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Where can I apply?

Applicate ONLY on the DRS application platform


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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.

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