The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG) is Germany's leading research institution. Based in Munich, it features over 80 research institutes mainly across Germany.
Within the IMPRS-UFAST the Max Planck Society is represented by the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) and several independent research groups based in Hamburg.
The Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) is a research institution of the Helmholtz Association and one of Germany's premier locations for photon science.
Photon science at DESY distinguishes itself by a unique array of light sources, including FLASH, presently the only Free-Electron Laser (FEL) to generate high-power ultra-short pulses of laser light in the soft X-ray range.
The Universität Hamburg is a research-intensive university in Hamburg, Germany. With over 38,000 students in 6 Faculties (or Schools) it is the the largest education provider in northern Germany and Germany's third biggest university.
Within the University, the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences is the key cooperation partner for the IMPRS-UFAST.
The European XFEL is a new X-ray research facility in the Hamburg area due to fully take up operations in 2017. It will generate extremely intense X-ray flashes thus opening up areas of research that were previously inaccessible. Using the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, scientists will be able to map the atomic details of viruses, decipher the molecular composition of cells, take threedimensional images of the nanoworld, film chemical reactions and study processes such as those occurring deep inside planets. The European XFEL will generate X-ray radiation with properties similar to those of laser light. All in all, there will be several light sources with different characteristics.
The Max Planck Society, the Universität Hamburg, and DESY cooperate under the umbrella of the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), which is designed to advance science with next generation light sources.
About the IMPRS initiative
International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) are the brainchild of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). The initiative, which was launched in 1999, aims at improving education and training for talented young scientists through creating centres of excellence for graduate education and research.
Structured PhD programme
The IMPRS-UFAST offers a structured doctoral programme which combines thesis research with a varied programme of academic training and skills development opportunities. Students will focus on a research project in a chosen area which they will largely work on independently guided by their supervisor. Further opportunities for teamwork and discussions exit in the working group in which the project is embedded as well as within the wider context of the research environment.
Students will benefit from courses and workshops covering a wide variety of special topic and taught by renowned experts in their field. Courses can be chosen according to the specialisation. Finally, a set of transferable skills courses are offered to give students the best possible foundation for their future careers.
IMPRS-UFAST students normally graduate from the programme with a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat) after 3 years which is awarded by Hamburg University. An extension of the doctoral studies period may be possible. The programme starts in autumn each year and is entirely in English to facilitate discussion amongst the international audience of the School.
How to apply
IMPRS-UFAST is an interdisciplinary programme and it is important that you get a good overview of the various research areas covered under the Research School. Take some time to make yourself familiar with different fields of research and research interests of the individual staff members. Which areas do you find particularly interesting? Who are potential supervisor(s) in your chosen area(s)?
Be thorough in the preparation of your application. Admission to IMPRS-UFAST is competitive and we will have to go through many applications in a short period of time. It is therefore important that you submit your application documents according to the application guidance. Please note that IMPRS-UFAST cannot accept paper applications or applications sent to us by email, All documents must be submitted using the online application system. Any exceptions will be explicitly stated in the guidance.
We can only consider complete applications that have reached us within the deadline.
Please note that you will need to complete the online form and upload all supporting documents in one step. It will not be possible to log onto the application system again to amend or complete parts of your application.
Step 1: Online application
Applications must be submitted using the online application form. We are unable to consider any applications sent to us via email or mail.
Step 2: Supporting documents
You will be asked to upload the supporting documentation required for the application. This includes:
- Letter of Motivation and Research Interests
- Masters Certificate and Transcript
- Bachelors Certificate and Transcript
- English Language Confirmation (e.g. test certificates like TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Advanced English test, Cambridge Professional English test)
Step 3: Submitting the application
Once you have sucessfully completed your online application and uploaded your supporting documents, you will receive a notice of arrival.
Step 4: References
You must provide two letters of reference as part of your application.
1. Once we have received and accepted your application, we will send you an e-mail with the reference form and an e-mail address.
2. You should forward this e-mail to your chosen referees.
3. If you want to provide the reference form to your referees now, you can download it here. Please rememeber: your referees need to send their reference letters directly to the e-mail address that we will give you after you have send your application to us.
IMPORTANT: It is your responsibility to contact your referees when you receive an e-mail from us, so they can send their letter of reference to the address we provide.
Take your time when completing the forms and carefully read through the questions. Please remember that you will not be able to save entries or log onto the online registration system again once you have submitted the form. It may be advisable to draft text in a word processors and then copy and paste it into the form.
- Start compiling the supporting documents early. You will need some time to gather all required information.
- Make sure you contact your referees and inform them of your application to IMPRS-UFAST to find out if they are willing to provide a recommendation. You will need to give them sufficient time to write their letters.
- Look out for emails from the IMPRS-UFAST office. Your spam filter might sort out emails, so check your spam folder regularly and make sure our email address is added to your trusted sender list if necessary.
- If you have any questions or problems regarding the application process or the online system, please contact the IMPRS-UFAST office.