Working at the DWI
The DWI is a research institute that takes on the challenge of surpassing disciplinary limits and tackling new questions relating to substances and materials that combine technology and nature. It is a location at which people with different talents, experiences and skills work together, in order to learn from one another and generate new knowledge and new methods to create a better quality of life in our world.
When it comes to the daily interaction of all employees, the following points are particularly important:
- We see it as a great privilege to be able to work towards this goal
- Our efforts are directed towards our aspiration to create something truly new
- We concentrate on those projects that are important to our goals and have the potential to bring about real progress
- When carrying out these projects, we aim for outstanding achievements in accordance with the highest global standards.
- We believe that our cooperation and mutual support enable us to achieve more than other organizations.
Equal Opportunity and Diversity
All members of the institute are valued, regardless of gender, age, disability, nationality, origin, sexual orientation, identity, religion or beliefs. The DWI enables an inclusive working environment in which acceptance and mutual trust are part of the organizational culture.
Equal opportunities for men and women and compatibility between family life and professional life are particularly important matters for the DWI. To this end, the institute supports the goals of the Leibniz Association for equal opportunities and has committed to comply with the “Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality” introduced by the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).
The success of research institutes is highly dependent on both young and experienced scientists being able to perform research at the highest level. That is why an intrinsic personnel development concept encourages both the retention of knowledge and experience as well as the renewal of personnel, in order to establish new approaches.
Personnel development is a strategic and long-term task for the DWI, and covers all measures relating to the education, advancement and development of employees and teams, as well as guidance on organizational change processes. In the DWI, personnel development is a central, employee-relating task, which also takes strategic development goals and associated personnel planning into account. Personnel development is concerned with the demonstration and shaping of development paths and career paths for scientists and support staff and much more.
Supporting Young Scientists
Helping young scientists to pursue a career in science or other societal fields, such as the economy, is vitally important in the DWI. In cooperation with the university, many of those working at the DWI are able to gain a promotion by completing specific assignments. They then receive positions at the company, begin an academic career, move into self-employment or continue to develop their careers in the DWI. The DWI supports and enables all of these career paths by providing specialist training opportunities. For doctoral candidates, a wide range of opportunities are available from the Center for Doctoral Studies (CDS) at RWTH Aachen University, along with internal qualification and support programs, such as the mentoring program (structured interdisciplinary graduate program). The DWI is involved in a wide range research training groups that are linked to the university. As a partner of the “Max Planck School Matter to Life”, the DWI offers especially talented and motivated students a unique training program, which provides solid basic and methodological knowledge, as well as knowledge about the specific research approaches in the future-oriented field of the construction of processes and systems that replicate those present in natural life. In doing so, the DWI makes a significant contribution to the high-quality qualification of young people in Germany’s economy and research landscape. This is not just true for scientific employees, but for the employees in all fields of activity.
Instruments and measures aimed at developing interdisciplinary competence (e.g. project management) are offered and implemented for the target group of scientists. These include advanced training on ethical questions concerning topics such as “good scientific practice” or research into cultural responsibility.
The following career paths are possible in the DWI:
- Remain in DWI as a Senior Scientist, with permanent responsibility for a subject or in the field of science management/administration
- Switch to the private sector, equipped with additional qualification in fields such as project management, acquisition and research management
- Found a spinoff based on a product, process or service developed as part of research activities in the DWI
- Pursue an academic career, building on a promotion or research activities in the DWI.
Setting up an independent junior group with budget responsibility is an important instrument for supporting successful university careers. DWI supports university careers for outstanding talents via the tenure track program. With this program, the DWI can provide partial or full funding for a joint professorship. The Higher Education Act of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia permits promotion to a permanent professorship within the course of a fixed-term professorship through a continuation option. In its Appointment Guidelines, RWTH Aachen University sets out precise rules for a tenure track position. For leaders of junior groups that have performed particularly well, the possibility of continuation via a professorship can be evaluated.
Reliable prospects are an important criteria for scientists when it comes to making career decisions. That is why the DWI supports the participation of excellent female professors in the “Leibniz Programme for Women Professors”, which features a tenure track option.
Science Support Staff
Science support staff refers to employees working in the fields of administration and technology. The fields of activity that support staff work in are incredibly diverse. By performing this work, support staff reduce the load placed on scientists for a wide range of administrative and operational tasks, and help to organize structures and processes. The support staff also provide information services, consulting services and other services for researchers and students. In order to perform these tasks, the employees must have extensive technical expertise, which must also keep pace with the ever-changing requirements of today’s society.
Therefore, the continuous adjustment of personnel in line with new developments in the relevant areas and research-specific qualifications are crucially important. Professional development takes place both at the workplace itself and also as a result of participating in internal and external training events. It should help to improve an employee’s professional capability and also open up new prospects for professional development.
The fields of administration and technology, there are generally two different career paths. The first is the path to become a technical team leader and the second is the path to become a specialist, e.g. for particular analytical methods.
The DWI participates in Germany’s dual system of vocational education and training and works closely with RWTH Aachen University. Each year, ten trainees in the field of chemistry are supported and trained, and since 2016, this has also been expanded to include administrative trainees.