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Symposia & Retreats

The iGRAD Plant Retreat 2021 was held from October 6-8, 2021 with participation of the iGRAD-Plant fellows and faculty members at Jugendherberge Düsseldorf.

Additional guests in the afternoon session were faculty and PhD students from Michigan State University who joined via Zoom.

Speakers from MSU included Shin Han Shiu and Danny Ducat

See Program for details: Program 2021

The iGRAD-Plant Mini Symposium 2020 was held on September 29, 2020 at HHU Düsseldorf as an in-person / online hybrid event. Our new PhD students presented their work in front of their peers and project leaders for the first time. Due to current restrictions additional guest could participate in the talks online.


Meetings, Workshops and Events

Confocal Microscopy Workshop with CAi

November 24 - 26, 2021

Workshop on confocal microscopy by Sebastian Hänsch from the Center for Advanced Imaging (CAi) - organised by iGRAD-Plant fellows

10 participants in 3 groups


  • Theoretical and practical aspects, benefits & limitations of confocal imaging at CAi.
  • Focus on two confocal microscopes (Machines: Zeiss LSM880 & Leica TCS SP8) that are often used by plant researchers and that offer special options e.g. in terms of sensitivity and resolution.
  • Preparation of standard plant samples like infiltrated N. benthamiana leafs as demonstration object as well as mounting of protoplast samples.
  • Participants can prepare and use samples of interest.


Date: November 4, 9:30 am - 13:30 & November 5, 9:30 - 12:30  via Zoom.

At the HHU Career Day 2021, guests from different sectors will present their current jobs and employers and tell you how they got there. Get to know career opportunities outside the university, talk to speakers and like-minded people and get new impulses for your own career!

On top of that the HHU Career Day 2021 focuses on professional skills: learn more about desired competences and your own competence portfolio and how to communicate and use your skills successfully in the application process.

Please check the event website for more details on the program, our guest speakers and registration.

Get insights into different career paths and benefit from personal experiencs of our Alumni! 

There are plenty of career options for (plant) scientists and finding your personal career objectives is very challenging for most early career researchers. Therefore, we are very happy that Alumni of our programs are willing to share insights about their career with current PhD students and postdocs from our programs as part of our new career series.  The seminar series will take place from late August 2021 to mid-September 2021 on three Friday afternoons, approx. from 2-5 pm (online via Zoom).

Sessions & Speakers

August 27: Careers in Industry - R&D and consultancy

  • Dr. Panpan Jiang, Project Lead at BASF Vegetable Seeds, Netherlands, as of August 2021 scientific manager I product support at Bayer AG, Germany
  • Dr. Claire Lessa Alvim Kamei, Team Lead DNA Operations at Hudson River Biotechnology, Netherlands
  • Dr. Filipa Tomé, Innovation consultant at Innovayt A/S, Portugal
  • Dr. Felix Frey, Consultant, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, Germany

September 10: Careers in Academia:

  • Dr. Yang Bai, Principal investigator at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Dr. Sara Farrona, Principal investigator at the Plant & AgriBiosciences Centre (PABC), Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland
  • Prof. Dr. Maria von Korff Schmising, Full professor at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Dr. Peter K. Lundquist, Assistant professor at Michigan State University, USA

September 17: Careers in the Public sector - Research, education and data management & Technology Transfer

  • Dr. Silke Gerlich, Postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Simulation - Section Materials Data Science and Informatics (IAS-9) at Forschungszentrum Jülich & HMC (Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration); previously Coordinator at Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Bonn
  • Dr. Maida Romera Branchat, MSC Programme Coordinator at Münster University
  • Dr. Mara Schuler-Bermann, Start-up Advisor-Technology Scout, Saarland University
  • Dr. Antonella Succurro, Scientific Officer at the West German Genome Center (WGGC) and Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute, Bonn


All doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from the organizing institutions (CEPLAS, iGRAD-Plant, Max-Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research) are welcome to particiate. 

Registration via: https://www.ceplas.eu/en/training-careers/ceplas-courses-and-excursions/branch-out-alumni-career-series/ 


April 2021  &June/July 2021: PDP Workshop for the first cohort of iGRAD-plant fellows.

General Information about the PDP

The PDP (Personal Career Development Plan) is a 2-part career workshop organized by iGRAD, that guides the iGRAD-Plant fellows through their path of decision-taking about their career, in accordance with a thoroughly established list of identified personal strengths, interests and values. Some of the questions covered in the workshop are:

Which criteria are important for me in the choice of my future career? Which career paths are compatible with these criteria? What do I need to know now, if I intend to follow an academic career? Which interdisciplinary skills/qualifications are required for my intended career path? How can I coordinate my strategy for advanced professional education with my career choice? Where can I find relevant job vacancies and how do I read the advertisements? Where can I find useful advice and tips about applying for a position?

The PDP sessions are planned in the second year of the doctorate, in order to encourage iGRAD-Plant fellows to reflect at an early stage about their career and professional requirements, individual abilities and personal philosophies, critical for taking appropriate decisions about the personal career path.

The workshop consists of two parts and is planned for fixed groups. Participants are grouped by the iGRAD-Plant coordinator and informed by Email at an appropriate time before course starts.

From October 21 to November 29 the IRTG held a scientific workshop for the new members.  PIs introduced the new PhD students to their respective research area and methods. Additionally, national and international guest scientists contributed to the program.

Overview of topics and guest lecturers



On October 9, 2019 the official kick-off meeting of the new IRTG took place. Presenters included spokesperson Prof. Andreas Weber and the managing director of the iGRAD Dr. Christian Dumpitak. After the talks faculty members as well as old and new fellows had the chance to meet up for the first time.