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Final results now!

UPDATE: E-mails for final results were sent out. If you didn't get an E-mail, sent a note to GRK2046@fu-berlin.de!

Dear applicants,
thank you very much for your patience. The evaluation process is now finished. It took some time to evaluate 250 applications, but here we are. We send out e-mails (which should be with you at any moment) to every candidate who passed the formal checking.
Candidates who get invited to our assessment center will receive shortly after the first e-mail a second e-mail with further instructions.

Due to the amount of applications, we are not able to send out individual e-mails why your application was (not) considered.

Thank you very much for your understanding!

Welcome to our instructions on how to apply to our GRK 2046 program! Please take your time to read them carefully in order to make sure you submit a complete application.

 

You can only apply by using the application platform of the DRS:

(https://www.drs.fu-berlin.de/user/register?field_i_want_to_apply_for=732).

The call is open until August 16, 2020, only. Project start will be April 1, 2021.

Note: You have to first register and start a profile. This will make it possible for you to go for a coffee and come back next day to complete your application, because the application is safed in your profile.

Note: When you register you were ask for "Affiliation". In case you are not affiliated to any institution (you don't have to for an application) choose "Other Institution" in the drop-down menu. Two new "Please specify..." boxes open. Type in here: "n/a" or "not affiliated" , anything etc. Then, go on with registering.

Please do not send any other type of application by post or e-mail as they will be rejected.

 

Application

  • The application form must be completed in English only. Please make sure that all your personal details including your e-mail address and postal mail address are up to date, as we will be using them to communicate with you throughout the whole application process!
  • You will find a section called "External Reviewers". This is for you to provide us with the contact details of two referees that support your application. This is an important part of your application! We strongly advise you to pick your referees carefully and inform them about their role BEFORE you apply. Please note: we will send an e-mail (with sending e-mail address: grk2046@fu-berlin.de) to your referees who will download their letter of reference directly to our application platform, please don’t upload letters of reference yourself! Please consider that your referees will only have time to submit their reference letters until, August 20, 2020!
  • You can choose your research group preferences according to the project descriptions. The order in which you make your picks is usually interpreted as a tentative ranking but it does not limit your choice at a later stage by any means! You may even find yourself later in a lab that you haven't originally picked as a preference, because once you are invited to Berlin you will have the opportunity to meet every faculty member that offers a project. Still, we advise you to choose carefully, because initially faculty members will also evaluate whether you might be a good match for their lab.
  • The field "Research Interests" is one of the most critical parts of your application! You should clearly communicate why you are an ideal candidate for GRK 2046. Importantly, you have to provide specific and meaningful insight into why you have made the choices regarding your research group preferences. Please comment also on your plans for your professional future. We would like to emphasize again that here it is very important to be specific, meaningful and concise!
  • We recommend to have the following things ready for your application:

√ CV (PDF-file)

√ Letter of motivation (PDF-file)

√ College/university career (including certificates, abstracts of your thesis etc.)

√ High school career (including certificate)

√ Language proficiency (i.a. including English test certificate)

√ i.a. working experiences (including company and publication list)

√ Names/address of two external reviewers for letters of reference

  • Please note: You can upload any material / certificates as PDF-file only!

 

Incidentally, the application period is also a busy time for us. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that we are able to answer your questions promptly or help you solving problems immediately. We would also like to stress that because of the large number of applications we get, we cannot answer any requests on the status of your application. We will do our best to keep you up to date on the progress of the application process on our web page.

For any question, please consult our FAQ in first line!

Download all project descriptions as PDF

A3

Supervisors: Peter H. Seeberger, Oren Moscovitz

Research Group: Biomolecular Systems, Glycan-Targeted Therapeutics Group

Address: Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arnimallee 22, 14167 Berlin

 

Characterizing the biological role of glycosylation in Plasmodium falciparum communication by extracellular vesicles

Cell-cell communication by extracellular vesicles (EVs) secretion is a phenomenon that was described in a wide range of organisms, from humans and plants to bacteria and protozoan parasites. EVs carry biomolecules such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, between adjacent cells, and participate in a diverse and wide range of biological activities as cell signaling and quorum sensing. The content and size of secreted EVs is a dynamic process, which changes due to different extra- and intracellular signals and differs between cells and organisms. Although EVs biology is extensively studied for over a decade, the involvement and specific role of glycans in EVs secretion, uptake, and downstream signaling were not fully elucidated yet.

Malaria is a devastating parasitic disease caused by species of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium. The disease threatens 40% of the world’s population and claims more than 600.000 lives each year. To date, the role of host or parasite glycans that are membrane-embedded as glycolipids, or carried on glycoproteins in Plasmodium derived EVs, is still a mystery that was hardly investigated.

By combining advanced biochemical techniques and synthetic glycans arrays, with lectins and specific glycan-binding nanobodies that were recently developed in-lab, we aim to shed light on the unique role of glycans in different biological aspects of Plasmodium derived EVs. We will identify and investigate glycan contribution to Evs mediated communication between parasites during the different stages of the asexual blood-stage development. Additionally, we will inspect the influence of EVs glycans on immune system response and overall virulence of Plasmodium spp in vitro and in vivo.

http://www.mpikg.mpg.de/en/bs


A5

Supervisor: Jürgen Krücken

Research Group: Institute for Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine

Address: Institute for Parasitology, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin

 

Characterization of MDR pathways in trichostrongyloid parasitic nematodes of ruminants

Gastrointestinal parasitic nematodes (GINs) are ubiquitous pathogens of humans, pets and livestock with severe impact on public and animal. Without available vaccinations, treatment with anthelmintics is the major weapon to limit this impact and is essential for sheep and cattle production. However, frequent treatments and a limited number of available drug classes have selected highly drug-resistant GIN populations often showing multi-drug resistance (MDR) which involves pathways for detoxification of xenobiotics. In previous projects we have characterized and identified various transporters and enzymes (cytochrome P450, FADH-monooxygenases, glutathione-S-transferases) using RNAseq and expression in yeast or the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This project will quantify the effects of individual and combined enzymes and transporters on the effects of levamisole, albendazole, ivermectin and moxidectin to analyze their interaction in MDR using targeted integration by CRISPR/Cas-9.

https://www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we13/index.html


A6

Supervisor: Alyssa Ingmundson

Research Group: Molecular parasitology

Address: Department of Molecular Parasitology, Humboldt University, Philippstr 13, Haus 14

 

Characterizing host Rab GTPases involved in Plasmodium liver-stage development

Plasmodium undergo a single extensive growth phase in the liver at the onset of infection. The parasite population and the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) in which they reside expand rapidly during this developmental stage. We hypothesize that the Plasmodium PV intercepts host vesicular transport to obtain necessary lipids and other metabolites. This project will investigate the interactions between the PV and host through the study of host Rab GTPases, which label distinct membranes and regulate membrane transport and fusion. Rab proteins are attractive candidates for this analysis because many pathogens directly usurp host Rab proteins to establish an intracellular niche, several established tools can be used to interrogate the function of specific Rabs, and host Rabs have been shown to influence susceptibility to infection. The project aims to uncover host pathways that contribute to successful parasite development and reveal how these pathways impact host susceptibility to infection.

https://www.biologie.hu-berlin.de/en/gruppenseiten-en/molpara-en/standardseite?set_language=en


B1

Supervisor: Kai Matuschewski, Katja Müller

Research Group: Molecular parasitology

Address: Department of Molecular Parasitology, Humboldt University, Philippstr 13, Haus 14

Immune correlates of protective immunity against Plasmodium infections

Generation of lasting protection against malaria remains a major challenge. Immune recognition and vaccine induced protection during Plasmodium liver development will be studied in a preclinical murine malaria model. Experimental genetics, analysis of a wildlife Plasmodium-bat association, immunological assays and vaccination protocols are complementary approaches that will be employed to study the critical roles of anti-sporozoite antibodies, cytotoxic T cells and display of sporozoite antigens in elimination of transmission stages and infected hepatocytes. Live attenuated vaccine strains will be compared to identify signatures of immune protection. Exchange of immunodominant antigens and expression of candidate blood stage antigens in transgenic parasites can inform vaccine development and might improve malarial vaccine efficacy. Together, these studies will provide critical insights into vaccine-induced and naturally acquired immunity against malaria.

https://www.biologie.hu-berlin.de/en/gruppenseiten-en/molpara-en/standardseite?set_language=en


B3

Supervisor: Toni Aebischer

Research Group: FG16Mycotic and parasitic agents and mycobacteria

Address: Robert Koch Institute, FG16, Seestraße 10, 13353 Berlin

 

Giardia duodenalis – interaction with natural human tissue stem cell derived epithelium to decipher the role of the Cystic Fibrosis Transduction receptor (CFTR) in pathogenesis

Giardia duodenalis (Gd) designates a species complex of protozoan parasites causing acute and chronic intestinal disease. We have established unique stem-cell derived organoid models to study parasite-host interaction that depend on host genetic background and determinants such as cystic fibrosis mutations (CF). The hypothesis to be tested in this project that CF-related functional differences in these epithelia will impact the effect of Gd colonization, alone or in combination with other microbial/microbiota related factors.

The experimental approach to test these hypotheses will exploit an organoid-derived, compartmentalized transwell system established for infection experiments. Read outs on barrier and epithelial function will be based on electrophysiology, transcriptomics of host and parasite responses and advanced microscopic analyses. Students should therefore be keen to embark on a highly multidisciplinary project.

https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Institute/DepartmentsUnits/InfectDiseases/Div16/Div16_node.html


B4

Supervisor: Susanne Hartmann

Research Group: Institute of Immunology

Address: Institute of Immunology, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin

 

Enteric coinfections and its consequences on mucosal immune challenges

Co-infections with pathogens impose major challenges to the host immune system. Immune cells as gatekeepers sense antigens of invading pathogens and react e.g. by cytokine production. An adaptation of immune cell responses depends on pathogen nature, dose and succession. Our previous work on the influence of pathogens controlled by opposing immune responses showed that a previous Toxoplasma infection limits Th2 immunity and directs residual anti-helminth responses to inappropriate Th1 reactions. We now aim to study two enteric nematode infections, one being strictly enteric and the other one migrating through the body before residing in the intestine. Focus of the project is to decipher the impact of the infections and coinfections on different mucosal sites: the gut versus the lung. Questions are: how and by which mechanisms are mucosal lung immune cells affected by the enteric infections and what impact do they have on other lung challenges such as allergic reactions?

https://www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we06/index.html


B5

Supervisor: Sebastian Rausch

Research Group: Institute of Immunology

Address: Institute of Immunology, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin

 

Host genotype and microbiota affect protective immunity to co-infections with intestinal parasites

Intestinal nematodes and Giardia parasites are controlled by distinct immune responses, alter the gut microbiota and promote immune regulatory activities. Cross-regulation by opposing stimuli, prevents overtly biased reactions, but also limits pathogen control. Under laboratory conditions, protective immunity to both nematode and Giardia species is readily achieved, whereas individuals frequently experience coinfections and often display poor immunity in natural systems.

This project will hence investigate the development of protective immunity to nematode/Giardia single and coinfections depending on I) host genotype, II) microbiome signature, and III) intervention with regulatory/effector profiles and evaluate the robustness of the experimental findings in a natural system.

  • Murine nematode/Giardia infection models
  • Immunological techniques

     FACS, in vivo imaging, multiplexing etc.

     Cell depletion, transfer and tracking; reporter/knock out models

  • Microbiota/natural systems (collaborative work)

https://www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we06/index.html


C1

Supervisors: Bettina Wachter, Gábor Czirják, Heribert Hofer

Research Group: Department of Evolutionary Ecology

Address: Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, 10315 Berlin

 

Apicomplexan parasites, immunity and its link to life history states in cheetahs

This project will investigate parasite load and immune responses in a genetically monomorphic carnivore, the cheetah. Little is known about parasite susceptibility of free-ranging threatened wildlife species. Cheetahs have a low level of variability at fitness-related immune genes (MHC) and are highly susceptible to infectious diseases when kept in zoos but not in the wild. This project will analyze samples collected from free-ranging cheetahs in Namibia and examine how apicomplexan infections and parasite load depend on reproductive status, territorial status and group size of cheetahs. It will further examine the extent to which other components of the immune system can compensate the low MHC variability. Some protocols for testing particular components of the immune system of the cheetahs are already developed, others will be developed during this project. An important part of the project will also be the management of several thousand samples from several hundred cheetahs.

http://www.izw-berlin.de/en/departement-of-evolutionary-ecology.html


C3

Supervisor: Frank Seeber

Research Group: FG16, Mycotic and parasitic agents and mycobacteria

Address: Robert Koch Institute, FG16, Seestraße 10, 13353 Berlin

 

Comparative analysis of intestinal host responses from wild rodents upon co-infection with Toxoplasma gondii and Giardia sp.

The intestine is the entry port or replicative niche for Toxoplasma gondii and Giardia sp., respectively; thus, co-infection will influence the course or establishment of infection reciprocally, but this has not been studied. We established co-cultures of the two parasites in intestinal organoids (IOs) from inbred lab mice and the vole Myodes glareolus (a more natural rodent host for both parasites). Using the two in vitro systems, we want to study the following:

What role do innate immune responses play during co-infection of IOs? How do they differ between both hosts? How does co-culture of infected IOs with immune cells influence the course of infection? How do these aspects differ between parasites stages of T. gondii? Finding answers will be approached by transcriptomics, live microscopy, cytokine assays etc. using transgenic parasites.

A second focus is the optimization of conditions that allow the in vitro generation of T. gondii oocysts in IOs, based on preliminary own work and literature reports.

https://www.rki.de/EN/Content/Institute/DepartmentsUnits/InfectDiseases/Div16/Div16_node.html


C4

Supervisors: Heribert Hofer, Gábor Czirják, Sarah Benhaiem

Research Group: Department of Ecological Dynamics

Address: Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, 10315 Berlin

 

Intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of helminth parasite infections of female hyenas

The successful candidate will investigate the influence of immune gene diversity and parasite infection on components of Darwinian fitness in individually known spotted hyenas. Long-term individual data are available on a range of relevant phenotypic traits as well as components of Darwinian fitness. Using banked samples, the candidate will determine the immune genotypes of known spotted hyenas, assess parasite loads and immune response, to extend existing preliminary data. Information on immune genotypes, measures of relevant phenotypic traits and components of fitness will be curated into a master data base for extensive analyses. Experience of genetic analyses, parasites, immunology, establishing large data sets and statistical analyses would be helpful. A good standard of written and spoken English is required. This project is based within the Serengeti Spotted Hyena Research Team in the Dept of Ecological Dynamics at the IZW, an interdisciplinary institute to improve conservation.

http://www.izw-berlin.de/en/departement-of-ecological-dynamics.html


C5

Supervisor: Georg von Samson-Himmelstjerna, Jürgen Krücken

Research Group: Institute for Parasitology and Tropical Veterinary Medicine

Address: Institute for Parasitology, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin

 

Ecological interdependencies and bio/pathological consequences of equine multi-species infection complexes

The cyathostomins are parasitic nematodes and represent the by far most prevalent pathogens of horses. They consist of 50 morphologically characterized species and in individual hosts sometimes over 20 species occur simultaneously. They thus can be regarded as a uniquely divers group of closely related metazoan organisms evolved to populate the same defined habitat. They are also considered to be the clinically most important equine parasites since they may cause severe disease such as acute diarrhea, weight loss and even death. During previous projects, significant progress has been made concerning proteomic and molecular species identification, population structure and relevance of geographical background. Employing next-generation-sequencing, bioinformatics and MALDI-TOF approaches, this project will now for the first time embark to study another layer of co-evolution by comparing the cyathostomin community composition on a species-specific level with the prevailing microbiome.

https://www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we13/index.html


C6

Supervisors: Elena Levashina

Research Group: Vector Biology Unit at MPIIB

Address: Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin

 

Environmental microbes and Plasmodium transmission

Transmission of malaria parasites by mosquito vectors is crucial for disease epidemics. However, the role of such environmental factors as microbial communities in establishment of vector competence are not well understood. This project is based on previous studies in the Unit that investigated immune and metabolic factors at the bacteria – mosquito vector interplay. The preliminary data points to extensive metabolic exchanges between certain bacteria species and mosquitoes that shape development of human malaria P. falciparum parasites. The major question of this project is whether we can design microbial communities that will render mosquitoes refractory to malaria parasites. The applicant will design microbial communities, colonize mosquitoes and perform experimental infections with P. falciparum. To identify molecular and metabolic interactions between the mosquitoes, parasites and microbiota, the applicant will perform metabolic characterization of these interactions.

https://www.mpiib-berlin.mpg.de/research/vector_biology


C7

Supervisor: Frank Mockenhaupt

Research Group: Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health

Address: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin

 

Impact of Ascaris-Plasmodium co-infection on antimalarial treatment outcome, re-infection and antimalarial drug resistance

Immunomodulation induced by soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) counteracts Th1 responses, which are needed to control Plasmodium falciparum but also contribute to pathology. We hypothesize that Ascaris co-infection influences the efficacy of artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT), ex vivo susceptibility, parasite clearance time, and reinfection rates, which might be attributable to variations in cytokines and antimalarial antibodies in Ascaris co-infection.

We will assess the named ACT efficacy outcomes among patients monitored according to WHO protocols. STH infection (miniFLOTAC) and anti-Ascaris antibodies (ELISA) will be determined. Antimalarial immunity at treatment initiation will be assessed by cytokine levels, monocyte-P. falciparum stimulation assays (cytokine read-out), and antimalarial antibodies and related to efficacy outcomes in addition to Ascaris co-infection. Children with recurring parasitaemia will be sampled and P. falciparum resistance markers typed.

https://tropeninstitut.charite.de/en/


C8

Supervisor: Emanuel Heitlinger

Research Group: Molecular parasitology (HU)

                              Ecology and Evolution of parasite-host interactions (IZW)

Address: Department of Molecular Parasitology, Humboldt University, Philippstr 13, Haus 14 (HU)

 

Resistance and tolerance of hybrid hosts against co-infections -- the role of innate immune response and the microbiome for mice in natural systems

Natural hybrids between the house mouse subspecies show increased parasite resistance but also perturbed bacterial microbiomes compared to pure parental strains. Laboratory infections of Rag-/- mutant mice with E. falciformis revealed partial resistance to repeated infection independent of the adaptive immune system.

We here hypothesize, that 1) the innate immune system plays a key role in the immunological vigor of hybrid hosts, and that 2) this holds true for infections with Eimeria, helminths and for co-infections, while 3) a perturbed hybrid microbiome affects parasites negatively.


A collection of tissue and intestinal content samples of ~200 mice, spanning a continuous gradient of hybridization will be investigated for parasites and the intestinal microbiome via 18S and 16S amplicon sequencing. “Dual-transciptomes” assessing gene expression for both host (cecum tissue) and Eimeria sp. will be integrated with this and with immunological assessments from laboratory experiments.

https://www.biologie.hu-berlin.de/en/gruppenseiten-en/molpara-en/standardseite?set_language=en

http://www.izw-berlin.de/en/emanuel-heitlinger-en.html


C9

Supervisor: Friederike Ebner

Research Group: Institute of Immunology

Address: Institute of Immunology, Freie Universität Berlin, Robert-von-Ostertag-Str. 7-13, 14163 Berlin

 

The role of antigen-specific T cells in parasite distribution and predisposition to Ascaris suum in pigs

The large roundworms Ascaris (A.) lumbricoides and A. suum are the most prevalent soil-transmitted helminths (STH) worldwide and parasitize the gastrointestinal tract of humans and pigs, respectively. A. suum infections are economically relevant and highly prevalent in intensive and organic pig productions worldwide. We typically observe that only a few individuals harbor a very high number of worms, a phenomenon called overdispersion. The reasons for low and high worm burdens are unclear.

This project aims at investigating the role of highly specialized T cells to assess and control parasite burden in pigs as a human-relevant model. Benefitting from a recently established method to enrich and phenotype antigen-specific T cells in swine, the project will explore effector, memory and recall responses of A. suum-specific T cells and their role for parasite predisposition. Experimental infections with one or multiple inoculations will be performed and re-infection rates addressed.

The successful candidate will develop their skills in working with a human-relevant animal model, advanced flow cytometry, cell culture and parasitology.

https://www.vetmed.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/institute/we06/index.html


Downloads

Application

Where can I apply?

Applicate ONLY on the DRS application platform

(https://www.drs.fu-berlin.de/user/register?field_i_want_to_apply_for=732)

Please note: you have to register yourself at the application platform and start your own profile, before you can apply.

After starting the application process, you may go for a coffee and come back later for completing the application. It is safed in your profile.

You can apply until August 16, 2020 (application deadline).

Please make sure that you have the following material/information with you:

√ CV (PDF-file)

√ Letter of motivation (PDF-file)

√ College/university career (including certificates, abstracts of your theses etc.)

√ High school career (including certificate)

√ Language proficiency (i.a. including English test certificate)

√ i.a. working experiences (including companies and publication list)

√ Name/address of two external referees for a letter of reference (please note: we will send an e-mail to your referees [sending address: grk2046@fu-berlin.de] who will download their letters of reference directly to our application platform, please don’t upload letters of reference yourself). We highly recommend that you inform your referees BEFORE you applicate.

Please note: Certificates and other material can only be uploaded as PDF-file!


 Application (costs)

Will there be any costs associated with the application process?

Almost none. If you are invited to the assessment center in November in Berlin, you will not have to pay for travel, accommodation or most of the food. However, on some days you need to cover costs for food (calculate something like 10 EUR/day = 70 EUR).

Please note: Unfortunately, we are not able to cover costs related to obtaining a visa.


Amount of positions

How many positions are available? What are my chances of getting accepted?

In total, we offer 15 positions in projects for a doctoral researcher. We make our decision based on the quality of the applications. As a rough estimate, we can tell you that we usually receive at least two to three hundred applications that result in about 20 to 30 invitations to Berlin.


Eligibility

I hold degree XYZ – am I eligible to apply?

Applicants must hold a German Master (M.Sc.), a German Diploma OR an equivalent international degree in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, chemistry, veterinary medicine, life sciences or other related subjects. It is NOT necessary to hold the degree at the time of your application, but you will need it when you begin to work with us (April 1, 2021). If you have an M.D. with only clinical qualifications, we cannot consider your application.

 

If you fulfill these criteria then you are eligible to apply. If you hold an M.D., DVM or other related degrees that do not fall into this scheme, you will likely need extensive laboratory skills, epidemiological experience or bioinformatics knowledge in order for us to consider your application. Our recommendation is always to go for an application if in doubt! Please accept our sincere apologies that we cannot analyze individual situations at this stage.


Nationality

Do I have to be a German or European citizen to apply?

Of course not! GRK 2046 is an international doctoral program. Right now, we harbor PhD students with 14 different nationalities! We happily accept applications from any country in the world. However, please make an effort to help us understanding your education / academic achievements / your country’s grading system.


Notification

When will I learn about the results of the application process?

We will try to keep you up to date with the application process via our webpage. We will send out information on who we will invite to Berlin for an assessment center in September.


Referee form (letter)

Where do I find the reference form?

We will automatically send an e-mail to the referees you claimed in the application. The referees will upload their letter of reference directly to the application platform. Please DON’T upload yourself letters of reference.

 

My referee is not around – can they submit their reference letter later?

No - submission of reference letters is only possible until 4 days (August 20) after the application deadline. If your referee cannot manage to provide the letter of reference within this timeframe, we cannot include them in your application.


Language proficiency

I don’t have an English test certificate, can I apply?

Yes. Though you still have time to acquire an English test certificate, it is not obligatory. During the Assessment Center, you need to give a talk, you introduce a paper, you have panel and individual interviews, all in English language.

 

I don’t speak German, can I apply?

Yes, you can. If you are accepted for a PhD student position, be aware that university rules and regulations might demand attending German classes during your PhD time in Berlin.


Assessment Center

When/where does the assessment center take place and do I need a special preparation?

UPDATE: SEE BELOW

The assessment center (AC) will take place from November 1-7, 2020 in Berlin / Germany. If invited, you will give a short talk (7 min.) about your previous scientific work and a 3 min. oral summary of a relevant recent scientific research paper, which we will send you shortly before the AC. In addition, you will have panel and individual interviews with our researchers and lab tours.


Coronavirus

What if Coronavirus doesn’t want me to come to Berlin?

UPDATE: DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS SITUATION; ALL OR PARTS OF THE ASSESSMENT CENTER IN NOVEMBER 2020 WILL LIKELY TAKE PLACE ONLINE (VIDEO CONFERENCE).

We expect that freedom of travel will make it possible again for everyone to come to Berlin in November 2020. Likely, we all need to stick to good hygiene and physical contact rules, e.g. wearing masks. How we can organize social events, is not clear, yet. If rules somehow make it impossible for candidates to fly in, we will organize an option to give talks and have the interviews online.


Project start

If accepted, when will I start on my project in Berlin?

If you accept the offer, you will start on April 1, 2021 with your project as 3rd generation PhD students in GRK 2046. However, to find proper accommodation and to sign the contract etc. you might want to be here a little earlier. To orientate yourself and get things done, please also use 2nd generation PhD students as vital source of knowledge. You will meet them at the assessment center.


Enrolment fee          

Is there any enrolment fee at Berlin universities?

There is no special enrolment fee for PhD students at a German university. However, Berlin universities charge a fee that amounts to roughly €620 per year. This includes free public transportation in the Berlin metropolitan area and other benefits that are well worth paying for.


Financial support / position

Do I get a stipend for my PhD?

No, no stipend. You will receive a PhD student position financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for 3 years. This includes social security, e.g. health insurance and pension fund. If necessary, the position might be extended with funds by your host institution for additional six months. Your salary will easily cover your living costs in Berlin assuming a “student-type” lifestyle.

UPDATE: Assessment Center

Due to the coronavirus situation, the planned assessment center in November 2020 will be online (video conference).

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