PhD Positions in Imaging Cellular Processes and Disease at CiM-IMPRS, Germany

Publish Date: Mar 03, 2016

Deadline: May 01, 2016


Applications: The program is now open for new applications.

CiM-IMPRS is a joint graduate program formed by the merger of theInternational Max Planck Research School IMPRS-MBM and the CiM Graduate School of the "Cells in Motion" Cluster of Excellence at the University of Münster. The program is jointly run by the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine. The program is a continuation and extension of the former CEDAD-IMPRS program.

The Ph.D. program offers excellent research and teaching in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences with a strong emphasis on Imaging. The program isopen to graduates of the biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, computer sciences and physics.

For more information on CiM-IMPRS go to Introduction or listen to the CiM-IMPRS podcast.

Spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Andreas Püschel (CiM) and Prof. Dr. Dietmar Vestweber (IMPRS-MBM).

CiM-IMPRS PhD Program

The program is jointly run by the University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine. The CiM Graduate School of the "Cells in Motion" Cluster of Excellence and theInternational Max Planck Research School - Molecular Biomedicine were merged to form one graduate program.

The Ph.D. program offers cutting edge science and teaching in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences with a strong emphasis on Imaging. Although the focus of the program lies on biomedical research there is also a strong demand for graduates of computer sciences, mathematics, chemistry and physics to work on new ways of image acquisition and analysis as well as on novel labeling methods.

Our 3-year PhD projects range from the analysis of basic cellular processes to clinical translation with a strong focus on state-of-the-art imaging. CiM-IMPRS PhD students study cellular behaviour in cells, tissues, animal models or patients. Projects can also focus on the development of mathematical models or new imaging-related techniques and compounds.

We offer outstanding research in high-profile laboratories as well as excellent scientific and "soft-skill" training aimed to strengthen the PhD students’ competences for their future careers. Each year up tp 16 PhD students will receive tax-free fellowships or work contracts (for more details go to "Application"). More PhD positions financed by work contracts may be offered depending on availability. There are no tuition fees.
We offer support with visas, accommodation and administrative matters.

CiM-IMPRS is open for highly qualified and motivated students of any nationality. We also encourage students who have obtained a Master’s degree at Münster University to apply for a CiM-IMPRS fellowship. Please go to Application for more information.
For more information on our projects and training program visit the respective pages (Projects, Training).

The next term will commence in October.

We are looking forward to your application for a PhD fellowship in Münster, "the world’s most liveable city"(LivCom Award 2004).

CiM and IMPRS-MBM are supported by (alphabetically listed): Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Max Planck Society, University of Münster.


We offer:

The program is now open for new applications. We offer 16 PhD positions in Life and Natural Sciences. More PhD positions financed by work contracts may be offered depending on availability.

Application Schedule 2016

 Application period 26 February - 1 May 2016
 Selection for interviews  10 May 2016
 Interviews   3-6 July 2016
 Decision   8 July 2016

 Commencement of fellowship 

1 October 2016

Important notes:

Applications can only be sent via our online system. The system is available during the above mentioned application period only. The deadline for applications is 1 May 2016.

References should be uploaded until 3 May 2016. Additions/corrections (see below) can be submitteduntil late September.

The time between selection for interviews and the interview symposium is rather short (for organisational reasons). If you need a passport to travel to Germany and you don't have it yet please already arrange for getting one or make sure that obtaining passport and visa can be done between 10 May and 30 June 2016. Please inspect the webpage of your German embassy.

Please refrain from contacting our PhD students by e-mail or phone! During the last application periods some of them have received an extremely high number of messages and calls which is a real burden. Please send an e-mail to the office instead. If you have questions or encounter problems with the application procedure please don't hesitate to contact the coordinator, Prof. Martin Wild, by e-mail. Due to the high number of e-mails we usually receive we can only answer those questions that are not addressed in the information given below!


Applicants must hold a Master's degree, or equivalent (e.g. German Diploma), in life or natural sciences(e.g. biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, physics, chemistry, pharmacy or related fields), in mathematics or computer sciences. Applicants with a state examination in pharmacy can be admitted to work on pharmaceutical/chemical projects. The date of award of the Master's (diploma, state examination) degree must not be more than 4 years ago (i.e. 4 years before the above-mentioned application deadline).

Applications are also welcome if the required degree has not yet been awarded by the time of application. However, it has to be awarded before fellowships commence in October.

Adequate English proficiency: Applicants who are not native English speakers should demonstrate an adequate competence of the English language by one of the following options: 1) acceptable results in an internationally recognized test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) or 2) proven higher education in English or 3) reasonably long stay in an English speaking country or 4) simply demonstrating your English language abilities during presentations and interviews in Münster. Please note: Although an English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS) is not required it is very important that you CAN communicate well enough in spoken and written English. Knowledge of the German language is not required.

Students from Münster are also welcome to apply. Please note: Students who are already working in a group of a CiM-IMPRS member (see list of members on this page under "Faculty") are eligible for a fellowshiponly if they will join a different CiM-IMPRS group for their PhD. If you have questions concerning this rule please contact us by e-mail.

Application Procedure


1) Write your application in English language (application form, short curriculum vitae (CV), transcripts and certificates). In your online application you name 1-3 potential CiM-IMPRS groups where you would like to work.
2) Identify and inform 2 academic teachers/supervisors who can send reference letters (also see 4).
3) Submit your application (online)
4) Ask the 2 referees to submit reference letters using the code given by the application system
5) Interviews in Münster (3.5 days)

Application procedure in detail

All submitted transcripts and certificates must be in English or German. Certified copies of documents are not mandatory at the time of submission. However, all relevant documents have to get certified upon acceptance to the program. We are unable to consider applications that are incomplete or do not fulfill the formal criteria described above.

Your application will consist of 2 pdf files only. The first file will include application form and curriculum vitae (CV); the second will include transcripts, record of study and certificates. Please do not send zip-files.

Further down you find information on how to create and combine pdf files.

Written application (in English language):

  1. Read the information given on our program on the CiM-IMPRS website. Identify between 1 and 3 CiM-IMPRS groups in which you would like to do your PhD. To this end please consult the description of projects and the group links on our webpage. You will have to name the heads of these 1-3 groups in your online application. If you get invited to the interview symposium you will have interviews with theses group leaders. Some groups have subgroups according to their websites. If you would like to work in a particular subgroup please name the head of the subgroup in the comment field of your online application. Do not apply to this program if there is no group you are really interested in!
    Please note that there are several groups that can't take any students this year (marked with "No positions via CiM-IMPRS in 20.." on our webpage). These groups cannot be chosen.
  2. Download the CiM-IMPRS application form from this webpage (see downloads on sidebar) and complete it offline. Convert it into a pdf-file (information on conversion into pdf see below).
  3. Write a short, one-page curriculum vitae, convert it into a pdf-file and combine it with the application form into one pdf-file. Some information on your CV will be identical to that in the application form. Don't worry.
  4. Collect your official transcripts or records of study which should document your academic work in detail (list of courses attended; grades if applicable) and your certificates.
    Important: Please start your file with your Master / Diploma certificate (and corresponding transcripts).
    Certificates should include the relevant university examinations (e.g. Master's and Bachelor'sdegree, or German Diplom and Vordiplom). You can submit provisional certificates and include final certificates later, when they become available, as an addition to your application (see paragraph “Additions/Corrections” below).
    If available, please also include your final certificate of secondary school education which gives the right of admission to higher eduction (e.g. Abitur, Matura, or equivalent). The certificate should show individual grades. Include an explanation of the grading system. If schools in your country don't issue such certificates don't worry. It will have no consequences on your application.
    If you have a certificate for an English language test (e.g.TOEFL, IELTS) please add it here. If you don't have it don't worry. It is not mandatory!
  5. All these transcripts/records of study/certificates have to be submitted as a single pdf-file. You may scan the documents, convert each of them into a pdf-file and, finally, combine them into one file. Please avoid pages where all wording is vertical (we inspect applications on the monitor!).
  6. Identify two academic teachers/supervisors who can send reference letters for your application. You will be asked to submit their e-mail addresses electronically with your application. We may contact the referees directly if we need more information.
  7. Submit your application online: Please go to the following web page:
    (open only during application period)
    There you will be asked to transfer basic data from your application form into the webpage (copy-paste), to name your referees (incl. e-mail addresses), to name 1-3 CiM-IMPRS groups of interest, and to upload 1) your completed application form/CV and 2) your transcripts/record of study/certificates file. Please note: large files of over 17 MB sometimes cause submission problems. In that case please reduce the size of the respective pdf.
  8. You will receive an automatic confirmation of your application. This e-mail will contain your registration code which you will need for further steps. Please note: The e-mail address of the server which sends the confirmation and other e-mails starts with lotus1/GWDG/de@lotus...... Be careful not to treat these e-mails as spam. This has happened before!
  9. As soon as you have the registration code please ask the two referees to submit their reference letters to our online system. Please forward to the referees the details and your registration codegiven in your automatic confirmation. They will need them for submission of their references. In that confirmation e-mail the referees will be asked to download the reference request form from this website and to submit it to our server. Once they have uploaded their references you will be informed automatically. Make sure that we receive their recommendations by May 3rd!

Interviews in Münster:

  1. The CiM-IMPRS faculty will select applicants for interviews in Münster. You will be informed about the decision no later than the date given above in the application schedule (selection for interviews). We will pay for your travel to the interview symposium in Münster (and back) as well as for your accommodation here. However, costs to obtain visas (visa fees and travel to embassies) are not covered.
  2. Interview Symposium in Münster: The symposium consists of interviews (including a short presentation of your Master/Diploma thesis), meetings with potential supervisors and visits of groups/labs. You can book additional meetings and visits on site. In addition, the applicants will present their Master/Diploma work on posters whereas CiM-IMPRS groups will present posters with their projects. There will also be meetings with current students. On the last day of the symposium you will be asked to give a final updated list of 3 preferred groups/supervisors sorted by your priority.

Acceptance to the program:

A final decision on acceptance to the program will be made a few days after the interviews. You will be informed about our decision by e-mail. Successful applicants start their PhD project on October 1st. Students working in a Max Planck group will get a work contract. Others will receive a tax-free 3-yearfellowship of 1365-1465 € per month. More PhD positions financed by work contracts may be offered depending on availability. The income after deduction of tax and health insurance of work contracts and fellowships is similar and more than sufficient for living in Germany. There are no tuition fees, but PhD students have to register with the university with a contribution of ca. 20 € / month for which they receive a ticket for free public transport in Münster and North Rhine Westfalia (!) and the opportunity to apply for cheap student dormitories.


If you have additions (e.g. a final Master certificate) or important corrections (e.g. a new address) you can submit them electronically.
Simply change your file/files accordingly and submit BOTH, a new Application Form/CV file AND a new Transcripts/Record of study/Certificates file (even if only one file contains additions / corrections).
The new files will replace the old files! Submit your additions / corrections at:
SUBMISSION OF ADDITIONS / CORRECTIONS (open from February to September)

Once again: the links for your application:

Online Submission of Applications (open only during application period)

Submission of Additions / Corrections (open February to September)

Checklist for your application

  1. Completed CiM-IMPRS Application Form
  2. Curriculum vitae (1 page)
  3. Transcripts, records of study
  4. Certificates: Master (or Diplom), Bachelor, secondary school education (only if available), English language test (if available)
  5. Names and e-mail addresses of two academic teachers who can send reference letters
  6. Names of 1-3 CiM-IMPRS groups in which you would like to do your PhD.

How to create and combine pdf files

Here are some suggestions on how to create and combine pdf files.

A) PC users:
You can download a free version of PDF Creator, e.g. at
There you will find a manual under „Help“ describing how to create a pdf and how to combine documents ( Other free programs may also be available.

B) Mac users:
i) On most Apple computers you should be able to create a pdf using the print command, choose “pdf”, and save the file.

Many Apple computers also have the option to combine pdf files: 

ii) using Preview (This link describes how to use it: How to combine PDF documents using Preview

iii) using Automator (scripting program installed on many Mac computers, works with all MacOS versions starting with MacOS 10.4). This is how to use it to combine pdf files:

Select the documents that you want to combine in the Finder.
Open Automator from Applications or Programs.
Choose Create workflow.
Add these 3 steps to your Untitled Workflow:

  1. Finder: Get Selected Finder Items (Get Selected Files and Folders)
  2. PDF: Combine PDF pages (choose Appending pages)
  3. Finder: Open Finder Items (Open Selected Files and Folders)

This will combine everything, then open up a Preview document with all the PDF pages laid out in one document which you can finally save. You can also save the workflow if you do this on a regular basis.

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