Careers at ATB

Photo: Manuel Gutjahr

Welcome at ATB

for PhD researchers starting their career at ATB

Welcome to the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy!

Our webpage provides you with a lot of information on ATB's research topics, its structure and organisation which will be be of interest before you start working at the ATB.

Once you have started working at ATB you will have access to the institute’s intranet and its information about contacts and documents relevant for your life as doctoral researcher.
You will also get further information at regularly offered newcomer meetings.

Enrolling at a university

In the German academic system, there are two different kinds of research institution: universities and non-university research institutions.

The 96 Leibniz institutes and research museums belong to these non-university research institutions. However, only universities and some universities of applied science have the formal right to award a doctoral degree. That is why ATB will usually cooperate very closely with a local university.

To obtain your degree, you need to enroll at the university. Depending on your supervision agreement (if you have one – this is something like a contract designed to define the relationship between you and your supervisor), specific terms might apply that you have to keep in mind regarding partner universities and the minimum number of semesters you must enroll for. Make sure you read the terms of your supervision agreement and/or university department regulations carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor if you have any questions. Supervisors in Germany are usually happy to help.

Enrolling as a doctoral researcher might come with some benefits like free sports sessions, museum ticket discounts or training in soft skills. Ask our PhD representatives or the coordinator of your doctoral program for more information on this.

Here is a list of universities in the region Berlin-Brandenburg partnered with ATB:


Life as a doctoral researcher at ATB

Agreements and offers

  • PhD supervision agreement
    This document includes a list of rights and responsibilities for doctoral researchers and their supervisors.
  • Graduate program
    This program offers workshops and soft skills training to doctoral researchers. Your university might offer a graduate program as well.
  • German language classes
    For learning German different options are available in the region of Potsdam and Berlin. ATB cooperates with a language school in the Science Park in Potsdam-Golm and supports language courses for its employees.
    Moreover, the Regulars‘ table at ATB held every two weeks invites to German conversation at lunch time in the ATB canteen. 
  • Social activities 
    At ATB social activities are regularly organized, e.g. sports or get-together events. About social activities you get information via emails, the intranet or via the PhD-representatives.

Important contacts

If you encounter problems in your work environment, there are a number of people you can get in touch with:           

The ombudsperson (or mediator) at ATB can advise you and help resolve conflicts with coworkers or your supervisor. There may also be a contact person for scientific misconduct. Here is a list of the ombudspersons of all Leibniz institutes. The Leibniz Association also has an Ombuds Committee.

Equal opportunities representatives:
Equal opportunities representatives enforce equal opportunities and chances for all genders and minorities, as well as for disabled people at all levels of employment and career stages. If you experience inequality, discrimination or sexual harassment at work, these representatives can and should be contacted.

Work–family balance:
ATB has been certified for its family friendly environment. A working group was established to implement measures for the reconciliation of career and family life for the employees, a.o. to provide information and support on childcare and other family-related issues. The coordinator and the members of this group can be contacted for questions in this context.

PhD coordinator:
At ATB, the PhD coordinator oversees many aspects of the PhD program. This person can help you with questions regarding your PhD agreement or initial steps at the institute.

PhD representatives:
The role of the PhD representatives is to offer opportunities to optimize the working environment for doctoral researchers, and to improve information exchange between the various Leibniz institutes.

Contact person for assistance of international colleagues:
This person takes care of the concerns and questions of international colleagues. At ATB, you find this person in the human resources team.

Works council:
This council is elected by ATB’s employees to represent their interests and ensure compliance with the Works Constitution Act. The members offer to help resolve problems regarding working conditions or contractual issues, and will deal with your request confidentially.

Technical support at your workplace:
ATB has a central IT unit as well as IT specialists in each department who will help to solve computer-related issues. Team assistants of the respective departments and the institute’s facility management will provide you with any kind of technical assistance (changing a lightbulb, providing furniture, etc.).

Important documents

After having started at ATB, you will receive some very important documents that you should keep hold of. These include your pay slip, health insurance documents, pension fund records and social security number. Here is a list of the documents:

  1. Arbeitsvertrag (employment contract)
  2. Sozialversicherungsnachweis (social security card)
  3. Lohnsteuerkarte (income tax card, provided in digital form)

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