The FMI runs both a PhD program and, since summer 2016, an MD-PhD program. While the PhD program accepts students with a university degree in life sciences, the MD-PhD program is tailored to students of medicine with an interest in fundamental scientific research. Both programs offer students the opportunity to carry out cutting-edge biomedical research in a stimulating, highly international and collaborative atmosphere.
Why choose the FMI?
Science: The FMI is an international leader in biomedical research in the fields of epigenetics, neurobiology and quantitative biology. It provides interdisciplinary training and access to state-of-the-art technology platforms. Our affiliations with the University of Basel and with Novartis, as well as our location at the center of a life science hub, provide numerous opportunities for scientific collaborations.
Training: A wide range of theoretical and practical courses are available at both the FMI and the University of Basel. FMI provides an annual PhD Orientation Afternoon and a Scientific Inquiry Course for first year PhD students. Most students participate in “progress reports” to discuss science and practice their presentation skills. Many labs provide journal clubs. In addition, students participate in the FMI Annual Meeting and are encouraged to attend international conferences to present projects and develop their networks.
Mentoring: Mentoring is taken seriously at the FMI. PhD students are mentored throughout their PhD by their supervisor (group leader) and by their thesis advisory committee members; if appropriate, there will also be initial supervision/collaboration with more senior students or postdocs in their labs.
Support: PhD students are supported by the PhD Program Coordinator (administrative management), the PhD Representatives (promotion of student issues at the institute) and the Dean of Students (liaison with the University of Basel and confidential advice). In addition, PhD students can consult our dedicated Guidance Counsellor for confidential support on any issues concerning projects, mentors, lab environment, work/life balance or career planning.
Career Development: Group leader supervisors, the Head of Human Resources, and the Guidance Counsellor are key people supporting students’ career development. PhD and Postdoc Representatives organize annual career events, as well as professional development workshops with external trainers. In addition, many workshops on career development are offered through the Basel University Graduate Center. FMI PhD students are also able to join an employee program at Novartis, matching them with an industry mentor.
Life at the institute: With staff of 45 different nationalities, the FMI offers a truly international, open and welcoming environment. All FMI students are encouraged to organize and participate in activities outside the lab (e.g. sport groups). Happy Hours are held every other Friday afternoon, sometimes including barbecues on the rooftop terrace. The annual PhD retreat provides a relaxed opportunity to connect with fellow students in a beautiful setting.
Life in Basel: Basel – the third largest city in Switzerland, with a rich cultural heritage – is a great place to live. It has a lot to offer in terms of culture, entertainment, dining, etc., while being easy to navigate thanks to its relatively small size. Located right on the border with France and Germany, and home to several multinational companies, Basel is highly international. As well as providing easy access to neighboring countries, it is close to the many beautiful places in Switzerland. Switzerland is an expensive country, but the FMI offers a generous stipend for living expenses.
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