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Doctorate Process in Transition

The process of attaining a doctorate is undergoing changes. This is evident in the most recent developments in higher education and the discussions going on in Germany about the right of technical colleges to award doctorates or the establishment of EU wide standards. Questions regarding the status of the doctoral dissertation and the title itself, and about assurances of quality and institutional framework conditions, have not been adequately answered.

What is the roll of a doctorate in Germany for an individual’s career and for the science system as a whole? The classic “doctoral research” still serves as the prerequisite for an early-stage scientist’s academic career. In many disciplines, however, this has now changed into a career qualifying degree both within and outside of the area of research. Moreover, the adherence to ethical and scientific standards has notably become part of the public debate surrounding the plagiarism scandals. 

What provisions should be continued to assure a doctorate’s quality, which should be reformed and which should be newly formulated? The working group is developing recommendations for ways that a doctorate in Germany can best engage with the future.


  • Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities / Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig (SAW) (responsible)
  • German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • acatech - German Academy of Science and Engineering

Spokesperson of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer
    Universität Leipzig, Präsident der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig

Members of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Walter Berka
    Allgemeine Staatslehre, Verwaltungslehre, Verfassungs- und Verwaltungsrecht, Universität Salzburg
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Hornbostel
    Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, HU Berlin; Institut für Forschungsinformation und Qualitätssicherung (iFQ), Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Reinhard F. Hüttl
    Lehrstuhl für Bodenschutz und Rekultivierung, BTU Cottbus; Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam; President acatech
  • Prof. Dr. Katharina Kohse-Höinghaus ML
    Fakultät für Chemie, Universität Bielefeld
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil Edwin Kreuzer
    Institut für Mechanik und Meerestechnik, TU Hamburg-Harburg, President of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg
  • Prof. Dr. Martin J. Lohse ML
    Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität Würzburg
  • Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno
    Rektor der Universität Basel
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mittelstraß ML
    Konstanzer Wissenschaftsforum, Universität Konstanz
  • Prof. Dr. Peer Pasternack
    Institut für Hochschulforschung (HoF), Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Prof. Dr. Gertrud Zwicknagl
    Institut für Mathematische Physik,TU Braunschweig
  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Irmgard Stangl ML (assoziiert)
    Institut für Agrar- und Ernährungswissenschaften, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

ML = Member of the Leopoldina



Dr. Constanze Breuer

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 872
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 839
E-Mail constanze.breuer @leopoldina.org