Where / What / Who at WIAS

The WIAS institute is situated in the heart of Berlin, close to Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstrasse, and Unter den Linden.
Surrounding the institute, you find numerous government buildings, embassies, and Humboldt University. Additionally, the vicinity boasts several of Berlin's most notable landmarks.

At WIAS there are

3 Buildings

  • The main building: Mohrenstrasse 39
  • Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, 4th floor, which includes the library (contact Dr. Polla)
  • Hausvogteiplatz 11A, 3rd and 4th floor, which also contains the Secretariat of the IMU

8 Research Groups

1 Flexible Research Platform with 5 groups

The PhD students are organized in the PhD Network

  • The PhD Networks aim is to facilitate the exchange between PhD students and to provide a platform for events specifically for young scientists. The representatives of the network are elected annually. In 2023, the elected network representatives are Mr. Runge and Mr. van Oosterhout.

Besides the director's office and the administration there is the works council that represents the employees of the institute. Furthermore there are numerous commissions.

The Buddies can answer your questions

The buddies form a group that is approachable in an informal manner for any question related to Berlin or our Institute, especially for newcomers. They meet monthly for a coffee/tea/hot chocolate and anyone is welcome to join in, ask questions or just have a chat. If you already have a question you would like to ask, such as how other people have dealt with certain things when coming to Berlin and WIAS, you email one of the following persons:

Amal Alphonse
Dr. Amal Alphonse (FG8)
@ WIAS since 09-2016, before: Warwick (UK).
Languages: English, Tamal.
Hobbies: playing piano, music, coffee, books.

Pavel Dvurechensky
Dr. Pavel Dvurechensky (FG6)
@ WIAS since 2015, before: Russia.
Married, with daughter (2013). Languages: English, Russian.
Hobbies: traveling, coffee, eating out.

Thomas Either
Dr. Thomas Either (FG1)
@ WIAS since 04-2020, before: Darmstadt.
Languages: English, German.
Hobbies: hiking, cycling, reading, going out with friends.

Yiannis Hadjimichael
Dr. Yiannis Hadjimichael (LG5)
@ WIAS since 2020, before Budapest.
Languages: English, Greek.
Hobbies: board games, badminton, hiking.

Julia Hoerrmann
Dr. Julia Hörrmann (LG6)
@ WIAS since 2024, Before: Uni Tübingen, ETH Zürich.
Languages: German, English.
Hobbies: chamber music, hiking, board games.

Julian Kern
Julian Kern (FG5)
@ WIAS since 10-2022.
Languages: English, German, French.

Jonas Köppl
Jonas Köppl (LG6)
@ WIAS since 09-2022.
Languages: English, German.
Hobbies: Roadcycling, Theater, Bouldering.

Vaios Laschos
Dr. Vaios Laschos (FG6)
@ WIAS since March 2021.
Languages: English, Greek.

Anieza Maltsi
Dr. Anieza Maltsi (FG1)
@ WIAS since 2017,
Languages: English, Greek.
Hobbies: drinks&darts with friends, chess, cooking.

Daniel Runge
Daniel Runge (FG3)
@ WIAS since Februari 2022.
Languages: English, German.

Leon Schütz
Leon Schütz (FG1)
@ WIAS since 11-2022, before: Saarbrücken.
Languages: English, German.
Hobbies: Football, Watching sport events, coffee, going out with friends.

Helia Shafigh
Helia Shafigh (FG5)
@ WIAS since 09-2022.
Languages: English, German, Persian.

Willem van Oosterhout
Willem van Oosterhout (FG1)
@ WIAS since 09-2021, before: Nijmegen (NL).
Languages: English, Dutch, German.
Hobbies: hiking, cooking, reading, playing games.

Abel Thayil
Dr. Abel Thayil (FG2)
@ WIAS since 2024, Before: Paris.
Languages: English, Hindi and French.
Hobbies: Basketball, etymologies, meeting people.

Willem van Zuijlen
Dr. Willem van Zuijlen (FG5)
@ WIAS since 04-2020, before: Leiden (NL).
Languages: English, Dutch, German.

 

Before Your Arrival

Work Visa

You must apply for a work visa before coming to Germany at the German embassy or Consulate General in your home country or country of residence. To facilitate this process, Human Resources will prepare an "Attestation of Employment." Entering Germany with a valid work visa is crucial. A Schengen or tourist visa does not authorize you to work at WIAS, and obtaining a valid residence and work permit in Berlin can take several months. During this time, you will not receive any income, as WIAS is prohibited from employing you without a work permit.

Our human resources will assist you to get a valid work visa:
   Mrs. Heike Sill and Marie-Christin Stöbe
   Administration

Health insurance

Health insurance is a legal requirement for all persons who reside in Germany and you need to provide details on your health insurance upon signing your contract at the WIAS. As part of your employment contract, half of all contributions will be paid by your employer and the remainder by you (50% each). Your share will be deducted from your salary before tax.

You are free to choose your public health insurance. While insurance rates are determined by your income and thus identical for all insurance companies, covered services might differ between insurance companies. The biggest public insurance companies (by number of members) are "Techniker Krankenkasse" (TK), "Barmer", "DAK Gesundheit" and "AOK".

Once you have obtained health insurance coverage, you will receive a letter to your home address with your personal identification number. The number equals a social security number and also serves as your identification number for the pension insurance. Please forward this number to the personnel department upon receipt. In addition to your health insurance, it is highly recommended that you consider a private property damage liability insurance as well as a private accident insurance.

Social security system

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has published a brochure providing a comprehensive overview of the Social Security system in the Federal Republic of Germany. The contents include pension, health, long-term care, and occupational accident insurance schemes, as well as the fields of employment promotion, labor law, educational assistance, rehabilitation of disabled persons, housing allowance, and social assistance.
» Social Security at a Glance

Accommodation

Renting an apartment in Berlin has become more expensive over the past years. Therefore, we suggest that you allocate sufficient time to search for an apartment to ensure you find the right one eventually. Upon signing the contract for the apartment, you will be asked to pay a security deposit, which typically amounts to (up to) three months' rent, excluding utilities (electricity is usually not included in the utilities and must be paid separately). You will receive this deposit back once you move out, provided that you leave the apartment in the same condition as when you moved in.

Here are some links that might assist you in finding accommodation:
   » Immobilienscout - Apartments in general
   » WG gesucht - Apartments for single or shared use
   » HU Berlin Gästehaus - The Humboldt University's guesthouse
   » Berlinovo - Furnished apartments
   » Housing Anywhere - Mostly shared apartments

Once you have your accommodation your landlord must provide a form for you to register your residence (see Address registration below: Upon Arrival).

Beware of scam: If a landlord, before showing a flat, asks for a deposit to be sure that you have sufficiently strong intentions to rent an apartment, this may be a sign of a scam. Motivation can be that he/she needs to commute to show the flat and wants to be sure that the time will not be wasted. Sometimes the scheme is tricky and looks safe, but it is still a scam.

Not all landlords treat their renters well. For that reason it may be a good idea to get an insurance for that (Rechtsschutz). There are also a number of unions like the Mieterschutzbund and the Berliner Mieterverein who can write lawfully recognised letters to the landlord for a small fee and consult for free. A membership is typically around 50 euros per year and one can often add a Rechtsschutzversicherung for another 50 euros per year.

Upon Arrival

Address registration

Everybody living in Berlin is required to register their local address at the registration office within two weeks after moving in.
This proof of residence is needed for opening a bank account and, more importantly, for your application for a residence permit (for non-EU citizens). As long waiting hours may occur, it is best to schedule an appointment for address registration online (if possible - unfortunately, appointments are often booked out for the entire time frame available). You might also try to schedule an appointment at one of the "Bürgeramt" venues outside of the city center as this might improve chances to get an appointment faster / within a moderate time frame. Please find a list of all registration offices at: » Bürgerämter.

Upon registering, you need to show your passport, your birth certificate and marriage certificate (if applicable), so please make sure to bring these documents along. You can already download the form that you need to fill out: » Anmeldeformular (unfortunately only available in German).

Tax number

If you have a German work contract (or equivalent; this does not apply to scholarships), you are liable to pay income tax. To fulfill this requirement, you need to submit an application at the local Department of Finance (Finanzamt). You must fill out the form "Antrag auf Ausstellung einer Bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug" and take it with you to the appointment. For assistance in this process, please contact the WIAS administration.

Residence Permit (if applicable)

If you do not have a passport from an EU member state and you plan to stay in Germany for more than three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) at the Berlin Immigration Office. Once you have obtained your registration certificate (see "Address registration" above), you can apply for the residence permit. Please note that the entire process of granting your residence permit may take 4 - 8 weeks. Therefore, apply for it as soon as possible to avoid potential expiration of your current visa.

At WIAS, Mrs. Schneider (secretary of research group 6) will assist you with the application or extension of your residence permit. For guidance please schedule an appointment with her:
   Mrs. Christine Schneider
   Office: Mohrenstrasse 39, room 210
   Phone: 030 20372-474
   christine.schneider@wias-berlin.de

More Information:
   » German residence permit
   » Residence permit for qualified skilled workers with an academic education
   » Residency for employment as a visiting scholar or academic staff

Bank account

Opening a bank account is rather easy. All you have to bring along is your registration certificate and passport. It is recommended to open a bank account as soon as possible (as you will need your bank details as part of your contract paperwork)

Radio and TV fees

Germany's obligatory radio and TV fees, known as "Rundfunkbeitrag," are a mandatory contribution that every household must pay to fund public broadcasting services in the country. The fee is not linked to the actual ownership of a TV or radio device but applies to any residence, regardless of whether the occupants use broadcasting services or not. The fee is charged per household, so it only has to be paid once if you share a household with others. For private households, the current fee is EURO 18.36 per month.

Living in Berlin

Kindergarden

To apply for a Kindergarten (or daycare) spot for your child, you need to obtain a "Kindergarden voucher" (Kita Gutschein) first. You can apply for that voucher online at the » Senatsverwaltung » Kita Gutschein or at the local district office (Bezirksamt) in your Berlin district of residence.

WIAS employees can find additional information, assistance, and advice on our » internal pages

Public transport

Berlin has a dense network of public transport including local trains (S-Bahn), regional trains (RB/RE) subways (U-Bahn), buses, trams and even ferries.

Single ride tickets are usually valid for 2 hours (for one-way trips, no returns). Berlin and the surrounding area are divided into public transport zones. Zone A covers the inner city within the so-called S-Bahn ring (S-Bahn lines S41/S42), zone B includes the area around the S-Bahn ring up to the city borders, and zone C covers the area around Berlin's city borders (including the BER airport). All tickets must be purchased according to the zones travelled in. They are available for the zones A/B, A/B/C, or B/C. Always check your itinerary to prevent fines for tickets not covering your traveled zone.

For a monthly fee of EURO 49, there is now also a subscription-based ticket available, which is valid throughout Germany. For more information, check » BVG Deutschland Ticket

Employees of the Forschungsverbund Berlin are entitled to a VBB-corporate ticket. This personal, non-transferable ticket is valid for the chosen public transport zones in Berlin and Brandenburg (VBB), and costs less than the normal VBB-ticket. The ticket can be ordered on the website of the S-Bahn as a subscription. For more information, please refer to our » internal pages or contact our Human Resources.

Waste separation / recycling

Waste separation and recycling are vital in Germany. Various bins are present in front of houses, each serving a distinct purpose. Paper waste goes in blue bins, compost/organic waste in brown bins, and packaging waste in yellow bins or sacks. Residual waste is placed in grey or black bins. Glass and cans are recyclable and often refundable. Non-deposit glass can be placed in designated containers. Stores have collection boxes for batteries. Recycling centers handle large waste and old appliances. Shops no longer offer free plastic bags to reduce waste, so it's wise to bring your own bags.

Doing sport

All of the universities in Berlin provide sport classes (everything you can imagine, also winter sport trips) which everyone can attend (not only students). Students pay the reduced price, of course, but the offer is still very cheap even for people not associated with the universities. This is also a great opportunity for those who are new in Berlin to meet other (young) people.

Sports at universities:
   » TU Sport
   » HU Berlin Hochschulsport
   » FU Hochschulsport

Another commonly used option to do sports is Urban sports.

At WIAS

WIAS Videos

Mathematics is everywhere

Our universal language

Language courses

WIAS offers weekly language classes for employees to improve their German both for beginners and advanced learners. Course fees are covered by WIAS. Kindly contact WIAS administration if you would like to participate

Activities and Events

Scientific events:

Social events: most Thursdays between 13:00 and 14:00 there is the institute's teatime in the lobby for informal meetings and conversations. Other events like company outings, board game evenings etc. are described on our intranet page: » social activities and events at WIAS

Procedures at WIAS

WIAS employees find ample information on our intranet about procedures, regulations and who to contact for what in our WIAS handbook .

A must-read for everybody who starts working at WIAS is the Welcome page for new employees which gives an overview of the most important things to know.

Doing a PhD at WIAS

Registering at a university

When you finish your PhD, you need to defend at one of the three Berlin universities (FU/HU/TU). This is (almost) always the university with which your supervisor is affiliated. However, you can register already when you start your PhD at WIAS. This has the following advantages:

  • Semesterticket: This is a ticket which can be used for the public transport in zones ABC, and you can take a bicycle! Note that this ticket is cheaper than getting a subscription from the BVG/VBB. As a PhD student, getting the Semesterticket is optional.
  • Student card: With this card you get several discounts, e.g., at all the Studentenwerk-Mensas in Berlin, museums, the Konzerthaus, zoos, etc.

Note that you need to pay for each semester for which you are registered!
For more info on registering, see:
   » FU - Enrollment in PhD and doctoral programs
   » HU - PhD Studies
   » TU - Applying and Enrolling for Doctoral Studies

Berlin Mathematical School (BMS)
Registration to the BMS

WIAS itself does not have a graduate school, but the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) is open for all math PhD students in Berlin. Registering is free (but only possible if you have first registered at a university), and means you can attend the activities they organize. These include:

  • MATH+-Fridays, where a (well-known) mathematician is invited to give a talk, combined with the "What is ...?" seminar before, giving a short introduction to the topic.
  • Soft-skill seminars.
  • Social activities.

You will get a registration form for the BMS when you sign your contract.

BMS Superviser agreement

As part of the BMS registration process, you will sign a supervision agreement together with your supervisor. Especially when you have multiple PIs, or your topic is not entirely clear at the start, it is useful to set clear expectations both for you, and for your supervisor.

BMS Mentoring

As part of the BMS, you get to choose a mentor (click here for a list). This mentor is not related to your supervisor, and can serve as someone to give a second opinion, help in case of problems with your supervisor, give career advice, etc. Usually, meetings are once per semester (but can be more), and meetings are confidential. For more info, see the BMS mentoring guidelines.

Attending courses at universities

It is possible to follow courses at any of the three Berlin universities. To access all the course materials, it might be necessary to register (as guest) in the online course environment. For a list of all courses, see the websites of the FU, HU and TU. Usually, the BMS also lists all relevant math courses on their webpage. Note, however, that this list might be incomplete!

PhD lunch and seminar
  • Every Tuesday the PhDs go for lunch. At 13:00 they leave in front of the main building (Mohrenstrasse 39) and usually go to the Mensa HfM.
  • Every second Monday of the month at 14.00, there is the PhD seminar. Here, a PhD student will tell us what they are doing in a relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes, we also invite an alumnus to talk about life after a PhD at WIAS. For more info, see the website for WIAS-PhD students.

Research Associations

Women in mathematics

European Women in Mathematics is an international association of women working in the field of mathematics in Europe. There is a general meeting and a summer school every other year, a newsletter twice a year, a website and a mailing list, a mentoring program, funding for traveling and more. Anyone (regardless of gender) can become a member. For more information see the website of European Women in Mathematics.

Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association connects the WIAS to 96 other independent research institutions that range in focus from natural, engineering and environmental sciences to economics, spatial and social sciences and the humanities. For example the PhD at Leibniz network connects the PhD students from the different Leibniz institutes and and the Postdocs at Leibniz network connects the Postdoctoral researchers.

Berlin Mathematics Research Center: Math+

Math+ is a Cluster of Excellence funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation). It contains the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), which is the joint graduate school of Berlin mathematics (of the three universities), but also the MATH+ Postdoctoral Program which addresses early-stage postdoctoral researchers. For more information, see the Math+ website.