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The Idea behind the smartNETWORK

The smartNETWORK is the learning network of the humanities' and social sciences' graduate schools. It has grown continuously since it was founded and now includes ten graduate schools and third-party funded colleges. As a learning network, its main task is to actively promote the structured doctorate and continuously improve it. To this end, common standards have been developed and established. These include basics such as doctoral agreements and corresponding curricula, etc., as well as the active promotion of an attractive research environment. In the past, the network has established itself as a focal point for interdisciplinary exchange and has implemented the internationalization of doctoral training as an integral part of its members' curriculum. This is achieved through a continuous exchange between the graduate schools.

Excellent structure

Third-party funding has been continuously acquired since 2010 to establish the network as a common hub. The first DAAD IPID project was acquired from 2011 to 2014 and then followed in 2015 with IPID4all until 2019. During this time, the participating graduate schools acquired five colleges and various scholarship programs. In addition, the graduate schools of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” and the CRC “Law and Literature” are actively involved in the network. The extensive third-party funding activity is, on the one hand, evidence of the attractiveness of the structures that have been created, and on the other hand, it offers a promising starting point for expanding this success. In the future, there will also be a stronger focus on the postdoc phase. That is how the network should continue to develop consistently as an excellent structure.


Network coordination is the crucial interface between the central institutions and the subjects involved. Together with the Graduate Center, a three-level model has already been developed on how the cooperation based on the division of labor is to be designed and how the areas of competence are to be coordinated with one another. With the Career Service, the network is currently working on subject-specific offers for career pathways outside academia. In the past, various projects were implemented with the Equal Opportunity Office of the WWU, above all an exclusive place in the first-class! Mentoring program for the smartNETWORK. When expanding and maintaining international networks, e.g. in the form of Cotutelle procedures, there is a well-established close cooperation with the International Office.