Research Topics at the DKFZ
The long-term goal of the German Cancer Research Center is to unravel the causes and mechanisms of cancer development and, based on new insights, to develop novel tools for diagnosis, early detection, treatment and prevention.
In 2015, scientists at the DKFZ have published 1,557 research articles, many of them in high-ranking journals like Cell, Nature and Science.
The divisions and research groups of the DKFZ are organized into seven research programs:
- Cell Biology and Tumor Biology
- Functional and Structural Genomics
- Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention
- Tumor Immunology
- Imaging and Radiooncology
- Infection, Inflammation and Cancer
- Translational Cancer Research
There is a lot of interaction at the DKFZ due to interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-topics:
- Bioinformatics/Computational Cancer Research
- Medical Physics and Radiopharmacy
- Epidemiology and Biostatistics
- Cancer Epigenetics
- Infection and Immunology
The typical duration of the doctoral studies at the DKFZ is three to four years.
The curriculum is in English and includes scientific and professional training.
More than 46 % of our PhD students are international.
Research at the DKFZ is highly interdisciplinary which is reflected by the fact that our PhD students have an academic background in (molecular) biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computational biology, computer science or epidemiology/public health studies.
All PhD positions at the DKFZ are fully funded for three years. The salaries are competitive by national standards. There is no tuition fee.
Doctoral researchers awarded a PhD position through the biannual selection roundsare funded either by a DKFZ PhD contract (65 % of a TVöD EG 13) or by third-party funding from their group leader.
All PhD students at the DKFZ are enrolled at the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research, regardless of how they are funded.
DAAD Graduate School Scholarship Programme
In addition to DKFZ PhD positions, the DKFZ offers scholarships to international PhD candidates in collaboration with the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) within the Graduate School Scholarship Programme.
Each DAAD scholarship in this programme comprises funding for three years. DAAD scholarship holders will be identified by a two-step procedure:
Step One: PhD candidates apply for a PhD position at the DKFZ through the biannual selections. Following the PhD Selection process, appropriate candidates are nominated for a DAAD scholarship by the DKFZ.
Step Two: The nominees submit an online-application with supporting documentation via the DAAD portal. Following the acceptance to the Graduate School Scholarship Programme by the DAAD, PhD candidates start their PhD at the DKFZ.
Please apply using our Online Application System (the system will open approx. two months before the next application deadline).
In the application form, you are asked to provide information about your educational qualifications, honors, skills and interests. A statement of motivation is also required and letters of recommendation from two referees. When filling in the online form, remember to have electronic copies (PDF files of not more than 3MB) of your academic certificates and English language certificate to upload with your application. If you have questions about the online application process, please check the Application Guidelines and FAQs.
Please don't forget to click the submit button once you have completed the online application form. Your letters of recommendation do NOT already have to be submitted by your referees in order for you to submit your application (see below).
Letters of Recommendation
As part of the online application form, you are asked to provide the names and contact details of two referees. As soon as you have entered the names and contact details of your referees, we will automatically send them an e-mail with a link, requesting that they provide us with their letter of recommendation through our online system.
Please be aware that the deadline for your referees to submit their letters of recommendation is the same as the application deadline. Therefore, you need to make sure that you register with the online system and enter the contact details of your referees in good time, so that they have time to submit their letters before the deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure these letters are provided.
Evaluation Process and Selection
Applications will be evaluated within 4 weeks of the deadline. As part of the pre-selection process, some candidates will be asked to take part in short phone interviews. We will inform applicants about the outcome of the evaluation and invite successful candidates for an interview. Selection candidates will receive a list of approximately 150 project proposals from which they can select five to discuss with the respective PhD supervisors during the on-site interviews.
The interviews take place at the DKFZ in Heidelberg about 6-8 weeks after the application deadline and last 3 days. About three times more candidates are invited than the number we eventually accept.
During the interviews, aspects such as intellectual brightness, creativity, perseverance, independent thinking and the ability to work in a team will be evaluated. Candidates are expected to:
- give a short oral presentation of their own practical work (typically their master's thesis)
- complete a short multiple-choice test that evaluates quantitative/analytical/reasoning skills (similar to the shorter analytical questions in the general GRE exam)
- attend a panel interview with 3-4 senior scientists, in which they present their research project as a "chalk-talk" and answer general questions.
Throughout the interviews, candidates have plenty of opportunities to visit the labs of potential PhD supervisors and talk to current DKFZ PhD students and scientists.
For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.