Team Leader of Office of Doctoral Studies
I work in Luxembourg since 2009 (and already did so some months in 1992) after having worked in Germany, France, Belgium, England and the USA. When moving back from the UK to Germany in 2009, I was looking for an interesting job where I could benefit from an international atmosphere. I currently live in Trier, Germany, and speak German, French and English fluently and some Luxembourgish and a bit of Spanish.
I am the team leader of the Office of Doctoral Studies (Bureau des études doctorales / BED). We facilitate, as much as possible, the entire lifecycle of our 1000 doctoral candidates, in the midst of many administrative steps. My office is a central service point for all procedures and communication (application for acceptance of a PhD student, reports, recommendations, request for defense, cotutelle management, etc.) related to the path of a doctoral student. In addition, one of my team members is responsible for the transferable skills course offer.
We are thus a central contact point for doctoral candidates, supervisors, CET members, but also other UL services (HR, SEVE, legal office, IT…) and external stakeholders (the Luxembourg Research Institutes, for instance).
Sometimes we also have to act as mediator or counselor, of course in strictest confidence. Even if we cannot resolve every problem, we can in most cases redirect the doctoral candidates in the right direction.
On a daily basis, we work closely together with the 4 Doctoral Schools who ensure the “academic-related” support of the doctoral candidates. A huge project was the migration of our data into a new database, which we accomplished during 2020 (in spite of the pandemic, due to great team efforts and excellent IT support). This is still work in progress, but we now have a solid database for most of our processes.
An additional task is the management of the University’s “ADR procedure” (this means “autorisation à diriger des recherches” – the right so supervise doctoral candidates). While our professors all have this right automatically, other persons can request this right, and we established a robust procedure in collaboration with the Doctoral Schools.
Last but not least, there are some events which I co-organise each year: The National PhD Welcome Day (with external partners: FNR, LIST, LISER, LIH, MPI, Research Luxembourg; the doctoral associations and of course EURAXESS) is a perfect occasion for new doctoral candidates to get to know each other, socialize and get an insight in procedures and stakeholders of doctoral education. The PhD graduation ceremony takes place each year in December (unless we have a pandemic…) and is a wonderful occasion to celebrate with the new graduates.
What do you like most about your job?
It is a great pleasure to support young researchers to accomplish their doctorate.
What does a typical day look for you?
It is hard to describe a typical day, as each day is really different… First thing in the morning is to check emails (regretfully too many…) and to make a list of priorities (which is however regularly turned over by some urgent things which happen each day…). During the day there are some meetings, phone calls, other exchanges with the team and other colleagues. I always try to take a real lunch break and walk a bit in the fresh air.
What makes doing research in Luxembourg special?
The multilingual environment and the influences from so many different cultures.
Which is your favorite place in Luxembourg?
Clervaux – family of man exhibition and the castle; Manternacher Fiels /hiking tour
What would you miss most when leaving Luxembourg?
Bamkuch, and the Philharmonie
What’s your advice for a newcomer to Luxembourg?
Try to learn Luxembourgish :-)
What is your favourite thing to do in Luxembourg?
Hiking! There are so many great places to go for walk, and have a nice coffee/meal afterwards in a friendly place.
What was your best experience in Luxembourg?
Meeting many interesting people from all over the world.