Educational aim of the CCRC RTG

The overall educational aim of this RTG is to train highly talented PhD/MD students in cardiovascular science as a prelude to producing the next generation of researchers and clinicians in this important area. To this end, one of our specific training goals is for PhD/MD students to complete their research within a three- to four-year time frame with a first author double-digit impact factor publication while receiving a top-level scientific education and appropriate career development training. All PI´s make a commitment that they will provide funding for PhD/MD students after a period of three years. In case of any difficulties, the Medical Faculty will provide funding after the three-year period until completion of the thesis in individual cases. In addition, the Medical Faculty will provide rotating positions for MD´s (up to 3 per funding period) to relieve research-oriented MD´s from their clinical duties and facilitate their admission into the CCRC MD/PhD program. A unique aspect of this new RTG program is the basic research mechanism-focused approach and the close link to the clinical setting at the UoC Heart Center and beyond. Our vision is that the proposed RTG program will provide an innovative and interdisciplinary education for our PhD/MD students by integrating cutting-edge research projects with collaborative supervision complemented by a structured training program – all of which will be hosted within a firmly established network of researchers and clinicians and outstanding facilities and support services (see below). This new RTG will be run by a dedicated part-time coordinator and each PI taking a CCRC RTG student will provide three years’ of guaranteed funding.

To achieve the educational aim and to ensure a structured, high-level, and quality-controlled scientific education as well as a successful completion of the PhD/MD research projects, there is a core curriculum of the RTG, which intends to

  • (1) give students the opportunity to find the topic for their thesis which best suits their main interest,
  • (2) optimally promote their research and education, and
  • (3) ensure their development in a framework and schedule that helps them to keep track of their scientific achievements, but make necessary adjustments within their research projects (Table 1).

CCRC-specific activities and training modules

The following activities and training modules have already been established at the UoC and will form part of the structured educational program of the CCRC RTG’s core curriculum.

  • Regular mentoring and support within the CCRC research groups
  • Annual 2-day CCRC RTG retreat
  • Lab rotations (optional)
  • 2-day clinical setting stay ("Clinical Insights in Cardiovascular Medicine")
  • Bi-annual 2-day "Cologne Conference on Cardiovascular Disease"

General training activities and modules offered by the IPMM and GSfBS

  • Soft skill communication workshops and career development training
  • The global job market and experience exchange
  • Methods learning workshops
  • Training structures at the UoC Campus