Soft Skills Workshop Series

MPI-B Graduate Program

Soft Skills Development Team

The Soft Skills Development Team welcomes you on our website. This website will provide you with all information about our Hard and Soft Skills Workshop Series. The Hard and Soft Skills Workshop Series is a training program funded by the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry to broaden professional and social competence. Several workshops are organized throughout the year. The workshops are given in English by experienced, professional trainers on a 1-3 day basis for small groups of 10-12 students. Please check this website every once in a while as we will update our program for 2017 here on a regular basis. All information regarding seminar content, application details and deadlines will be announced on the website as well as by email (4-8 weeks prior the workshop). 


If you have any questions or suggestions for new workshops, please feel free to contact the Soft Skills Development Team under

Or get in touch with the current team members:

Meera Phulphagar and Sarah Scholze

Upcoming Workshops

Unfortunately, not many students attend the last workshops being organized by the MPI-B Graduate program. Therefore the Soft Skill Development Team decided together with the GL to only organize 1-2 workshops in 2018. Students that have a wish to attend Soft Skill workshops should please contact the Soft Skill Development Team under so we can get an idea of which workshops we should/ could organize in 2019. In the meantime, we will upload the IMPRS workshop schedule. If you wish to attend such a workshop, please contact Viktoria Korzhova or wait until IMPRS opens up the workshops for us.


IMPRS Workshops

Poster Design

Ruth Willmott

08. - 09.11.2018

Career Orientation: Shaping and Steering your Career Path

Ruth Willmott


Enabling Innovations

MPI Innovations


Introduction to Science Journalism

Kristina Popova

26. - 27.11.2018

Data Visualisation with R

Rick Scavetta

29. - 30.11.2018

Career Mentoring & Management

Ruth Willmott

07. - 08.12.2018

+ either 14. or 15.12.2018

Scientific Writing

Ruth Willmott

10. - 12.12.2018




Hard Skills Workshops

Introduction to Python

Andreas Knist

23. - 24.02.2017

Macro programming for image analysis in Fiji/ImageJ**

Giovanni Cardone

04. - 05.04.2017

Advanced Image Processing (ImageJ/ Matlab)**

Giovanni Cardone


Adobe Illustrator*

Andreas Binder

06. - 07.07.2017

Programming in R

Assa Yeroslaviz

19. - 21.07.2017

Introduction to Python**

Nic del Grosso

25. - 28.07.2017

Galaxy: DNA/protein sequence/

NGS-data handling

Michael Volkmer tba

Applied Statistics

Tobias Straub

21. - 22.09.2017


Soft Skills Workshops

Getting funded with follow-up***

Ruth Willmott

16. - 17.06.2017

+ 23. or 24.06.2017

Scientific Writing***

Ruth Willmott

19. - 21.06.2017

Leading & Supervising in Science***

Viola Kraus

19. - 20.09.2017

Career Mentoring & Management***

Ruth Willmott

27. - 28.10.2017

+ 03. or 04.11.2017

Job hunting

Philipp Gramlich

05. - 06.10.2017

Personal Development

Sina Mehl

19. - 20.10.2017


Rob Thompson

16. - 17.11.2017

Personality-based Communication

Sylvia Loehken

27. - 28.11.2017

Scientific Writing***

Ruth Willmott

04. - 06.12.2017

* organized by MPI-Neurobiology PhD-student representatives
** offered together with post-doc association
*** offered together with IMPRS

The program will be updated as soon as the exact dates are fixed.



Short Course Descriptions:

Adobe Illustrator

The participation in this intense workshop enables students to use the complex program Adobe Illustrator for a surprisingly easy and fast production of high-quality graphics, fit for publications, posters or presentations.


Macro programming for image analysis in Fiji/ImageJ

The course provides an introduction to the programming capabilities of Fiji/ImageJ, an open source software for image analysis in life science. It is mostly aimed at researchers who have some basic familiarity with the software, need to perform image analysis in their work, and desire to customize and automate processing workflows to their project needs. The training is organized as a hands-on session, where students apply immediately what they learn. The workshop does not focus on principles and best practices in image analysis, but will show some analysis methods in light microscopy applications, used as examples during the course. At the end of the last day an open session will allow students to get advice on specific problems of their interest.


Introduction to Python

No programming, math, or statistics knowledge is required.

In this intensive course the basics of the Python programming language and some of its scientific library will be covered, in order to enable students to conduct data analysis, focusing techniques for performing essential data analysis steps using real-life problems that the practicing scientist regularly encounters in his/her work. Libraries covered will be NumPy, MatPlotLib, Pandas, Seaborn, and Scipy-Stats. Students will learn to write their own functions, scripts, and Jupyter Notebooks.



  • Fundamentals of Programming
  • Data Structures
  • Reading and Writing to Various File Formats
  • Building Publication-Ready Figures
  • Good Coding Practices
  • Data Analysis Workflows


Personality-based Communication

This workshop focuses on academic communication settings and helps participants

  • understand their individual advantages and hurdles as introverts or extroverts as well as
  • cope with specific communication challenges that come up when interacting with others.

A specific focus is on status messages: In the more challenging case studies, particpants will reflect on how to communicate effectively when there is more at stake than smart arguments and rational thinking: when they encounter power rituals, provoking and testing or even attacks and conflicts. The higher the stress level is, the more important (and the more difficult) it is to stick self-confidently to what is really important – and matching for the respective personality type.

The workshop is very application-oriented and makes sure participants learn by testing strategies in real-life examples. Cases from their own experience are welcome. Participants will receive plenty of feedback on their interactions plus other options to consider: in an encouraging, safe and pleasant setting.

After the workshop, participants know about their individual strengths and challenges and are able to apply them in challenging professional situations. They will also be able to identify the needs of their communication partners and adjust their strategies accordingly – while maintaining a style that is matching with who they are.

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