EMBL International PhD Programme

Unique in the world and waiting for you!

Programme overview

The EMBL International PhD Programme (EIPP) provides state-of-the-art training to its students, featuring a good balance between theory and practice, individual mentoring and creative freedom as well as teamwork and early independence. The average duration of a PhD thesis at EMBL is around 4 years. EMBL predoctoral fellowships are initially awarded for 3.5 years, with the possibility of a half-year extension. During their time at EMBL, fellows profit from outstanding laboratory and research facilities and enjoy close mentoring by highly qualified scientists.

In addition to the direct supervision by the respective Group/Team Leader, each EMBL PhD student has a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), consisting of the primary EMBL supervisor, two other EMBL advisors and a chosen university advisor. They jointly guide the student during the thesis work. Students meet with their TAC members annually as outlined below.

After the first TAC meeting, students enrol with their chosen university according to the respective procedures. Thesis submission and thesis defense are also regulated by the university.

The following timeline presents the structure and requirements of the EIPP at a glance:

Fellowship rates

The stipend is competitive by international standards and offers broad benefits including health care and pension.

University registration

EMBL students are required to register with a university of their choice, which will award the PhD degree. Students may also obtain a ‘Joint PhD degree’ from EMBL and one of our partner universities across Member States, which is based on EMBL’s authority to grant its own PhD degree.

EIPP Curriculum

EMBL’s training programmes span both breadth and depth, supporting the development of our students, so that they are able to realise their full potential. In addition to the excellent scientific training fellows receive in the laboratories, they benefit from the EIPP Curriculum, which consists of a set of mandatory core courses, a wide range of career development workshops as well as optional training activities.

Required training

All EIPP students attend a nine-week Core Course in Molecular Biology, organised in the first year at EMBL Heidelberg; and a one-week Bioinformatics Course, organised during the second year at EMBL-EBI. In their third year, students benefit from a Career Development module. This provides students with broad interdisciplinary training (both theoretical and practical), class cohesion and networking opportunities across EMBL sites.    

Complementary training

PhD students are encouraged to participate in additional training according to their needs and interests by taking advantage of the courses offered by the Complementary Scientific Skills Programme and the Professional Development & Training Programme (Intranet link for staff members only). In order to prepare fellows for their next career steps, the EMBL Fellow’s Career Service offers a comprehensive set of workshops and webinars, as well as individual career guidance.

Additional opportunities

Our students enjoy plenty of opportunities to develop hands-on transferable skills by participating in the organisation of PhD symposia and retreats, or by engaging in public outreach activities and teaching. They are also invited to contribute to EMBL’s committees to represent the predoc community and to shape the future of the programme. EMBL is committed to support students in reaching their professional aims by providing access to EMBL Courses and Conferences as well as by encouraging students to attend international conferences.