Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology Doctoral Fellowship Program 2019, Germany

Publish Date: Jan 21, 2019

Deadline: Feb 04, 2019

Degree Requirements

To be accepted as a doctoral student, you must hold a Master, Diplom, or equivalent degree in a subject relevant to our programme. In exceptional cases we may accept students with an excellent BSc (1st class honours; 4-year degree) who may need to attend additional courses and seminars during their first year. Additional requirements will be defined on a case-by-case basis.

Language Requirements

The language of the programme is English. Therefore, a very good knowledge of English is absolutely required, both for the selection interview and later for the doctoral programme. A working knowledge of German is very useful for living in Germany but is not required for the doctoral programme.

We encourage you to support your application with scores of internationally valid language exams like TOEFL, IELTS, or other tests. This will make the evaluation of your application easier for us. If you do not support your application with an English test we may conduct a telephone interview with you before the interview workshop in Potsdam.

Institution code (DI code) for the TOEFL test: 4240 (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology)

Required Documents

At the end of the online application we ask you to upload the following two documents as PDF:

  1. Your CV including a personal statement about your motivation.
    The personal statement is similar to the cover letter you would write in a written application. We would like to hear about your research interests, your background and career goals. With your motivation statement you can tell us why specifically you would like to join our doctoral programme and convince us that you are an ideal candidate.
  2. Your academic degree documents, transcripts and language test.
    These are documents relevant to your application: your Bachelor and Master degree certificates and transcripts, for example. In addition, if you have taken a language test include a copy of the test certificate.
    All submitted documents and certificates must be in English or German. If they are not in either language, please submit a copy of the original document and a translation into English. Candidates who are accepted into the programme will have to show the original documents and, if applicable, certified translations into English when they register with the University.

All documents should be converted into PDF format before uploading them. If possible, try to optimize the size of the PDF.

Please note that we can only consider applications that are complete.

Research Interest

In our application form, we ask you to name three IMPRS faculty members whose research is of interest to you and whose research groups you would like to join should you be a successful candidate. You should explain your motivation for choosing a research group and tell us why specifically you are interested in the research of this group. Moreover, we ask you to write an essay that addresses the research of the group that you would like to join the most. In your essay, you can show us your ability to think independently and creatively about science.

You can find a list of our faculty members with brief descriptions of their research on the “IMPRS faculty” page. If you click on the name of a faculty member, you are guided to their websites where you find more information about the research in the faculty member’s group and department. Please note that some faculty members may not be available for new projects during specific application calls.

Evaluation and Selection Procedure

All applications will be reviewed during the application time frame. A shortlist will be created based on the best applications and excellent reference letters. Please do not send references directly to us, we will contact your referees. We may contact your referees before the application deadline, and we may also contact you if we have any questions regarding your application.

The best candidates will be invited for our two-day selection workshop. The workshop will take place about 8-10 weeks after the application deadline. On the first day, candidates will give a 10 minute oral presentation about their previous scientific work (e.g. their Masters thesis) and are then asked questions by the audience for 5-10 minutes. On the second day of the workshop, there will be half hour interviews with faculty and coordinators. We may provide you with one or two publications as preparatory material for the interviews 10 days in advance. During the workshop, you will have the chance to visit research groups and talk to group members. You will also get the chance to meet students from the doctoral programme and get a guided tour to learn more about the Institute and University of Potsdam.

Final decisions for the awarding of doctoral fellowships will be within three weeks after the selection workshop.

Applications can be submitted only via the online application form. Please complete the online application in English. Because we can only accept applications that are complete, you should take your time when you fill in the online form. You can click on the online application link and study the application form, our requirements, and questions before you actually begin to complete the form. In addition, have a look at the PDF with tips for filling in the application. You can dowload it from the 'Helpful Hints' box on the right.

The application form must be filled out in one session. Once you begin to fill in the form, you should be prepared to answer all questions in one session and upload your documents at the end. You will not be able to save during this process, so please make sure you have all documents and information at hand. If you close the browser window before clicking on the "submit" button, all entries that you made will be lost.

If you are having problems getting certain documents or have gaps in your CV you should provide us with explanations. Sloppy applications will definitely fail to make it on our shortlist. With your application you show us that you are informed about the research activities of our faculty and that you have knowledge of the respective scientific publications in your field(s) of interest. We have seen applications where the 'research project' essay was prepared so poorly that we could not consider these candidates further! Please make sure that you think carefully about this part of the application and make full use of the permitted space to give us a first impression of your scientific creativity and conceptual understanding. However, please do not try to copy/paste published text pieces, as we will control for plagiarism. Plagiarism will immediately remove your application from further consideration.

Please study the form carefully and take your time when completing it. However, do not wait until the last day of our application period to submit your application.

If you have missed any required fields or have not uploaded the two required documents, you will get error messages after pressing the "submit" button. You can get back to your application by clicking on the "back" button of your browser window.

When you have successfully submitted your application, you will get a screen confiming your submission. Please note down your application number. You will need to use this in all further correspondence with us. You will also receive a confirmation email shortly after you have submitted your application.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you experience any problems with the online application procedure.

... for the selection workshop:

The selection workshop goes over two days. On the first day, all invited candidates give a short presentation of their previous research - for example from their Masters project. On the second day, you will be interviewed individually by our faculty members. During both days you will have time to meet and discuss with our faculty, members of their research groups and IMPRS students.


Ten minutes for a presentation may seem to be short, but we would like to listen to many candidates and thus must impose time constraints. Depending on your scientific background you may not have worked in a field that is related to the research done at our Institute. Your presentation should therefore be clear to an audience that may not be familiar with your topic. It is important that you give a general introduction into the topic and lead the audience carefully through the figures presented. Keep to the time limit! Usually the real presentation takes longer than the rehearsals, and we will have to interrupt you if you need longer. Thus, you may miss the chance to tell your full story. Be well prepared for the discussion since you might get a lot of tough questions, e.g. why you were using certain techniques, what the aim of your project was, what the next steps in the project would be, what kind of further scientific questions would be interesting to address and how you would approach them methodologically etc. Are you (at least in theory) familiar with the methods in the research areas carried out in the groups of the IMPRS faculty? Think about approaches you are familiar with and ask yourself about their potentials and limitations.


The interview consists of two parts: It usually starts with your summary of the publication that we will have sent to you at least 10 days prior to the workshop. By this, we want to see how well you deal with primary literature. The remaining discussion will be about your background and motivation. At any time during the interview, you can impress us with your knowledge, creative thoughts, and ideas. In addition, it is advisable to be well informed about the research projects of the faculty at the MPI and the University of Potsdam, in particular of the research groups that you named as your three preferences in the application.

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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