The BIG-NSE regularly receives delegations from all over the world (Australia, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, USA, etc.). Sometimes, the "delegation" consists of only a few experts desiring to know how our doctoral program is organized; in other cases they consist principally of student groups from different levels (undergraduates, master's students, PhD students) traveling with their professors, and are simply interested in learning about us. We have also welcomed visitors from industry eager to recruit talented new colleagues or delegations from our benefactors (DFG, Einstein Stiftung) wanting to check how well their money was being invested :-). Quite a few of these visits to our doctoral program were part of a larger visit to UniSysCat or TU-Berlin. 

In a few cases, the speaker/chair or the vice speaker/director of the school/center gave a talk, in other cases its managing director. In most of the cases, however, our students were involved and had to give a talk or present a poster - an excellent way to draw the attention of potential recruiters, and a good means of preparing for a future career!



Visit from a DFG delegation in 2013

Visit from a delegation from Purdue University, USA, in 2018


EC2/BIG-NSE students regularly participate in events aimed at presenting our doctoral program to the public or at supporting a particular cause.

One of the most prominent event of this kind, in which EC2/BIG-NSE and its students have regularly been involved in the past, is the  annual “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften” (Long Night of Sciences), which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Not only did some of our students present the research of their work group at their own university/institute on this occasion, but the school itself was also present with its own booth, advertising its program and the research performed at UniCat/UniSysCat.

A few activities have been developed specifically to attract children, such as a “mini golf” lane (designed by our students and constructed at the TU workshop: see the picture on the righ side) illustrating the advantage of using of a catalyst in a chemical reaction, a “chemical quiz” and a “gel lab”. A “crêpes & waffles” booth has also been regularly organized by the BIG-NSE students to encourage visitors to prolong their visit.

Another general public event in which our program has participated in the past is the annual "Girls Day," which aims at encouraging young women to pursue a career in sciences. Groups of young women regularly visit some of the labs where our PhD students work, where they receive a short presentation of their research environment.

The catalysis minigolf lane created by BIG-NSE students

Our world-famous "Crêpes & Waffles" booth

Science Slams

Twice in the past (Sept. 2014 and July 2015), EC2/BIG-NSE students organized a public "Science Slam" (called “Catslam”).  One of these two slams was moderated by one of our alumni, who is a great entertainer, apart from being a successful scientist himself.

"A Science Slam is a scientific talk where scientists present their own scientific research work in a given time frame - usually 10 minutes - in front of a non-expert audience. The focus lies on teaching current science to a diverse audience in an entertaining way. The presentation is judged by the audience." [Source: Wikipedia]

In addition to the Science Slams organized by our students themselves, several of them have successfully taken part in such contests in the past. The latest one "Science Rocks" initiated by our patron the Einstein Foundation Berlin, and organized by one of our partners the " Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin," brought together competitors from all Berlin Einstein Centers on Nov. 1-2, 2019. Our PhD student Mengyang Ye, from the WS2017 batch, was one of them and gave a very nice talk titled „Alchemie, die funktioniert: Wasser in Treibstoff verwandeln" ("Alchemistry that works: Transform water into a fuel").     

Contact with and support for schools

"Jugend forscht"

In 2013, BIG-NSE started collaborating with a Berlin secondary school (Romain-Rolland-Gymnasium, Reinickendorf): Since then, EC2/BIG-NSE students have regularly helped students from this school to prepare a research project for their “Jugend forscht” competition.

"Jugend Forscht" (literal translation: “Youth researches”) is a German youth science competition. With more than 10,000 participants annually, it is the biggest youth science and technology competition in Europe. Participants work on a self-chosen research project, hand in a written report about their work, and then present their results first at regional levels and later at a national contest to an expert jury, usually in the form of a poster session, often including a practical demonstration. Contest juries often invite university or industry experts to referee some of the projects, especially at the national contest, due to a high level of specialization." [Source: Wikipedia]

A few of the presented projects have received awards (see for example here and here). Latest example: Last year, our PhD student Niklas Hoffmann helped two students from this school to win the 5th Prize in Chemistry at the national level.


"Paten für Schüler"

At least one of our students has participated in the PaSch project (Paten für Schüler).

PaSch - sponsorships for schoolchildren - aims at offering all children equal educational and development opportunities. This is why we arrange mentorships for preschool and primary school children in Wedding/Berlin. The voluntary mentors devote time and attention to the participating children. Mentors and children meet about once a week. They explore Berlin together; do the homework, sports, music or any other creative activity. This way they both get to know each other's world and a lot of new things.

Two students from Romain Rolland Gymnasium in our PhD student Niklas' lab

One of our students standing with her "Roro" boys at their booth during the competition


Talks abroad

EC2/BIG-NSE has regularly presented itself (>50 delegation visits as well as talks at fairs and conferences) all over the world to advertise and promote its concept.

In particular, since 2009 the managing director of the BIG-NSE has regularly given presentations to groups of doctoral candidates at the “PhD Workshop China” held annually in Beijing and Shanghai. Other countries he has visited with the same purpose include Singapore, South Korea, Mexico, Romania, and Serbia. Furthermore, in April 2017 he was invited to give a keynote lecture at the "3rd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education" in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, to present the innovative BIG-NSE concept in front of hundreds of participants.

Scholarship advertisement on recruitment platforms

Since 2008, the scholarships offered by BIG-NSE (and now EC2/BIG-NSE) have been advertised on several PhD recruitment platforms like the DAAD PhDGermany Database, Nature Jobs,, ResearchGate, LinkedIn, Euraxess, PhDBuzz, Scholarshipnjob, etc.
EC2/BIG-NSE regularly posts an advertisement in the DAAD brochure "International Doctoral Programmes in Germany".



Presentation of BIG-NSE by Dr. Lonjaret at the PhD Workshop China

BIG-NSE booth at the Europosgrados 2016 conference in Monterrey, Mexico

Corporate identity

One of the aims of our program is to give our PhD students the feeling that they belong to a family. The large amount of social activities organized during the initial phase of the program in particular certainly contributes a lot to this feeling.
Another factor might be the corporate identity elements of the school, such as the following:

- Logo(s): Upon its foundation in 2007, BIG-NSE created a logo that is still in use today. After becoming the "Einstein Center of Catalysis in 2019, the doctoral program created a second logo reflecting its relation to the Einstein Foundation Berlin. Both logos are currently used in parall or in alternation, depending on the purpose. The BIG-NSE logo can be downloaded here, the EC2 one here.

- A BIG-NSE flyer was also created as early as 2007 and has since been updatd regularly. You can download the latest version (2016) here as a PDF file. A flyer for EC2/BIG -NSE is in the works.

- A BIG-NSE poster has existed for a while as well: See the PDF A4 version here. An updated EC2/BIG-NSE version is also currently being developed.

- Presentations given by representatives of EC2/BIG-NSE, PhD students or management staff all use the same template.

- A BIG-NSE t-shirt was created in the first years of the school's existence. No newer version of it detailing its relation to the Einstein Foundation has been planned so far.

- A BIG-NSE pin that BIG-NSE students and other representatives can wear discretely on their clothes at conferences was also produced. It is still in use. The PhD students held a mini competition to determine the design of the pin.


EC2 & BIG-NSE logos

BIG-NSE Flyer (front page)

BIG-NSE students with the BIG-NSE T-shirt