DFG- Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab above average success

The German Research Foundation (DFG), the largest research funding organisation in germany, has certified the 3D-NanoFab Research Training Group as having above-average success. Compared with Research Training Groups it funds at other german universities, more doctoral students complete their doctorates and the time it takes them to do so is shorter. By funding Research Training Groups and Graduate Schools, the DFG enables universities to train outstanding doctoral students in a research-oriented manner.


The interdisciplinary Research Training Group "Cutting-edge and laser-based 3D nanofabrication in extended macroscopic workspaces" (3D-NanoFab) has been funded by the DFG since 2017. It offers young scientists the opportunity to conduct specialized cutting-edge research in a research and qualification program and to earn a doctorate at the highest level. The first generation of doctoral students completed their research on schedule in June 2020.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has now issued two reports on doctorates in germany: firstly, it examined the ratio of completed to uncompleted doctorates in projects that it funded. Secondly, it assessed the duration of doctoral projects. The reports are among the most detailed statistical sources on doctorates in germany.

92 percent success rate

Ilmenau's doctoral researchers are particularly successful in a nationwide comparison. According to the DFG analysis of the ratio of completed to incomplete doctorates, 79 percent of doctoral students completed their doctorate within eight years, while 21 percent discontinued their doctorate in the meantime. In contrast, in the first generation of the Research Training Groups 3D-NanoFab at the TU Ilmenau, 12 out of 13 doctorates, i.e. 92 percent, were successfully completed. This puts the Ilmenau DFG Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab at the forefront in a nationwide comparison.

Above-average short duration of doctoral studies
TU Ilmenau/ S. Günther-Müller
Spokesperson of the Research Training Group and Head of the Group of Microsystems Engineering at TU Ilmenau, Professor Steffen Strehle

Doctoral researchers in DFG doctoral projects needed an average of 51 months, i.e. a good four years, from the start of their doctorate to the oral defence of their dissertation thesis. In contrast, the doctoral researchers in the Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab at the TU Ilmenau successfully completed their doctorates in less than 37 months on average, i.e. in just over three years. According to the DFG analysis, on average only 18 percent of all degrees were completed in up to three and a half years, and only five percent of these in up to three years. The Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab is thus among the top qualification programmes funded by the DFG. This result is all the more impressive because, according to the DFG report, doctoral projects in the engineering sciences take a particularly long time, averaging 57 months.

"Cooperative atmosphere in the Research Training Group"

The spokesperson of the Research Training Group, Professor Steffen Strehle, is very proud of the above-average results of the two DFG analyses: "I attribute the excellent results not least to the cooperative atmosphere in the Research Training Group. In an interdisciplinary research environment in which our university has outstanding competencies, for example in micro- and nanotechnologies and metrology, the intensive scientific supervision by proven experts has succeeded in leading highly motivated doctoral students who are willing to perform to success."

The DFG Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab integrates seamlessly into the teaching at TU Ilmenau, where students are involved in research at an early stage.

Information on the master's study offer at TU Ilmenau: https://www.tu-ilmenau.de/en/study/before-the-study/range-of-courses/master

More about the Research Training Group NanoFab: www.tu-ilmenau.de/nanofab



Prof. Steffen Strehle

Speaker Research Training Group 3D-NanoFab
Head of Group Microsystems Engineering

+49 3677 69-5051