Research School » Research School PLUS » Governance » Executive Board

Executive Board

The Executive Board (Ex-Board) is the core decision-making body of the Research School PLUS. It consists of nine members:

  • Five professors (including the speaker) .
  • Four doctoral representatives (and their deputies), representing the Humanities, Natural Sciences, Life Sciences, Social Sciences, and Engineering.
With this bundled expertise, the Ex-Board develops application and review process guidelines, and makes final decisions on applications during its monthly meetings. In close cooperation with the speaker, the group is also responsible for the strategic development of the whole RS PLUS project. The professorial members of the Ex-Board were elected by the principal investigators of RS PLUS in November 2012 and hold office for two years.
Doctoral representatives and their deputies are in office for one year before

Executive Board 2018


Kerstin Konietzny - Faculty of Psychology


My name is Kerstin Konietzny and I’m a PhD student in Medical Psychology. As my research project is of interdisciplinary nature, combining the disciplines of medicine and psychology (by investigating the influence of psychological aspects on chronification of pain disorders), I experienced how enriching an exchange of ideas and information between different disciplines (e.g. clinicians, physiotherapists and sport disciplines) can be. 

I was a member of the Executive board in 2017, being the representative of Humanities and I really appreciate being part of the Executive Board! I not only got insight into the reviewing process and broadened my view concerning scientific projects from other disciplines, but also gained experience in the management of third party funding and decision-making processes. I would be happy to use my experiences in the upcoming year. 

In 2016 I experienced the support of the RS with a grant myself and organized a symposium within my “Mind and Pain in Motion” Research Group. Thereby I got the intriguing opportunity to get in touch with leading scientists and establish and intensify international research contacts for future projects. I’m looking forward to get to know your projects you intend to realize with the wide range of RS funding possibilities. It is a great pleasure to support our doctoral community to maintain the diversity of RUB research scope.

Ronja Laarmann-Quante - Faculty of Philology


My name is Ronja Laarmann-Quante and I'm a PhD student in Computational Linguistics. In a third-party funded project which brings together psycholinguists, computational linguists and educationalists, I do research on spelling errors in primary school children's texts. I want to shed light on the question which properties of a word make it likely to be misspelled.

During different workshops and events of the Research School, I have learned about many interesting projects of fellow PhD students from various disciplines and I would like to support this community actively as a member of the Executive Board of RS PLUS. Being a reviewer of funding applications has enabled me to get involved in the first place and now I would like to share and widen my experiences in a team. In my Bachelor and Master’s degree courses, I was a member of the student representatives in the Linguistics Department for three years. I found it highly enriching to actively engage in the enhancement of useful offers and activities. Likewise, I am eager to learn more about the structures and decision-making processes behind RS PLUS and I hope to be able to positively shape its future development. 

Social Sciences

Ghizal Lali - Faculty of Management and Economics


My name is Ghizal Lali and I am a research and teaching assistant at the Center of Economic Education at the Faculty of Management and Economics. In my research I focus on dynamic managerial capabilities. Do managers have specific (dynamic) capabilities and if so what are they? I am in the middle of my work and hope to be successful in answering these questions. During my PhD I attended in several events organized by the Research School and enjoyed the exchange with colleagues working in different disciplines and I also appreciated this given chance. But exchange is not the only benefit PhD students can get from the existence of Research School. Research School also allows PhD students the early integration into international research by granting financial support for international projects. It would be a great chance for me and I would appreciate to represent all doctoral students by supporting the Research School as a member in the decision making of granting your projects.

Tobias Meißner - Faculty of Psychology


I think of the RS PLUS as an excellent opportunity for PhD students to engage in international exchange at an early stage of their scientific career. After my term as the deputy representative on the Executive Board and my experience as both a reviewer and a successful RS PLUS applicant, I would like to continue to personally contribute to our unique graduate school’s program and its mission to internationalize your PhD. Working in the interdisciplinary field of cognitive neuroscience will help me to understand and represent the various needs and demands of a broad range of disciplines. 

In the past, I have gained extensive experience in representing the interest of my peers as both student and PhD representative in several boards like appointments committees, evaluation committees or quality improvement committees. Among others, these appointments included responsibilities like budget planning/spending or selecting appropriate candidates for faculty positions. As a member of the RS PLUS Executive Board, I would enjoy continuing to work in a decision-making team.

Natural & Life Sciences

Alina Blusch - IGSN


I studied biology and finished my bachelor´s as well as my master´s degree at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Since the beginning of my academic career I have been fascinated by neuroscience, so I engaged in the PhD program at the IGSN. The time I spent here and the experiences I made during my studies strongly connect me with the Ruhr-University Bochum. With support of the Research School PLUS program I was able to enrich my doctoral project with various international activities, which would not have been possible otherwise. I think that the Research School offers great support and diverse funding opportunities for us as PhD students, that we should make use of.

Since I enrolled in the Research School I prepared several specific, as well as non-specific reports. I really enjoyed the evaluation of these different applications because I was able to gain insight into different PhD projects, sometimes from research fields far apart from my own expertise, which was particularly inspiring. As a part of the executive board I would like to represent the interests of my fellow students and actively take part in the process of decision making at the Research School PLUS. 

Caroline Schlüter - Faculty of Psychology


My name is Caroline Schlüter and I am a PhD-student at the Faculty of Psychology, dealing with the neural basis of personality, motivation and emotional competencies, among others. By combining long-standing psychological research traditions with state of the art neuroimaging methods I'm working in the intersection between social, natural and life sciences. Thus, I am familiar with a variety of methods and interdisciplinary work. During my PhD and previous work as a research assistant at the Department of Biopsychology, I have already contributed to different applications for third-party funding and thus often experienced the applicant’s perspective. As a reviewer of the Research School PLUS, I was also able to gain some experience regarding the review process. 

I decided to run for a position at the RS PLUS Executive Board because I consider the work of the RS PLUS to be exceptional and highly important. Without the RS PLUS, it would hardly be possible for PhD-students to gain international experience at such an early stage of their careers. Therefore I would love to get involved by representing the interests of my fellow students in the field of social sciences or natural and life sciences. Being part of the Executive Board would give me a unique opportunity to gain insight into the management of third-party funding that exceeds my previous experiences as an applicant or reviewer by far. With my scientific background and personal interest in interdisciplinary exchange, I am confident to make an important contribution to the Executive Board. 


Gordon Zyla - Faculty of mechanical engineering


Hello, I am Gordon. I studied mechanical engineering at the Ruhr-University and I am now a PhD student at the chair of Applied Laser Technologies. In my project I am working on the characterization and creation of natural coloration by mimicking tiny skin structures of different organisms in our world. 

My study is a great opportunity for me to combine my interests of exploring and research because since I was a child I have been addicted to nature.

As PhD student, I really enjoy the broad variation of my daily work, especially, the areas of learning and teaching or gaining and sharing experience to students and teammates. My work also contains the preparation and the reviewing of scientific reports and proposals which helps me a lot to apply successfully my idea at the Research School Plus program PR.INT. With support of the PR.INT program I was able to gain international experience, to extend my scientific network and my visibility as a researcher. Furthermore, the program helps me to realize important work for my studies.

By applying for the Executive Board of the Research School Plus, I hope to improve my abilities in decision-making processes. It would be very exciting for me to make new experience as a representative at our university. I am also very interested in getting to know the different research disciplines and I would like to be a part of those people who can help other doctoral students to succeed their personal study goals on national or on international level.