The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) Enters the Next Stage

December 08, 2020

The successful model of doctoral training is being extended: For another six years, the IMPRS for Micobiology offers a structured, three-year doctoral training program in close cooperation with the University of Marburg and the SYNMIKRO Research Center. The submission of applications opens on December 1, 2020 and runs until January 31, 2021 - the final selection stage is the online symposium at the end of March 2021.

Twenty years ago, the MPG, together with numerous universities, established the International Max Planck Research Schools. IMPRS Marburg was founded in 2003. Since then, 174 young scientists have received their doctoral degrees within the doctoral program.

In the IMPRS, international junior researchers have the opportunity to obtain their doctorate under excellent conditions. Because of the close cooperation of the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology (MPIterMic) with the University of Marburg and SYNMIKRO, the doctoral students benefit from the interdisciplinary curriculum as well as the excellent research conditions at the participating institutions.We are very happy about the extension of the graduate school," says Prof. Tobias Erb, spokesperson of the new IMPRS-µLife. "The follow-up financing enables us to train further young research talents at the highest level in cooperation with the Philipps University of Marburg and the SYNMIKRO Research Center.”

The graduate program will in the new funding period continue to explore the fundamental principles of microbial life and ideally bridge the subject boundaries in order to achieve an integrative understanding of microorganisms and their interaction with the living and non-living environment. To achieve this ambitious goal, the IMPRS-µLife brings together groups that focus on four key areas of microbial research: Metabolism & Physiology, Signal Transduction & Information Processing, Cellular Organization & Architecture and Microbial Communities & Interaction.

The IMPRS mentors are dedicated to train, mentor and educate young and talented doctoral students in life sciences and beyond. From their start until graduation, doctoral researchers are also supported by IMPRS coordinator Dušica Radoš. The annual call for applications is quite competitive: there are usually more than 15 applicants for each place in the IMPRS in Marburg. But once being admitted to the programme, mutual support is paramount, as speaker Tobias Erb emphasizes: "Of course, the selection process is tough. But we do not just look at what a person has achieved scientifically so far, we also evaluate their personality. What ideas and visions, what motivation does someone bring to the table? That is very important for us.”

Being part of the IMPRS can shape the whole life of a researcher, as Dušica Radoš knows: "Internationality and diversity are important because different cultures and different approaches are represented in the graduate school - everyone brings something different and people can learn from each other. It is a fruitful cooperation. We also try to nurture a community feeling. Over time, a network develops, and new ideas emerge from it. This worldwide network goes far beyond the end of the doctoral period. And it is simply incredible to see how a worldwide network can be established in Marburg, in the middle of Germany.”

But the IMPRS also has a great impact on the participating institutes. "For us, the IMPRS offers the opportunity to bring the best talents to Marburg and perform "cutting edge" research,” says Tobias Erb. “The idea is that we build a network of interested and interesting people who act as ambassadors for us to the outside world. Two things are important here: on the one hand, that they learn the tools of the trade, laboratory work, but also that they develop into the next-generation leaders in academia and also industry." The conditions are considered extremely good at the IMPRS of the Max Planck Society. "The researchers are provided with great freedom, but at the same time also bear a lot of responsibility. This means that we aim for personalities who we believe can independently drive forward their own scientific projects.”

Call for applications opens on the December 1st, 2020 and closes on the January 31st, 2021. Final selection step is an online symposium end of March 2021. For more information please see:

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