Young and International

Doctoral students are an integral part of the research community at our institute. They join us after having completed a master’s (M.Sc.) or equivalent degree in Germany or abroad. Our group leaders and other senior researchers guide the young scientists in their research projects and studies.

Within our doctoral education programme, we collaborate closely with the Institute for Biochemistry and Biology at the University of Potsdam. Most of our doctoral candidates are registered as students at the University of Potsdam and will submit and defend their theses at its Science Faculty. The PhD theses can be written and defended in Englisch or German.

A prominent example of this collaboration is the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth" (IMPRS-PMPG). These Research Schools are an initiative of the Max Planck Society and offer talented young scientists the possibility to pursue doctoral research in a structured programme with an interdisciplinary scientific focus. The projects of our IMPRS students aim to elucidate plant growth and biomass acquisition from a physiological point of view with primary metabolism as a starting point. Systems-oriented research approaches are followed, combining cutting-edge analytical techniques, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies and physiology with bioinformatics and modelling approaches.

All our doctoral students are financially supported by a stipend or employment contract for three years, with a possibility of extension up to four years. During this time they sharpen their scientific profile and participate in many other activities – seminars and lectures, courses on transferable skills such as scientific writing or team dynamics, and the student-organized “Plants and People” conference.

Many of our young scientists come from abroad – Poland, China, Chile, Brazil, India, to name but a few countries. This international atmosphere and the excellent research conditions make our institute an attractive place for doctoral studies. 

Asdrúbal Burgos 
IMPRS student from Mexico

I came because this is an institute full of experts in plant science, and especially plant metabolism, which is the most fascinating topic for me. In my everyday work, when I look for relevant papers, I always end up finding authors from the institute. Then I know I’m in the right place.




Christoph Thieme
PhD student from Germany

Bioinformatics means tackling complex questions in biology using methods from mathematics and computer science. Working at the MPIMP provides a great opportunity to develop and apply such methods hand in hand with plant biologists. As such, working in bioinformatics at the MPIMP is more than just "dry theory" and allows to work on, and hopefully solve, real problems. From the very first day I enjoyed working with the friendly people and the great scientific atmosphere. Furthermore, the surroundings with all the historic places, nice parks, and green forests allow me to replenish energy for the next scientific challenges.


Yan Li
IMPRS student from China

Golm, not far away from Berlin, is a beautiful and quiet town. It is a perfect place to do science. The MPI-MP is one of the most famous institutes to do plant physiology research in the world. I am interested in “OMICS” research, which is well established in Prof. Lothar Willmitzer’s lab. IMPRS offers us a wonderful platform to exchange ideas and experiences within the institute, and many of the daily issues are taken good care of by our IMPRS coordinator, Dr. Ina Talke. This is a “wonderland” for science and life!



Tabea Mettler
IMPRS student from Switzerland

During my PhD I wanted to learn the most up-to-date techniques to measure metabolites and proteins and work with algae. I was very glad to find that both were possible at the MPI-MP and therefore I applied here. Only after arriving I found Potsdam to be a really charming city. And it has a quite big and attractive neighbouring city: Berlin. On top of that, the landscape of Brandenburg is formed by rivers and lakes inviting to do all sorts of sport and leisure activities. So you will not get bored for the time of a PhD!

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