Our doctoral program is highly international. The language for all activities is English.
A good proficiency in English is necessary to be accepted at EC2/BIG-NSE. See details here. However, our students can continue improving their English, in particular their scientific English, during the years completing their PhD at our school/center.
A high percentage of our applicants are from abroad. As a result, the majority of our scholarships are given to non-German candidates.
Consequently, the share of non-German students in our program increased from 15% in the starting year (SS07 batch) to 100% in the latest batch (WS20).
The share of international students at EC2/BIG-NSE currently amounts to 78%.
Taking into account all batches since foundation, this figure amounts to 66%.
Almost half (50%) of our students through the years have come from Asia, in particular China (26%), India (10%) and Iran (6%).
Almost as many (45%) came from Europe, in particular Germany (34%).
Only a small percentage have been from the American (5%) or African (2%) continents, and none were from Oceania.
Altogether, our students hailed from 34 different countries, including (in alphabetic order): Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen.
In order to learn more about everybody's culture, our students have regularly organized social events with the culture of a specific country or region as main theme in the past. Consequently, we could not only already enjoy several Chinese or Asian social evenings for example, but also an Indian, Persian and "Latin" one. Christmas parties at EC2/BIG-NSE are always a good occasion for students to present culinary specialties from their region.
However, not only the PhD students of the program are international. The managing director of EC2/BIG-NSE is French, two members of its Executive Board, including one of the two directors, are also from abroad (Argentina, India). The student representative in our Recruitment Committee is Indian. On the whole, the research groups of UniSysCat, where our students perform the research phase of their PhD, are also highly international. The language spoken in labs is also predominantly English. This means that no knowledge of the German language is necessary to write your PhD at EC2/BIG-NSE. However, in order to help our students to integrate better in their host country, intensive German courses are offered during the initial phase, and evening courses later on during the research phase. See here for details.
Moreover, in the last years, UniCat and UniSysCat have signed a series of cooperation agreements with different institutions from all over the world (see the current UniSysCat partners here). One of these cooperative contacts was reinforced when seven of our BIG-NSE students were invited to take part in the ICIQ/UniCat summer school in Tarragona in 2013 and, in return, seven ICIQ students were invited to join the UniCat/ICIQ summer school organized by BIG-NSE in Berlin in 2015 (with ~100 international participants). In addition to these official collaboration agreements, many of our students come to interact with international collaboration partners directly involved in their investigative research. In many of these cases, the collaboration is initiated by the students themselves.
EC2/BIG-NSE has regularly received delegations from all over the world (Australia, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, USA...) to present and promote its concept(read more here).Moreover, since 2009 the managing director of the program has regularly given presentations of the school to groups in diverse countries (China, France, Mexico, Romania, Serbia, South Korea, UK, USA). In particular, he regularly presented the program within the “PhD Workshop China” in Beijing and Shanghai. Consequently, the number of students from China applying for a BIG-NSE membership (most of them financed by a stipend from the Chinese Scholarship Council - CSC) has since steadily increased (read here as well).