CEPLAS Graduate School

The CEPLAS Graduate School offers a structured 3-year doctoral programme that is jointly organised by the Universities of Düsseldorf and Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the Forschungszentrum Jülich, all located in the Cologne/Düsseldorf area. Ph.D. students admitted to the programme work in one (or sometimes two) of the CEPLAS member laboratories on a topic related to the CEPLAS research programme. CEPLAS doctoral researchers benefit from comprehensive training programmes that address their academic as well as career development aspirations and needs.  

What we offer – at a glimpse: 

  • A stimulating research environment focussing on plant science 
  • Ph.D. projects cover topics including molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, developmental biology of plants and plant-microbe interactions, all using state-of-the-art technology and computational analysis.
  • A comprehensive training programme in scientific and transferable skills 
  • Funding for 36 month 
  • Additional funding to attend conferences and workshops
  • Funding for a research period in a laboratory abroad (Mobility Fund).
  • Help with other organisational issues (e.g. visa, health insurance etc.)

Kumari Billakurthi (Member of the CEPLAS Graduate School):
"I feel privileged to take part in CEPLAS. The graduate school is very well structured and organized. A close collaboration between the institutions and regular meetings among multidisciplinary research groups offers a perfect platform for young researchers to exchange their ideas and to interact with scientific experts. CEPLAS also creates equal opportunity to women and international students as well." 

Elia Stahl (Former member of CEPLAS Graduate School, Graduation in June 2016):
"CEPLAS gave me the opportunity to work focused on a three years Ph.D project with the benefit from the combined expertise of the whole cluster and the scientific training program." 

Anna Matuszyńska (Former member of CEPLAS Graduate School, Graduation Nov 2016):
"PhD is a hot period at the beginning of your scientific career. Big challenges, huge expectations, steep learning curve, staring of building your scientific network. CEPLAS gives me the opportunity to meet top scientists in the field and at the same time exchange ideas and reflections on my work with other students, providing everything a PhD student needs during the first years of the scientific career."

Speaker of the CEPLAS Graduate School

Prof. Dr. Ute Höcker
CEPLAS Ute Höcker


 +49 221 470-6897

Botanical Institute, Cologne Biocenter
University of Cologne

Zülpicher Straße 47b

50674 Cologne



Dr. Justine Groenewold
Foto Justine Lorek


 +49 221 470-4877

Cologne Biocenter, University of Cologne

Zülpicher Straße 47b

Room: 4.609

50674 Cologne

Association of Doctoral Researchers to the CEPLAS Graduate School

Profile Graduate School

  • Members: 33
  • Female Doctoral Researchers: 67%
  • International Doctoral Researchers: 33% (China, Iran, India, Italy, Switzerland,Spain)
  • Associated Doctoral Researchers: 3
  • PhD representatives: Meike Hüdig, Michael Thielen (deputy)

Record date November 1st 2017

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich