The education and promotion of young researchers is a key aspect and ingredient for the successful operation of the cluster of excellence. Substantial parts of the scientific work are performed by researchers at early stages of their careers. In particular PhD students and postdocs represent the driving force and backbone of modern scientific developments due to their impartiality, fresh views, and enthusiasm.
A prerequisite for world-class research by young scientists is an excellent educational programme on all relevant aspects of scientific inquiry, including training in experiment and theory. A specific feature and challenge of the cluster of excellence is its pronounced interdisciplinary nature requiring not only the already comprehensive expertise of a single well-defined field, but also that of several cross-linked research areas. Even more challenging, working at the interface of two fields such as photonics and biomolecular dynamics, requires the combination and merging of different concepts. This endeavour is typically accompanied by new insights and synergetic effects due to the inherently different viewpoints of the previously separate fields. As a consequence of the above, strong interdisciplinary training is required, that takes into account and interrelates the specific aspects of each area relevant to the corresponding field of research.
The graduate school of the cluster of excellence offers excellent research and training opportunities for young researchers including a dedicated career planning. All PhD students of the cluster of excellence are automatically members of the graduate school and enjoy the many advantages of it. This includes not only the interdisciplinary course programme, but also the possibilities to apply for funds, in order to visit conferences and workshops or go on collaborative visits to renown institutes.
Students can organize their own schools using funds from the cluster of excellence and profit from various student activities and events such as graduate days. Training is provided both with respect to the corresponding research work and also with respect to personal and professional skills. Colloquia and a rich guest programme of internationally leading experts complement not only the educational and training programme, but offer in particular the unique opportunity to learn about the most recent developments in the corresponding fields at first hand.
Excellent researchers need excellent facilities if they are to push forward the frontiers of knowledge. The cluster of excellence has built a world class infrastructure which offers the PhD students and postdocs a unique research environment. This ranges from large scale facilities like Petra III and FLASH as well as the forthcoming European XFEL to state-of-the-art tabletop experiments addressing a variety of different scientific questions. It also includes large scale computational facilities. Theory and experiment closely interact in order to advance our knowledge and expertise on some of the intriguing questions of modern science. The centre operates across the traditional disciplines physics, chemistry and biology and combines the best of these three worlds.