The philosophy of a lab defines its values, and to some degree, its rules. The set of following points is an ongoing discussion - as a lab evolves, its culture evolves and adapts to the needs and cultures of the members defining it.
Think for yourself; question authority.
We want to collaborate, not compete - within and between labs.
We highly value the principles of open science. It is better to be truthful, than be published.
Participation in the lab- (non-social) events is expected to the best of our abilities. Asking questions and providing comments is strongly encouraged.
Be connected with each other. We ask (and/or know) what others are doing and how they are feeling today.
We make lots of space for open, constructive, direct, but always empathic feedback. This goes both directions, please give Bene feedback too!
Our work should typically be fun, fulfilling, interesting and (in some sense) important (if it is not: contact Bene). But work is not life, and sometimes work can overburden us. Take vacation, start relationships, explore new things, grow as a person.
Nobody checks work hours, but we expect honest communication on needs and limits.
We don't expect responses/work during evenings, weekends or vacations. Exceptions (e.g. conference deadlines) should be communicated in advance.
We schedule meetings during core working hours (10-16) and accommodate individual requests(e.g. care duties).
Sometimes we feel guilty - we forgot to do something, were slower than expected, we are overworked, we don't meet expectations, or we missed a deadline (Bene feels guilty too, unfortunately all of these things happen to him still...). We will try to fight this and fight it early. The sooner we realize what is going on (not always easy), the better we can put measures in place to stop it. Guilt can be a vicious cycle.
Conflicts can happen sometimes. We try to communicate openly, but sometimes it might not be possible. Find a person you trust at the University (any kind of mentor, second supervisor, "senior" colleague, Ombudsperson, Gleichstellungsperson - best to ask around a bit, use your intuition). Seek a specific meeting with me, you can always bring third persons to feel more empowered. Write memory logs!
We are open about mistakes, no progress, or other struggles. In some sense they are our day-to-day business. You can always discuss with Bene in the weekly meetings.
Human-made climate change is the greatest challenge we face as humanity.
Minimize climate impact of conferences, by travelling by train for everything reachable in <10h (exceptions e.g. for travelling with small children as appropriate).
Think twice, run once - spend time on efficiency.
We are encouraging Green computing solutions and encourage re-use in the lab where possible.
If you are thinking to apply to the lab, here are some recommendations:
Your motivation letter should make clear why you are applying. What is it, that you find interesting in our research/topics?
If you worry about a gap in your CV, a bad result, or something - adress it briefly in the motivation letter rather than hoping nobody notices it.
Lab-culture on a webpage is useless if it is not actually lived. Please contact as many PhDs/PostDocs as you want to answer all your question. Really make use of this to get a feeling of how the lab is going and how Bene is supervising. In case we have on-site visits, we will also organize such meetings.
@ current PhD Students & PostDocs: Please take the time and give honest answers to the incoming candidates. If you recommend someone not to join the lab, I would be happy to hear that feedback as well.
This philosophy is heavily inspired by Wei Ji Ma's Lab philosophy. Many of the points raised there resonated strongly with us.