The CEPLAS Graduate School offers a structured four-to-five-year doctoral programme covering the fields of molecular plant sciences, plant genetics, plant-microbe interactions, synthetic biology as well as quantitative and computational biology. The programme is jointly organised by the Universities of Düsseldorf and Cologne, the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research and the Forschungszentrum Jülich and it leads students with a Bachelor’s degree through a unique qualification phase to the PhD. PhD students work in one (or sometimes two) of the CEPLAS member laboratories on a topic related to the CEPLAS research programme. CEPLAS Graduate School members benefit from comprehensive training programmes that address their academic as well as career development aspirations and needs.
During the one-year qualification phase, CEPLAS Graduate School students receive a stipend of 800 €/month to cover their expenses for cost of living. During their dissertation research phase, CEPLAS PhD students receive a contract according to German pay scale (65% E12/E13) for up to four years. This contract includes benefits according to German law (health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc.). Funding is dependent on successful performance. PhD students who fail during the qualification period (e.g. do not pass the subject modules with the necessary performance) can continue by pursuing a Master´s degree outside the CEPLAS Graduate School.
There are no tuition fees associated with this programme, except for an approx. 300 € fee per semester for enrolment at the University. This grants you student’s rights including free local public transportation in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Kumari Billakurthi (Former 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):
"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):
"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."