EMBL International PhD Programme

Unique in the world and waiting for you!

About us

The EMBL International PhD Programme (EIPP), originally established in 1983, provides PhD students with an excellent starting platform for a successful career in science by fostering early independence and interdisciplinary research.

EMBL is dedicated to promoting excellence in the molecular life sciences throughout Europe. To achieve this goal, we inspire and train talented young scientists to become skilled and creative future leaders in academia, industry and other sectors.

The EIPP provides comprehensive interdisciplinary training, maintaining a careful balance between theory and practice, close mentoring and creative freedom, collaborative teamwork and independence. These key characteristics make the EIPP a role model, which has inspired similar programmes at research institutions throughout Europe and the world.

The enriching encounter of different nationalities, the friendly and collaborative atmosphere, and the passion for science is what unites EMBL’s diverse staff and provides the ideal setting to forge long-lasting connections and make studying at EMBL a unique formative experience.


Acceptance rate of applicants                                                      

~ 50–60

New PhD students admitted each year

~ 50

Nationalities represented among PhD students

3.95 years

Average time to submission of thesis                                          


First-author papers per PhD student                      


Completion rate of thesis among PhD students                            

Two recruitment rounds are organised each year across all EMBL sites. The application deadlines and all relevant information are published well in advance.

Explore the structure and content of the EMBL International PhD Programme.

Find out more about the cutting-edge Research Topics investigated across our different Research Units.

The complexity of current biological research questions increasingly calls for interdisciplinary approaches. To prepare our students for this challenge, the EIPP puts great emphasis on bringing together different fields of expertise: we actively encourage candidates with backgrounds in chemistry, physics, mathematics, molecular medicine, computer science or engineering to apply and work closely with biologists to answer fundamental questions in life sciences.

Since its first edition in 2000, the annual EMBL International PhD Symposium in Heidelberg developed into a well-recognized and highly appreciated scientific event.

It is always EMBL’s first year PhD students who take on the responsibility for the conceptual development and organization of the meeting. The symposia provide a great platform for networking and scientific exchange, featuring lectures by top-level scientists as well as plenty of opportunities for young researchers to present their work. 

See the full list of past symposia


image of Vira Beck

Vira Beck

Programme Officer / Graduate Recruitment

Postdoctoral Programme


EMBL Graduate Office

EMBL Heidelberg
Meyerhofstraße 1
69117 Heidelberg

Tel: +49 6221 387-8612/8896
Fax: +49 6221 387-8400
Email: graduate-office@embl.org