The “Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC)” at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena is an Excellence Graduate School with a broad network of scientists from a variety of natural & life sciences disciplines. The JSMC was first awarded funding within the German Excellence Initiative in 2007 and in June 2012 the Excellence Status of the JSMC was confirmed with funding for an additional six years by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Since 2019 the JSMC is funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation and provides the graduate and post-graduate training for the Excellence Cluster Balance of the Microverse, which aims to dissect functional relationships in microbial communities in habitats ranging from terrestrial and aquatic environments to their associations with plant and animal host.
The JSMC hosts a total of about 130 doctoral researchers whose research projects are situated at the numerous institutes that make up the JSMC network, including the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as well as non-university research institutions such as the Max Planck, Fraunhofer, Leibniz and Helmholtz institutes.
Multi- and interdisciplinary PhD training for academia and industry
A broad choice of courses is offered within the JSMC PhD training program. This includes experimental and analytical methods, many of which are organized by the JSMC faculty members. These courses ensure easy access to the state-of-the-art research facilities at the JSMC member institutes. Furthermore, courses in transferrable skills such as scientific writing, presentation, project management and networking skills are offered to the JSMC doctoral researchers as well as post-docs in collaboration with the Jena Graduate Academy (GA) and other partners.
The aim of the JSMC training concept is to provide young researchers with a sound basis for a career in either academia or industry. Twelve local industry partners further contribute to the JSMC PhD training program with workshops, seminars and internships.
The spirit of the JSMC: Networking and proactive participation
With their research projects situated at the interfaces between research disciplines, and their facilitated access to all member institutes, the JSMC doctoral researchers contribute significantly to strengthening the JSMC network. Exchange between all scientists at JSMC is promoted through numerous joint scientific events.
In the past years, the JSMC doctoral researchers have established an active doctoral community in Jena. Many scientific and social events at the JSMC are organized by the doctoral researchers themselves. It is part of the JSMC spirit that the doctoral researchers actively participate in designing their training program and in promoting the future development of the Graduate School. An outstanding example of a JSMC doctoral researcher initiative is the “International Conference on Microbial Communication (MiCom)”, which is organized bi-annually by the doctoral researchers and attracts young researchers from all around the world.