International PhD Programme @ IMB

International PhD Programme (IPP) gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Projects within the Programme address key questions related to the overarching theme of Gene Regulation, Epigenetics & Genome Stability.

  • Our groups cover a broad range of expertise in biochemistry, genetics, cell and developmental biology, bioinformatics, systems biology, and applied physics.The fields we study range from embryonic development, ageing and disease to analysis of high-throughput datasets, modeling of regulatory gene networks and the development of ground breaking super-resolution microscopes. This range of expertise and the open and vibrant atmosphere within the Programme encourages multidisciplinary collaborations and innovative research. Moreover, a range of scientific and social events are organised to ensure high levels of exchange and collaboration between the participating groups.

Institute of Molecular Biology

The Programme is coordinated by the Institute of Molecular Biology - a recently founded centre of excellence in the life sciences. Participating groups are located at the:

There are 38 groups participating in the IPP. For a full list, please see IPP Groups.

  • Core funding for the International PhD Programme comes from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. As a PhD student your research will be overseen by an expert Thesis Advisory Committee who will be there to support you in your research and provide you with advice. This programme thus provides an excellent opportunity to interact closely with a number of top scientists during the course of your study.
  • To download our flyer for the International PhD Programme, please click here: PDF. If you have any questions that are not answered here, you can contact us using the details on the contact page.


[info title="Info message" icon="info-circle"] Registration deadline: 1 May 2016 Application deadline: 8 May 2016 All applicants will be informed about the result of the selection process latest in the first week of June 2016. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to Interview Days at IMB, which will be held 25 - 27 July 2016. Successful applicants will start their PhD studies between September 2016 and March 2017. 


  • The International PhD Programme includes groups at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU), Mainz's University Medical Centre (UMC) and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P). Please visit the IPP groups page for an overview of all groups involved in the IPP. Note that not all groups involved in the IPP offer a new position every call. 
  • You can select up to 5 recruiting groups in your field of interest and you can still modify or extend this selection if you are invited to our interview days and come to know the Group Leaders in person.


  • The IPP wants to attract the brightest minds from all over the world. We are looking for creative and ambitious students in the field of life sciences who are looking for challenging work at the cutting edge of science. Our student community currently consists of more than 90 PhD students from 20 different countries. Each call we receive about 500 applications from students all over the world, for approximately 10 – 15 positions. 

Working language

  • As IMB is an international institution the first criterion for eligibility is that you are able to communicate in English, which is our working language.
  • Education and experience
You should have prior experience in a research environment and have, or be about to complete, a Master's or equivalent degree (at least 4 years of university education).

Application Process

1) Online registration

  • Register online to provide us with your contact details and the details of at least two referees. Referees should be senior scientists who know you well.  
  • Once you have completed the registration form, your nominated referees will receive a personalised link to the standard reference form and upload page. You will be notified by email when a reference letter is submitted.  
  • We will not consider applications until 2 reference letters are received. Therefore, please ensure that you contact your referees in advance of registering to inform them of your intention to apply to the IPP, and to confirm that they are able to provide a reference by the specified deadline (8 May 2016).

Information required for registration:

  • Personal data, including your address and contact details
  • Contact details of your referees
Please register here: LINK TO ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM (Deadline for registration 1 May 2016)

2) Online application form

  • Once you have registered, you will receive a link to the online application form. It will ask you to provide the information and documents listed below.
  • As the form cannot be saved, we strongly advise you to prepare the necessary information before you begin. Texts can then be pasted into the form as required. The application must be completed in English.  

Information required for application (click here to download an example):

  • Details of your degrees (BSc, MSc)
  • Details of any other post-graduate degrees, awards, honours or distinctions (description with a maximum of 250 words)
  • Details of past research experiences
  • A list of your publications (PubMed format, maximum of 300 words) and your conference contributions (title of presentation, date and location of the conference)
  • Which groups you are interested in working with; up to 5 may be selected. Please note: not all groups offer projects in every call!
  • A motivational statement describing your interest in the IPP and your chosen groups as well as your scientific goals (maximum of 300 words)

You will be asked to upload the following documents in PDF format:

  • Curriculum vitae (max size 3 MB)
  • A single file (max size 4 MB) containing:
  1. High school certificate
  2. University studies (including certificates of qualification and transcripts of records)
  3. English language test certificate (not mandatory, only if available)

[info title="Info message" icon="info-circle"]If degree forms and records from your university are not available in English, we do not require authorised translations for this application. If you encounter any technical problems, please contact the IPP coordinator (email).[/info]

3) Interview days

Shortlisted students will be invited to Mainz for interviews from 25 - 27 July 2016. The interviews will be held over 3 days and include presentations by the Group Leaders and the applicants as well as in-depth interviews in the group(s) you could imagine to work with. You must register by 1 May 2016 to be eligible to apply for the summer call. 

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International PhD Programme (IPP) gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Projects within the Programme address key questions related to the overarching theme of Gene Regulation, Epigenetics & Genome Stability.