Writing laboratory


Writing laboratory is an intense practical course that helps participants prepare, write and revise a full research article manuscript in 10 weeks and get it ready for publication.

The course is suited for researchers from life sciences, natural sciences, and the quantitative branch of social sciences.

It is ideal for both inexperienced PhD students getting ready to write their first research article as well as seasoned scientists frustrated with writing, feeling that their process is ineffective and takes too long.

Furthermore, busy researchers at any academic stage appreciate the intense drafting week where they can progress quickly with undistracted focus and daily trainer feedback.

The course can be conducted in an online or blended format (combination of in-person drafting phase and online preparation & revision phases). Furthermore, the group sessions can be complemented with individual trainer support (one-on-one consultations with text feedback).

A popular version contains an in-person drafting week with daily text feedback for all ten participants. In this case, the course is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Kerstin Minnich (scientific writing trainer & editor).

Once a year this course is organized online by the trainer and can be booked by individual researchers.

Course structure & contents

I. Preparation (4 weeks online)

In the first phase participants prepare everything for effective and quick write-up.
Online materials (videos, texts & checklists) guide the participants to

  • select and finalize figures and tables
  • create a storyline
  • select a journal
  • write a preliminary Abstract
  • learn how to structure each section
  • learn how to approach the writing efficiently

Optional: (bi-)weekly online Q&A sessions for support with individual challenges.

II. Drafting (1 week in person or 2 weeks online)

In the second phase particiapnts write the first draft of their manuscript, completing one major section of a research article each full day.

This part can be conducted in five full days in person (on-site/retreat) or in ten half-day (4-hour) live online sessions. Both versions contain daily

  • warm up session with freewriting and goal setting
  • structured writing time
  • coffee breaks with yoga
  • Q&A session

Optional: individual consultations with trainer with the possibility of text feedback.

III. Revision (4 weeks online)

In the third phase participants revise their manuscript and get it ready for submission.
Participants are supported by

  • detailed step-by-step revision instructions including practical checklists
  • information on the publication processes (peer review, writing a cover letter, responding to reviewer comments)

Optional: (bi-)weekly online Q&A sessions, peer-feedback training, one-on-one consultations with text feedback.

About the trainers

Dr. Martina Michalikova is a biologist and computational neuroscientist who obtained her doctoral title in 2016 from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. During her PostDoc period she acquired further qualification as a writing consultant specializing in scientific writing in English as a second language. Since 2017, she is working as a freelance trainer in scientific writing & publishing, giving workshops, leading writing groups, and providing individual writing support as a coach & consultant.

Dr. Kerstin Minnich is a biologist who obtained her doctoral title in Human Biology at the Ulm University Hospital, followed by a postdoctoral research period at the Leibniz Institute on Aging in Jena in the fields of endocrinology, immunology and cancer biology. In 2016, she founded the editing service LIFE SCIENCE WRITING. Additionally, she completed a writing consultant training at the University of Education Freiburg. Besides editing scientific texts, she is now working as an individual writing coach and giving workshops on scientific writing for students, PhD candidates and postdocs in life sciences.

Participant feedback

I strongly advice other colleagues to join the course. I saw myself doing within 5 days things that I would have never been able to do within a month!

I learned so many useful things about writing, reading, drafting. I was blown away by the level of expertise and commitment to the course. The video-format and the option to click a “finish” button after every lesson was very satisfying. Overall I am certain that my manuscript is much better now than it would have otherwise turned out. So thank you very much for this great course 🙂

I took home that there are so many helpful things that could be implemented within the department / groups like more structured revising / correcting of papers, regular peer feedback rounds or writing sessions.