in order to make the own work more effective.
During this workshop the participants learn the fundamentals of time management and deal mainly with the following topics: basics of time management, efficiency versus effectiveness, structuring your time, strategies for dealing with the unplannable and many more.

A participation in this one-day workshop 'Project management in academia' is recommended but not required. Participation in this one-day event is recommended for PhD students in their first year.


Students choice (yearly)

Once per year, all ECN fellows can decide on a topic of their choice and the ECN office will book a workshop on that topic. More information will be provided by the ECN Student Representatives.


Tackling obstacles

Finalize a PhD project with success is not only a question of personal excellence. Tackling all the obstacles on the way to disputation is maybe of similar importance. Therefore, the ECN offers a variety of workshops helping PhD students to solve conflicts and making them more resilient towards non-supporting environments.

If these workshops are not sufficient please check out the ECN support for mental health!


Conflict management (once per year)

Doctoral students and post-docs may encounter a variety of conflicts that typically arise in the academic environment. Frequent conflict situations are, for example, disagreements with the supervisor about publication strategy, authorship, the interpretation of data or the level of support. Conflicts may arise with colleagues due to the shared use of workstations and materials. Personal stressors that often go hand in hand with research work, such as pressure to perform, fear of the future, imposter syndrome, etc. can also trigger conflicts in the personal environment due to a lack of balance.

The aims of the conflict management workshop are therefore i) to promote an understanding of the nature of conflict in an academic context, ii) to impart knowledge about theories and models of conflict (e.g. according to Glasl), iii) reflection on one's own conflict style and iv) strategies for constructive conflict management.

This one-day workshop is voluntary.


Navigating power dynamics in academia (once per year)

Universities and other research institutes are most often organized hierarchical. Without proper codes of conducts are several possibilities that people higher up in hierarchy misuse their position against those who in a less powerful position. In this workshop PhD students learn what kinds of misuse exist and give them first tools to break out of situations in which abuse occur.

This one-day workshop is mandatory.


Strengthening Resilience (once per year)

Especially in science, setbacks in careers are common due to aspects such as negative peer reviews, failed experiments and rejected experiments and rejected applications in the career. The aims of the resilience workshop are therefore to i) strengthening individual resilience, ii) promoting collective exchange and mutual support and iii) developing practical strategies for coping with stress and setbacks.

This one-day workshop is voluntary.


Tackling current challenges (once per year)

We want to give young PhD students the opportunity to reflect on their personal challenges that the are facing during their PhD time. And to gain helpful insights and advice. We set up a day of team work, personal reflection time and outside perspectives. In the team work sessions the students could interactively explore the diversity of answers to personal questions. Afterwards, they prioritize the most important answers, individually. In between these sessions, there will be a panel discussion. Here, you could discuss personal questions with experienced scientists.

This one-day workshop is voluntary.

Career Development

The ECN wants to give all fellows the best chances to start a career of their choice immediately after finishing their PhD. Therefore, we not only work together with the Career Development Initiative but also offer workshops helping them to use our Individual Development Plan and find a career which fits their needs.


Meaningful decisions (once per year)

In this workshop ECN students are supported to take meaningful decisions regarding their career path and the design of their life. ECN students will reflect and discuss their visions, values and needs and try out tools that help them taking a decision.

This one-day workshop is recommended for PhD students in the midst of their PhD project.


Life after PhD - Developing your career path (once per year)

In this interactive workshop ECN students delve into career paths and prospects in Germany – inside and outside of academia. Through reflection on personal values and motivations, identification of individual skills and strengths, ECN students are guided in discovering career options that align with their interests. Additionally, they get insights on enhancing visibility and networking both within academia and in other sectors.

This one-day workshop is recommended for PhD students at the end of their PhD project.



ECN fellows are allowed to book courses at the Dahlem Research School and the Humboldt Graduate School. The costs for the participation in these courses are covered by the ECN.

Additional courses can be found at our partner programs:

Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin
International Graduate Program Medical Neurosciences


Supervision via PhD Committees

During the PhD period of study, about three years, ECN PhD fellows will maintain a close relationship with their supervisor and their PhD committee. Students will continue to meet regularly with the supervisor and the PhD committee to ensure progress towards successful completion of thesis research. The aim is to support the student in every possible way with their research while securing a high quality of supervision. The first meeting will take place shortly after the student has settled into his or her selected laboratory after the rotation period.

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.

Postal Address

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin
Charitéplatz 1
D-10117 Berlin

Campus Address

Charité Campus Mitte
Neuroscience Research Center
Hufelandweg 14
Level 01, room 020

Get in touch

You can find contact persons and telephone numbers on our contact page

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