KIT Graduate School

UpGrade Mobility

Graduate School of the KIT Mobility Systems Center for excellent doctorial researchers of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

About The School

The KIT Graduate School UpGrade Mobility is a network of excellent young scientists of the KIT Mobility Systems Center and brings together PhD students from different disciplines in the fields of mobility. The school offers interdisciplinary advanced qualification programs and a place for cross-disciplinary exchange, learning, and research. With individual support for its members, it provides an outstanding opportunity for further development both in the subject and transdisciplinary areas.

Individual Support

The school actively supports its members in carrying out further training measures and research stays in other countries.


A rotating training programme for interdisciplinary qualification measures promotes the further development of young scientists.


With regular events, the school offers a platform to get to know scientists from other disciplines, as well as a view beyond the horizon.

Our Topics

The graduate school is closely linked to the KIT Mobility Systems Center and its Topics. The focus is not only on individual components, but the entire mobility system, with all its aspects and interactions playing an important role. Different approaches and perspectives from the disciplines will be discussed. Therefore, our topics are not only interesting for mechanical and electrical engineers, but also economists, sociologists, traffic engineers, and many other disciplines find a home here. Consider an application, if you are interested in mobility systems:

Tabs 01

Methods and Processes in Design and Production

Researchers focus on systematic and integrated product, process and production design for the mobility of the future. The production of components poses new challenges in the areas of production system planning and quality assurance. Remanufacturing, i.e. the reprocessing of old parts, and central aspects of sustainable production are also part of the research topics that are pursued in close coordination with component development.

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Digitalization in Mobility

Digitalization is one of the main driving forces in the field of mobility. It enables a wide range of innovations in the field of automated, connected, and sustainable mobility. Current trends are aimed at more safety, energy efficiency, convenience, expanded functionality, and ever faster development cycles for software systems.

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Mobility and Society

Research under this topic provides the societal, economic, political and legal context of mobility and transport. Thus the research covers travel behaviour studies, travel demand modelling at micro- and macroscopic level, the assessment of transport policies, business models and market structures, as well as the acceptance and diffusion of emerging mobility solutions. The topic also covers scientific communications.

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Infrastructure and Traffic

Research focuses on studying transportation systems, specifically in the areas of traffic modeling, behavior modeling, empirical mobility research, and transportation engineering. This includes the use of microscopic traffic flow simulation to understand how vehicles interact within the overall traffic network. The research also examines individual travel decisions and factors influencing them, as well as the impact of different infrastructure and traffic management strategies.

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Vehicle Concepts

In the Topic Vehicle Concepts, innovative and sustainable vehicles are designed which arise from the require-ments of future-oriented mobility systems. The focus of activities is on overall system considerations, from re-search into use cases to digital design and the development of a demonstrator vehicle. Interfaces to other Topics result from the requirements, e.g. from the Topic Infrastructure and Society, as well as the technical possibilities, e.g. from the Topic group Technologies.

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Powertrain Systems

Research focuses on powertrain systems and their components with regard to intrasystemic and intersystemic interactions. With the help of validation methods and procedures for the analysis and synthesis of complex systems, innovation processes and technology developments and their use are researched, accompanied and supported. The realisation of technology demonstrators up to prototype scale is part of the research understanding.

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Production Systems

The increasing complexity and diversity of variants due to individualization as well as the resulting low quantities lead to major challenges in process and production design in combination with volatile markets and legislation. New manufacturing and process technologies must be developed to enable a successful transition to sustainable mobility.

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Lightweight Design

The topic lightweight design develops innovative solutions for customized and resource-efficient lightweight constructions for mobility systems and transport infrastructure. The demand for lower energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions means that the need for innovative lightweight solutions is high.

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Tabs 09

Chassis & Body

Various research activities relating to the complete vehicle and in particular to the chassis and body of the vehicle are pooled under the “Chassis and Body” topic. It is focused on interactions of individual components in the vehicle as a mechatronic system. Methods are developed to handle systems interactions in the vehicle development process.

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Tabs 10

Electrics and Electronics

Automotive electrical/electronic development is undergoing a rapid change process. High-performance technologies allow the integration of more and more functionality, which has a differentiating effect on competition and is increasingly shaping the brands. Current trends include electromobility, driver assistance systems for longitudinal and lateral dynamics, and all forms of services via the air interface.

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The graduate school offers you and your institute many advantages:

Supra-disciplinary training

Training courses on scientific writing, good scientific work, time and project management, ethics in the lab and many others are part of the standard repertoire of the graduate school and are offered regularly. However, the school also offers the opportunity to attend further training courses, which are coordinated individually with the doctoral students.

Interdisciplinary competence

Through the broad spectrum of mobility, the school offers you an exclusive view beyond your horizon. Topic lectures with changing subjects and online seminars with topics from the University of Leeds cooperation broaden the range of knowledge considerably.

Networking platform

At various events you will get to know scientists from other disciplines. Not only do members come from a wide range of institutes with different specialities, but each one is working on a different research topic. Through events and networking, you will gain insights into many other fields of research.

Winter School

The Graduate School hosts an annual Winter School to which international PhD students are invited to come to Karlsruhe to spend a week discussing a specific topic together with the members of the school, attending lectures and events and developing new ideas.

Stays abroad

The Graduate School has the possibility to support its members during research visits in foreign countries. This includes organisational support in the run-up to the trip as well as financial support during the stay. It is a great concern of the school to make such stays possible for its members. Visits ranging from a few days to several months are possible.

Added value for institutes

• The participation in the graduate school counts as an “Ex-Ini” activity for the institute and can be listed towards the Presidential Board.

• Contact with other institutes within and outside the KIT Mobility Systems Center is intensified.

• Receive best practice examples and feedback from experienced reviewers, increasing your scientific quality.


Voices from our Members

Who could better tell you about the advantages of being a member of the Graduate School than our members?

Testimonial 02
— The Graduate School supported me with exciting workshops and lectures almost throughout my entire doctorate. I received special support in organising my stay abroad. During this time, the Graduate School helped me both financially and with organisational aspects. For this I am very thankful!
Sofie Ehrhardt -

Stay Abroad

Testimonial 01
— With the support of the Graduate School, I was able to successfully apply for a mobility workshop in New Delhi, India. The school helped me especially with the initial networking and the application. That was a unique experience for me, and I am still in contact with some of the researchers today.
Daniel Bogdoll -


Testimonial 03
— Through UpGrade Mobility I have met a lot of people from different institutes. It is always interesting for me to have workshops and discussions on different topics and to learn from the experiences and views of others. It really helps to have PhD students from different disciplines to get a new perspective and insight into other fields.
Julia Gandert -



If you are interested in becoming a member of the Graduate School, take a look at our application requirements and the process details. In case you have any questions, contact the General Director.

Features 01

General Information

Applications are open all year round. You can apply in German or English. The operational management decides about applications at the end of each quarter. The following requirements hold:

  • You need to be a doctoral reasearcher at KIT with a focus on mobility research areas
  • Your acceptance as a doctoral candidate by the faculty should not be longer than 12 months ago
  • Your institute agrees to pay a starting fee in the amount of 1,000 € if your application is succesful
Features 02

Application Process

If you are curious and want to apply for the UpGrade Mobility Graduate School, please attach the following information to your application:

  • Motivation Letter and Curriculum Vitae
  • Study certificates with grades (BA and MA)
  • Certification of the acceptance as doctoral candidate by the faculty
  • Letter of recommendation from your professor in a separate e-mail to the General Director
Apply now

Frequently asked questions

  • What is UpGrade Mobility?

    UpGrade Mobility is one of the KIT Graduate Schools for excellent doctorial researchers, setteled at the KIT Mobility Systems Center. This program represents an interdisciplinary qualification platform. The professional aim is a systemic qualification of the doctorial researchers beyond their professional domains. This is necessary due to the high interdisciplinary of mobility.

  • Why should I join UpGrade Mobility?

    In addition to professional and supra-disciplinary qualification courses, you will be part of an excellent interdisciplinary team of doctoral researchers. Through events and networking activities, you will improve your personal skills and make an important contribution to mobility research in Karlsruhe. In addition, there are many benefits for you as a doctoral student, as well as for your institute.

  • What are the supra-disciplinary qualifications?

    Most of the supra-disciplinary qualification courses are provided by the KHYS and the participation is organized by the school. These include standard courses about scientific working and writing, time management, career options etc. But also non-standard courses like creation of a patent, working in an interdisciplinary team etc.

  • What are the interdisciplinary qualifications?

    The school offers a monthly changing lecture topic from the fields of the KIT Mobility Systems Center. In addition, a cooperation with the Graduate School of the University of Leeds offers participation in their online seminars. Furthermore, the Winter School gives the opportunity for intensive discussion with international PhD students on various specialist topics.