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When conflicts arise

Important contacts, links and guidelines

The MDC aspires to provide a good working environment for all staff – through an outstanding infrastructure and open scientific exchange, but also as a research organization characterized by tolerance, respect, diversity, professionalism, personal integrity, and good interpersonal relationships.

When people work together, problems are not only inevitable but also normal. What’s important is to find amicable solutions early on in order to ensure high motivation and productivity as well as everyone’s well-being. This requires respectful and trusting communication. 

The MDC has a non-discriminatory culture in which all individuals are met with equal respect and value. Neither ethnicity, place of origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age nor world-view should lead to personal or professional disadvantages. The MDC opposes any form of behaviour that violates the dignity of its staff members and provides prevention, information and assistance to avoid or solve such infringements.

We encourage everyone to address any conflicts that may arise and, if necessary, involve senior staff or other points of contact. When problems occur, the MDC offers points of contact (see left column) that staff can trustingly turn to for help and advice.


Our guideline

At the MDC we collectively shoulder the responsibility of providing all staff a workplace free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination. To this end, the Guideline against discrimination, bullying and harassment has been in force since 01.01.2020.

This interim Guideline is part of a Code of Conduct (to be developed) that sets out standards of conduct and describes expected behavior of MDC employees. The code of conduct is based on a mission statement (to be developed) which, among other things, represents the values of the MDC.



We also recommend the guidelines issued by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency.


Rules for good scientific practice 

Honesty with oneself and others is one of the fundamental principles of science. The MDC places a high value on compliance of our researchers with the relevant rules.

The Research Ombudsman is the first point of contact in such matters. 

MDC Ombudspersons


Ombudsmen for issues of good scientific practice


Key contacts and links

Staff Council

The Staff Council is the independent advocate for all MDC employees, responsible for representing their interests to the employer. It is comprised of 13 members, who are elected every four years by MDC staff. The role of the council is to support and advise all staff members and to function as an intermediary between employees and the Board of Directors. 



Certified conflict advisor


Further Staff Council members (Training in preparation)

Please send an email to: personalrat@mdc-berlin.de



AGG-Beschwerdestelle (Complaints Office)

According to the General Equal Treatment Act, anyone who feels discriminated on the basis of racism or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity can turn to the AGG Complaints Office. 

AGG Complaints Office at the MDC 




Welcome & Family Office




Representation of women and equal opportunities

Equal opportunity for men and women is important to us. There is still a balanced proportion of women and men during the dissertation period. However, the percentage of women drops during the postdoc phase – and women only hold 15 to 20 percent of senior research positions in Europe. This leads to a huge waste of talent in research and the workforce. We as a research organization equally value the potential of both sexes and seek to leverage this potential. The Women’s Representative and her deputies are working to make equal opportunity a reality, for example, by improving the compatibility of career and family.

A project called “LIBRA” has examined how gender equality has been addressed so far in Europe while also looking into what can be done better. The MDC has participated in this project as a member of the EU-Life alliance.

Women’s Representative




Graduate Office

PhD students can, for example, contact the Graduate Office with general questions or reach out and discuss issues with representatives from their own ranks. In addition, the PhD Ombudspersons are available to assist with any difficult situations. They are impartial and independent, are elected by the study body, and provide support and informal advice. The Ombudspersons work with those affected to find strategies to resolve their conflicts. They can also arrange meetings and facilitate contact with other official mediators. Whatever is discussed remains confidential if the student so chooses.

Head of the Graduate Office

PhD Representatives


Helmholtz Juniors

Website Helmholtz Juniors




Postdoc Office

The postdoc representatives are a support network for postdoctoral students at the MDC: postdocrep@mdc-berlin.de

There is also a Postdoc Association at the MDC.

Please send an email to: postdocoffice@mdc-berlin.de




Ombudspersons for PhD students

The Ombudspersons are impartial and independent, are elected by the study body, and provide support and informal advice. They work with those affected to find strategies to resolve their conflicts. They can also arrange meetings and facilitate contact with other official mediators.





Technical Assistants' Representatives




Disabilities Officer

Marion Posselt-Hofmann




Youth and Apprentice Representatives






External contact points

Psychosocial Counselling

Dipl. Soz. Sylvie Tappert

Please send your appointment request to:

Mireille van Veenendaal
Dipl.Sozpäd., systemic therapist and non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy

Therapeutic contact person for German-speaking employees of the MDC



Company Physician

Information about and the address of our company physician Dr. Christ you can find here




Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency 

The advisory offices of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency