Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme (MelPoPP)

Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme (MelPoPP)

The Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme (MelPoPP) is an initiative between the University of Melbourne (UoM), Australia, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) and the University of Potsdam (UP), Germany, that started in 2016. The programme creates an international research training opportunity for PhD students. The students spend time in Australia and Germany and will have the chance to get a joint PhD from the University of Melbourne and the University of Potsdam. For more information, please read on and explore the links.

The application call for MelPoPP positions to start in second half of 2021 is now CLOSED. 
Interviews for MelPoPP positions will be held in April 2021,
in a joint 2-day interview workshop with the IMPRS-PMPG.


The Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme involves research groups at the University of Melbourne’s Schools of BioSciences, Chemistry, and Mathematics and Statistics, at the University of Potsdam’s Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, and at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. PhD students in the programme have projects that are jointly supervised by group leaders in Melbourne and in Potsdam. The joint projects combine expertise at either institution that complement each other.

More information about new joint projects available in the current application round can be found at Application round 2020/2021. On this page, you can find a list of the projects and a PDF with detailed project descriptions.

Profiles of PhD candidates pursuing a joint project between Melbourne and Potsdam can be found on the University of Melbourne's MelPoPP website.

Application & Recruitment Procedure

Candidates for the Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme are selected via an application and interview procedure that is integrated into the application call for the IMPRS “Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth” (IMPRS-PMPG). You can find out more about the application and interview procedure at IMPRS Application.

Within MelPoPP, you apply for joint projects involving research groups in Melbourne and Potsdam. This is different from the application for the IMPRS-PMPG where you apply for the research groups of IMPRS faculty members, not for projects. 

Please go to Application round 2020/2021 to find out about deadlines, the online application form and the joint projects that you can apply for.


Degree: Candidates must hold an excellent or very good Master or equivalent degree in a relevant discipline. The MSc must include research for and writing of a graded thesis.
For the 2020/2021 application round, you should expect to finish your degree and receive final degree certificates and transcripts no later than June 2021, especially for projects starting in Melbourne.

Language: Candidates must meet the UoM English language requirements for Graduate students at the Faculty of Science. To show your English proficiency, please submit the results of a recent (less than 24 months old; Dec 2020 COVID-19 Note: less than 36 months old) TOEFL or IELTS test with your application. If you have scheduled a test for a date after our application call ends, please name the test date in your application and send us the results as soon as you receive them. 

Accepted tests are: TOEFL, IELTS,  Pearson Test of English (academic tests), or Cambridge English, Advanced/Certificate in Advanced English (CAE). To find out more about the English requirements for graduate students at UoM and how they can be satisfied, please go to: UoM Graduate English language requirements.
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology Institution Code (DI code) for the TOEFL test is: 4240.


Funding for MelPoPP PhD students comes from the University of Melbourne and the MPI-MP. MelPoPP PhD students receive a Melbourne Graduate Research Scholarship while in Melbourne and a Max Planck Support Contract for doctoral candidates (remuneration corresponding to 65% of TVöD Pay Group 13, level 1 or 2) while at the MPI-MP. A limited number of positions are awarded during each application call. Positions are awarded for 3 years, with the possibility of 6 months extension, and include a waiver for UoM tuition fees.


Staffan Persson, who was Max Planck research group leader at the MPI-MP and faculty member of the IMPRS ‘Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth’, joined the University of Melbourne as Professor in 2015. To keep up his scientific ties with his colleagues in Potsdam and to facilitate the establishment of new Australian-German collaborations, he initiated the Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme.

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