EMBL International PhD Programme

Unique in the world and waiting for you!


Registration for the 2022 PhD Summer recruitment is now closed.

The next application round will open mid-August.

2022 Summer recruitment timeline:

Application opensFebruary 2022
Application submission deadline19 April 2022, 23:59 CEST
Reference deadline21 April 2022, 23:59 CEST
Interview dates20 – 22 June, then 13 – 20 July
Application resultswill be announced in June 2022
Expected start dateflexible; by October 2022 at the latest

Due to the current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the interviews might be conducted in a virtual format. Full details regarding the interview process will be sent to invited candidates.

Information for applicants: EMBL does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interviews, processing, training or any other fees). EMBL will not ask for any bank details.


We welcome applications from highly qualified students of all nationalities. Applicants must hold, or anticipate receiving before starting at EMBL, a university degree that would formally qualify them to enter a PhD or equivalent programme in the country where the degree was obtained. All applications need to be supported by a minimum of two academic reference letters, and are evaluated solely on the basis of qualification and scientific potential.

PhD candidates with prior EMBL association

EMBL welcomes visitors, interns, trainees, master rotation/thesis students and other scientists who are associated with EMBL for training purposes.

Candidates who have previously been associated with EMBL are welcome to apply. To ensure equal treatment of all applicants to the EIPP, candidates with prior EMBL association will be specifically reviewed by the Graduate Committee.

Candidates are considered to have prior EMBL association if:

  • they have been associated with EMBL within the 12 months before the application deadline.
  • they have been associated with EMBL during any time of the predoctoral recruitment procedure (from the application deadline until the date of the Initial Admission Assessment)

Please do not hesitate to contact the EMBL Graduate Office for any further questions.  

Interview structure

Invitations will be sent to the successful candidates via email, who will be asked to join Slack for further communication.

PANEL ASSESSMENT INTERVIEWAa a first round of interviews, a 30 minute panel interview is conducted by EMBL Faculty members in June. Successful candidates only will progress to the next step – individual interviews with Group Leaders, which will take place in July.
FURTHER 1-ON-1 INTERVIEWSThe interview week in July is filled with 1-on-1 interviews and detailed discussions with Group Leaders, as well as interactions with group members. Nota bene: We recommend to have a short presentation prepared and be ready to discuss your educational background, scientific interests and any research projects you have worked on previously. 
Interviewed candidates will be asked to submit their preference of the research groups. 
INTERVIEW RESULTSEMBL Graduate Office will communicate the interview results to the candidates via email after the interview week. 

Reference requirements

Referees must submit their online references by 21 April 2022, 23:59 CEST. We strongly suggest that you complete the ‘general info’ and ‘references’ part of the online application first to give your referees enough time to complete the reference online. Furthermore, please make sure to contact your referees before completing this part to find out if they are available and willing to provide a reference. It is your responsibility to ensure that references reach us on time.

You can submit your application irrespective of whether your referees have completed the online reference form. Your referees can access the online form after you have submitted and until the given deadline.

We only accept references provided through institutional email accounts. Only in cases where the referee does not have an institutional email address, i.e. only holds a ‘hotmail’, ‘gmail’ etc. account, we ask you to:
1. Complete the form with the available email address.
2. Inform your referee NOT to complete the online form.
3. Ask your referee to send a reference letter on institutional headed paper, signed and stamped as a PDF document to graduate-office@embl.org
4. Ask your referee to include your application ID number (8 digits) in the reference letter.

Shared Applicant Pool

The EMBL International PhD Programme receives far more applications from very good candidates than we can invite for interview. Applicants who are not short-listed, and have indicated that we can share their application, become part of our shared applicant pool. Applications will be added into the pool twice a year – in December and June.

Principle investigators based at other research institutions may request access to the pool by filling in the questionnaire below.

Shared Applicant Pool Questionnaire



Can I apply even if I have not received my degree yet?

Yes. However, applicants must hold, or anticipate receiving before starting at EMBL (October of any given year), a university degree that would formally qualify them to enter a PhD or equivalent programme in the country where the degree was obtained.

Is there an age limit?

EMBL does not have a strict age limit. The average age of our 1st year students is 25 years.

What is the working language of EMBL?

English is most commonly used across sites in the everyday working environment.

Can I apply if I am a non-member state applicant?

Yes, we welcome applications from all nationalities. Please note that as a general rule priority will be given to member state applicants, if equally qualified.

I have my own funding. Does this guarantee a place in the programme?

All applications are evaluated on basis of qualification and scientific potential. All invited candidates must successfully pass the interview procedure in order to be eligible.

Do I have to provide GRE, IELTS or TOEFL scores?

No. We do not require any, but would like to point out that proficiency in English, both written and verbal, is a prerequisite to enter the EMBL International PhD Programme.

How many reference letters are required for my application?

Your application should be supported by a minimum of two academic reference letters.

Where can I find more information about research at EMBL?

Click here to find out more about research at EMBL 

The Application Process

Is there an application fee?

EMBL does not charge any application fees.

What is the application process?

The online application contains the following steps:
1) You need to create an account to access the online application form.
2) Complete the application form.
3) Submit the completed application form latest by the application deadline.

Is it possible to modify the application?

After submission you will still be able to amend the information until the application deadline. Please make sure to save and resubmit after you have changed any fields.

Can I upload my CV and recommendation letters?

No. Please fill in the requested information into the fields of the application form. All applications are evaluated according to this information. Please do not upload CVs, recommendation letters, course certificates, language school certificates etc, as they will not be considered and will be removed from your application. Uploaded CVs do not replace missing information within the online application form.

I have problems uploading my documents. What should I do?

Please bear in mind the number of documents you are allowed to upload (max 5) as well as the size (max 2 MB per document in PDF format).

I would like to replace one of my referees. How can I do that?

Please contact the Graduate Office who will be able to help you.

My referee has not received a request to submit the reference letter for me. What should I do?

Please double check if your referee’s data, email in particular, is correct. If yes, contact your referee to check if perhaps her/his spam filter has blocked our email. If this is not the case, please contact the Graduate Office.

Will I be informed once the referees have completed their references?

No. However, you may view your submitted application until the application deadline and check if the references have been submitted. Please note that you will not be able to see the actual reference letter.

Do I need to have my certificates translated into English and authenticated?

It is better if your certificates are in English, however this is not required.

If I am unsuccessful in one selection, am I allowed to apply again in the next one?

Yes. However, you will need to fill in the online application form again.

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Learn everything you need to know about preparing and submitting your application.