Research Proposal Writing and Oral Defense Training

Elective course for students of chemistry, M.Sc. (winter term)

Research PROposal Writing and Oral DEFense Training is a freely elective course (module No. CH1209), aims to authentically train you by setting-up an authentic research-related environment. We want to foster your skills in critical paper reading, advanced scientific writing, communication and good scientific practice – all integrated into a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research area in chemistry. The basis of our program, the selected field of our cutting edge research must bridge disciplines and reach out beyond chemistry to physics, chemical engineering, bio and materials science. 

You might have different interests, motivations, skills and may soon choose, or already have chosen, your favorite field from a broad variety of excellent options. Wouldn´t it be great to experience transferrable skills training to further broaden your scientific competences? 

Guided by experienced researchers, you will assess scientific papers and develop ideas for a research proposal. At the end of the course, the participants will defend their ideas in a presentation. Admission will be allocated on a competitive basis by written application class will be limited to 20-24 members. We explicitly address interested participants across all sub-disciplines of chemistry

Structure and organization of PRODEF

Level 1. Overview & Preparation. Build up knowledge and analyzing state-of-the art literature while being coached by experts.

Level 2. Digestion & Reflection. Your activity in concise presentation and lively discussions are based on your selection of research papers, according to Level 1. At this stage, you will organize yourself in interdisciplinary teams.

Level 3. Interaction & Discussion with invited speakers and coaches (national and international) based on the previous training. Thus, Level 3 will prepare you for the final stage of PRODEF’s aims:

Level 4. Application. Coming up with your own original research ideas and condensing them into a relevant, credible and well-designed project plan is at the heart of the business in the scientific community. Think of raising funds for your international research stay from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), applying for a Ph.D. stipend or a post-doc fellowship (by DFG, AvH, Leopoldina, EU etc.), or composing a full-blown research project with a team of principle-investigators (PIs) for funding? Also consider the peer-review process, which must be involved as part of the decision making process: how can one identify the “best” proposals in order to secure limited fund and matching the standards of good scientific practice? PRODEF will put you on the map for team-work in proposal writing, oral defense, quality assessment and decision making. 


Interested? If so, great! To sign up, or for more information, please send an e-mail to: and

Link to the moodle page of PRODEF