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FAQ X-Student Research Groups

Questions about the application process

No, this is not possible in the initial application. At first, an X-Student Research Group runs for one semester. However, an extension for another semester can be applied for later. This application is informal, i.e. it is a simple request to the StuROPx coordination office. Whether an additional semester can be granted depends on the funds available in the respective funding year.

Yes, this is possible. In this case, please indicate all applicants in the online application form.

Please note: The funding covers only one teaching assignment (2 SWS, 35 hours). However, you can of course divide the hours among yourselves (17.5 hours per person) or you divide the payment after the end of the semester. And all applicants can of course participate in the qualification program.

Yes, that’s possible. However, one prerequisite is that they can prove a connection to one of the four partners of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité), e.g., if you are doing your PhD at one of the four partners, if there is a collaboration, or if there is another connection.

Please note: You must document the institutional link. Like the applicants from the partners of the Berlin University Alliance, you indicate the affiliation on the one hand in the online application form. On the other hand, please fill out the institutional affiliation form.

Yes, this is possible. Inter-institutional projects, especially between the partners of the Berlin University Alliance, are always welcome.

Yes, this is possible. Interdisciplinary projects are always welcome.

No, collaborations are not a requirement. However, collaborative projects, especially transdisciplinary projects, are always welcomed.

It is up to you to decide to which project from your current research you want to link your X-Student Research Group. A DFG project is not preferred compared to projects of PhD students. The important thing is that you can work on one aspect of the project with a group of students, that this aspect is interesting for the students and gives them the opportunity to contribute their own ideas.

The X-Student Research Group is offered as a course at the institute you have indicated in the institutional affiliation in the application form. The professor confirms with his or her signature that he or she will support you in booking a seminar room, grant the use of '(laboratory) technology, if applicable, and provide access to set up a course on a teaching platform, if applicable.

You can apply for an X-Student Research Groups twice a year. In each semester there is a Call for Proposals for the following semester.

Questions about the teaching assignment

As of the winter semester 2022-23, 35 hours at 40.31 euros each will be billed for the teaching assignment. You will thus receive a one-time payment of 1,410.85 euros at the end of the semester.

The teaching assignment is paid for 35 hours at 38.38 euros each. At the end of the semester, you will receive about 1,340 euros.

All junior researchers who offer an X-Student Research Group receive a teaching assignment from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, regardless of whether you are employed at another university or whether you offer your Group at another university.

At this point in time, it is unfortunately not (yet) possible to credit an X-Student Research Group within your existing teaching obligations.

Questions about material or travel funds

The calculation does not necessarily have to be very detailed. However, it must be plausible. Both the StuROPx coordinating office and the reviewers must be able to understand why and for what purpose you need which funds.

Yes, but it would be nice if you would visit the conference together with a group of students.

There are two ways to account for your material or travel funds:

(1) Invoice: You have an invoice issued to you, i.e. you purchase equipment or software, for example, and have an invoice issued for it. You forward this invoice to the StuROPx Coordination Office, which will initiate payment of the outstanding amount.

(2) Reimbursement request (in exceptional cases): you make an advance payment, i.e., you purchase equipment or software, for example, and pay for it yourself first. Then you submit a reimbursement request to the StuROPx coordination office.

Successful applicants will receive further information on the exact procedure for the accounting for material and travel funds at the beginning of the project.

No, the material or travel funds are not provided to the projects as a fixed sum. The funds must be accounted for.

Questions about the course type

The X stands for excellence.

X-Student Research Groups are led by junior researchers. X-Tutorials are led by undergraduate students.

The course type according to the capacity regulation is a teaching research project (“Lehrforschungsprojekt”).

The StuROPx courses are low-capacity in the sense that they are primarily taken into account only in the extracurricular area, if applicable. In the case of clear references to modules of subject-specific study and examination regulations, however, capacity effectiveness cannot be ruled out in individual cases.

It is up to you to decide whether you conduct the X-Student Research Group digitally, in a seminar room or in a hybrid format according to your didactic concept for the research seminar [for Tuts: research tutorial]. When planning your X-Student Research Group, please take into account the current pandemic situation and the current protection and hygiene regulations of the institution at which you are offering your X-Student Research Group as a course.

Questions about conducting the X-Student Research Group

No, the entry in the course catalog is made by the BUA Office for Teaching and Learning. The X-Student Research Groups are announced as BUA courses of the respective university that offers them, they are not assigned to a study program. Successful applicants will receive further information in the context of the funding information.

Please contact the institute/department to which your X-Student Research Group is institutionally affiliated for room booking. The professor who signed the application form for institutional affiliation can probably support you here. The professor has agreed to support you in this context with his or her signature.

In any case, it is important that you tackle the question of room booking early on, i.e. ideally as soon as you have received your funding commitment.

Please use the platform that is used at the university where your X-Student Research Group is institutionally affiliated (Moodle, Isis-Moodle or Blackbord). You may need assistance from the institute/department at which your X-Student Research Group is professionally supervised to set up a course. Participants who are enrolled at another partner institution will also have access to this platform as BUA students.

Questions about participating students

Formally speaking, X-Student Research Groups are teaching research projects (“Lehrforschungsprojekte”). According to capacity regulations, a maximum of 15 students can participate in this course type. Should more than 15 students wish to participate in your Group, the decision will be made on a random basis. In order to avoid role conflicts, this random procedure is taken over by the StuROPx coordinating office.

For the course to take place, a minimum of 3 students should participate.

Students from all partners of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité) can participate in an X-Student Research Group. Participation is possible from all subjects and for both BA and MA students.

As the research group leader of an X-Student Research Group, you cannot define any admission requirements. Nevertheless, it is possible that you make clear in the description of your group (e.g. in the course catalog) for which student groups your Group is more or less eligible. We recommend that you already think about this when submitting your application and reflect on possible student groups in your project outline (e.g., stage of study, subject background, prior knowledge).

The X-Student Research Groups are primarily intended for students from the four partners of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité). However, if there are still places available, students from other universities are of course welcome to participate.

The X-Student Research Groups are announced by the StuROPx coordination office across the four partners (Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité) of the Berlin University Alliance (general student mailing lists, newsletters) and are also included in the course catalogs of the partners. However, we strongly recommend that you also advertise your Group yourself. You know best for which student groups of the four partners your project might be of special interest. Good possibilities here are, for example, the email distribution lists of the student councils, of the individual institutes or faculties.

If students are interested in participating in an X-Student Research Group, they can sign up for it. Please refer to the further instructions for this registration process.

In coordination with the AG BUA Students, a separate module was developed for the X-Student Research Groups. For their participation in an X-Student Research Group, students receive 6 credit points. These are creditable in the interdisciplinary or extracurricular area (üWP/Freie Wahl/ABV/Wahlpflicht) study area. This module also specifies what students must achieve in order to successfully complete the module. We will be happy to inform you about this in more detail once your X-Student Research Group has been approved.

In addition, there is the possibility of credit for other structural areas in Bachelor's and Master's programs Students should clarify this possibility themselves with their examination office. 

No, students do not have to take any exams.

Yes, they can. However, students must then clarify everything else themselves (or with your support) with their respective examination office.

Questions about the qualification program

Before the semester begins, the qualification program starts with a kick-off meeting to clarify organizational issues as well as a two-day workshop on research-based learning and preparing the didactic implementation of your project. During the semester, two further meetings take place to exchange didactical questions and to prepare the end of the semester. The semester ends with a final workshop where the results of the projects are briefly presented and reflected upon. 

The qualification program will take place in a digital format and on the campus of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Berlin Mitte.

Questions about the Berlin Conference for Student Research

The results will be presented by the students participating in your X-Student Research Group. Ideally, of course, you will be there as well.

Usually, the results are presented in the form of short talks or as a poster presentation. However, other forms are also conceivable (e.g. exhibitions, video or audio formats), but must then be discussed with the program committee in advance.

The conference is held once a year in September.

That is not a problem. You can present interim results or, if you wish, describe initial ideas for your project.

Questions about the selection process

The proposals are reviewed by a specially established selection jury. The selection jury consists of 40 reviewers. They are distributed equally among the four partners of the alliance and take into account the different status groups (16 professors, 12 research assistants and 12 students). In addition, a balanced gender ratio and a diversity of disciplines among the members were taken into account in the composition of the jury.

The selection jury reviews the proposals on the basis of a set of criteria. Points are awarded for each criterion.

No, the review criteria are not published. However, they are implicitly included in the instructions for the project outline. So we strongly recommend that you read these instructions and consider them in your application.

An overall score is determined for each proposal. For each proposal, the points of the different reviewers are added up. Those proposals that have scored the highest number of points will be recommended for funding.

The selection jury makes a funding recommendation based on the points awarded. This recommendation is forwarded to the Steering Committee "Teaching and Learning" which makes the final funding decision.

Applicants are - in general - informed about the (non-) funding of their application in about ten to twelve weeks after the submission deadline.

16 X-Student Research Groups will be selected and funded per Call for Proposals. Due to the available funds, more Groups cannot be funded or can only be funded in exceptional cases, i.e. if remaining funds are available in the respective funding year.