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 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 2019/2020. 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 IMPRS application procedure at IMPRS Application.

Within the Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme, 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 2019/2020 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 2019/2020 application round, you should expect to finish your degree and receive final degree certificates and transcripts no later than June 2020, 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) 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.
To find out more about the English requirements for graduate students at UoM and how they can be satisfied, please go to: UoM English language requirements.
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology Institution Code (DI code) for the TOEFL test is: 4240.


Funding for PhD students within the programme comes from the University of Melbourne and the MPI-MP. A limited number of positions is available from either institution 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. Some details regarding benefits and conditions may differ depending on which institution the funding for the position is coming from.


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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