The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awards PhD fellowships to outstanding junior scientists who wish to pursue an ambitious PhD project of approximately 3 years in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory. For further details please refer to “Who can apply?”. The peer-review-based selection process is highly competitive. Applicants should therefore be outstanding in all three selection criteria.
To promote basic research in biomedicine by providing the best young, up-and-coming scientists with comprehensive support during their PhD phase.
More than a monthly stipend
The fellowship comprises a competitive monthly stipend that is initially granted for 2 years and that can be extended for up to another 12 months. Participation in international scientific conferences is also supported. In addition, fellowship holders are offered personal support, seminars to discuss their projects, communication training and alumni meetings, and thus can become part of a worldwide network.
Application for a PhD Fellowship
The application for a PhD fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds consists of two parts:
- the online application via the online application portal and
- two paper copies of the application including one CD to be sent by regular mail to: Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Schusterstr. 46-48, 55116 Mainz, Germany
Both must be submitted by one of the respective deadlines of each year (date as per postmark for the paper version): 1 February, 1 June, 1 October
The entire application - including the project proposal - must be written in English and by the applicants themselves. However, we recommend consultation with the scientific supervisor. The form of the presentation should be adequate but simple; please do not staple, tack or bind documents.
The two paper copies should contain all the data and documents listed under (1) – (9). The CD should be clearly labelled with applicant's first name, family name and email address and contain documents (1) - (7), preferably in one PDF file.
Applicants can facilitate the selection process by adhering to the following sequence:
1. to 5. two-sided printouts, if possible;
- title and summary of PhD project (max. 1,400 characters including blanks);
- detailed presentation of PhD project (please also refer to "How to write a research proposal"): formulation of the problem, current status of research, applicant's own groundwork, objectives, experimental strategy including methods of investigation (at least 4-5 pages for strategy and methods), work schedule showing the anticipated duration of the entire project and the individual steps;
- reasons for wishing to work with a particular group;
- summary of final experimental thesis (e.g. bachelor, diploma or master thesis) before embarking on the PhD project; if no final experimental thesis was performed please give the reason(s) in the “additional information” field in the online application;
- list of applicant’s publications (if applicable);
- certificates of all academic qualifications (including grades) and certificates of professional education prior to university (if applicable); in chronological order, the newest on top; photocopies suffice;
- photocopies of university entrance qualification or high school-leaving exam certificate, (e.g. Abitur, A levels, Baccalaureate);
- letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the PhD thesis;
- letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the diploma or equivalent thesis (only if changing research group for the PhD project); if no final experimental thesis was performed, letter of recommendation from the supervisor of the most important laboratory internship; letters of recommendation (on official letterhead and signed) have to be written in English and may be sent together with the application, or by the supervisors themselves via regular mail to Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Schusterstr. 46-48, 55116 Mainz, Germany, or via email as a PDF attachment to secretariat[at]bifonds[dot]de
Selection Process for PhD Fellowships
What happens to your application?
Once both your online application and the paper version of your application have been received by the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, we check whether your application meets all formal criteria.
Applications that fulfil the eligibility criteria are forwarded to the foundation’s Board of Trustees for pre-selection. In the pre-selection, the Board of Trustees incl. six internationally renowned scientists evaluates each application according to the three most important criteria: (1) the applicant's achievements to date (grades and curriculum vitae), (2) whether the proposed PhD project meets the overall requirements (e.g. topic and required scientific quality), and (3) the scientific standard of the laboratory where the project is to be pursued. About 4 weeks after the application deadline, the Board members meet and decide which applications are admitted to the final selection process. Approximately 25% of the applications reach the final selection and are sent to independent external experts (peer reviewers) for additional evaluation. In addition, and whenever feasible, a member of the foundation's staff visits the applicant for a personal interview at his/her place of work and submits a written report to the Board of Trustees.
Application, evaluation of the external expert and the report on the personal interview are then scrutinized by the foundation's Board of Trustees (read more under selection criteria). The Board convenes three times a year and, after detailed discussion of each application, makes its decision. Approximately 15 fellowships are awarded at each Board meeting. The final decision on the applications is reached approximately 5 months after the deadline.
After each Board meeting, the foundation promptly informs the applicants of the outcome. Please note that only written notification is legally binding. The decisions of the Board are incontestable; and due to the large and ever-increasing number of applications, reasons for rejection cannot be given. Re-submission is possible only under certain circumstances, and only after consultation with the foundation.
Selection Process for PhD Fellowships
The scientists in the Board of Trustees and the external peer reviewer evaluate applications according to the following three criteria:
- the applicant's achievements to date (grades and curriculum vitae);
- the scientific quality, e.g. originality and inventiveness, of the proposed PhD project;
- the scientific standard of the laboratory in which the project is to be pursued.