Finding Common Ground
The Counseling and Mediation Office for Doctoral Students, Postdocs, and Supervisors

Ombudsperson Office for Early-Career Researchers

The Ombudsperson Office for Early-Career Researchers can help you find solutions when issues arise in a supervisory relationship. Do you, as a doctoral or postdoctoral researcher, find that your supervisory situation has become unnecessarily burdensome or tense? Are you a professor experiencing conflict in a supervisory relationship with early-career researchers? As an independent counseling, reconciliation, and mediation office, the Ombudsperson Office helps doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and supervisors navigate these kinds of challenges and conflicts. 

All discussions and counseling with the Ombudsperson Office are always handled confidentially. You can contact the ombudsperson of your choice, or contact the Bonn Graduate Center, which will refer you to the ombudsperson of your choice.

Mission and Process

In the relationship between early-career researchers and supervisors, difficulties and seemingly insurmountable contradictions can sometimes arise. If these cannot be resolved in the long term, the supervisory relationship can be experienced as very stressful. The scientific creativity and productivity suffers, the joy in scientific research decreases.

A possible way out of this situation can be offered by the Ombudsperson Office for Early-Career Researchers. You can contact the Ombudsperson Office regarding challenges, tensions, or conflicts arising in the supervision relationship between early-career researchers and supervisors. The Ombudsperson Office will work with you to find solutions.

The Ombudsperson Office acts as an independent agency at the University of Bonn, seeking to facilitate counseling, reconciliation, and mediation for both early-career researchers and supervisors regarding problems and conflicts during the doctorate or postdoc phase. The goal is a constructive and objective resolution to the conflict.

The ombudspersons are obligated to confidentiality and do not have to reveal the content of their discussions to anyone. They do not undertake assessments of academic achievement. The ombudspersons work independently.

Contact the ombudsperson of your choice directly or have the Bonn Graduate Center (BGZ) arrange an ombudsperson for you. You can choose the ombudsperson regardless of your affiliation to a faculty.

The ombudspersons always handle all issues, counseling, and discussions confidentially. This obligation to confidentiality protects all persons involved, and applies after the completion of the process as well.

Together with you, the ombudsperson will discuss a possible approach. This will result in either an individual consultation with you or, if you wish, a mediation between you and the other party to the conflict. In any case, the procedure will take place in consultation with you. The Ombudsperson Office can only make recommendations to the conflicting parties. It is not authorized to issue instructions to the conflict parties.

You can directly contact any ombudsperson you wish, regardless of which faculty you are associated with. You are also welcome to initiate contact through the Bonn Graduate Center (BGZ), who will then refer you to an ombudsperson. Please do not hesitate to talk to the ombudspersons, or to us. We very much want to support you. Contact us.

The Bonn Graduate Center assumes the function of a managing office, and provides administrative support for the ombudspersons as needed.

The responsibilities of other offices, especially the doctoral board, the Research Integrity Ombudsperson, the Staff Counseling and Conflict Mediation office, and the Gender Equality Office, are not affected. The Ombudsperson Office is institutionally independent, and the ombudspersons act independently.

Guideline for protection against sexualized discrimination and violence from February 15, 2023

Regulations for the Amendment of the Regulations for the Assurance of Good Scientific Practice at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn dated May 18, 2021

Your Ombudspersons for Early-Career Researchers

You can contact the ombudsperson of your choice directly to discuss your situation. You can make your choice regardless of your faculty.

Prof. Dr. Daniela Pirazzini

© BGZ Frommann

Prof. Dr. Daniela Pirazzini has held the linguistic chair for Romantic Philology (French and Italian Linguistics) since 2005 in the Department for Romance Studies. Her research focus in the fields of Italian and French linguistics involve the theory of metaphorical language, the grammar of texts, translation studies, and argumentation with a focus on pragma-dialectics.

Prof. Dr. Volkmar Gieselmann

© BGZ Frommann

Prof. Dr. Volkmar Gieselmann served from 1999 until his retirement in 2021 as a Professor for Biochemistry at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Faculty of Medicine. From 2006 to 2006 he served as Vice Dean for Research at the Faculty of Medicine and from 2009 to 2016 as the Vice Rector for Studying, Teaching, and Academic Reform at the University. He has currently resumed his work in a senior professorship at the Institute for Biochemistry.

    Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller

    © BGZ Frommann

    Prof. Dr. Karin Holm-Müller is a retired professor. She directs the Professorship for Resource and Environmental Economics. From 2013 to 2015, she was a jury member for the German Environmental Award of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU). She served as the Vice Rector for Studying and Teaching from 2015 to 2021.

        Additional contact options

        The University of Bonn offers a variety of potential contacts to help you learn about the best potential ways to address your specific situation. Learn more about these specific offices and topics, such as good research practices, gender equality, and staff counseling and conflict mediation.

        Good Research Practice

        Learn more about academic integrity, dual use, and responsible research.

        Gender Equality

        The Gender Equality Office supports employees and students at the University of Bonn with questions related to gender equality.

        Staff Counseling and Conflict Mediation

        Learn more about the Staff Counseling office, which is tasked with psycho-social issues and conflict mediation (in German).

        Psychological Counseling

        You can discuss your concerns in confidence in a one-to-one session and work out potential solutions and coping methods. The psychologists are bound by their duty of professional discretion.

        Doctoral Offices

        Find more information about the formal requirements of doctoral studies as well as contacts to the doctoral offices in the various faculties.

        Research Data Service Center

        From planning and proposal submission for research projects to publication and archiving of research data: the Research Data Service Center is glad to help.

        Qualification offers

        Early-career researchers at the University of Bonn have the opportunity to expand their academic and transdisciplinary competencies through the Doctorate plus and Postdoc plus qualification programs. The program offers regular workshops on topics such as good research practice, ethics in research, and framing good relationships between supervisors and early-career researchers. 

        Upcoming Workshops


        Bonn Graduate Center


        +49 228 / 73-60141


        Alte Sternwarte
        Poppelsdorfer Allee 47
        53115 Bonn

          Also see

        Argelander Competence Center

        With a wide range of services, the Argelander Program for Early Career-Researchers accompanies you in all stages of your doctorate.

        Quality Assurance

        Learn more about scientific integrity and responsibility in research.

        Research Ethics

        Get introductory information on research ethics and learn more about consulting opportunities.

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