In September 2010 the PhD students founded their own initative, which helps to represent the interests of PhD students. Regular meetings and other activities are organized to support interaction and communication between the five departments of the DSMZ. Since January 2022 Christoph Sicking and Maham Ijaz represent the PhD students.

The DSMZ PhD Initiative is part of the Leibniz-PhD Network and collaborates also with the Network of networks, an initiative also interacting with Max Planck PhDnet and the Helmholtz Juniors.