Selection Process & Tips

Selection and Interview Process

The selection interviews of the IMPRS MolPlant are held online. There are two main elements to our interviews: (1) a short presentation with questions and (2) an interview with a panel of our faculty members. The presentation and the interview take place on two separate days. Candidates invited to the interviews will receive further information.

All applications will be reviewed during the application time frame. After the application call has closed, a first shortlist (also called "long list") will be created based on the best applications and excellent reference letters. Please do not send references directly to us, we will contact your referees. We may contact your referees before the application deadline, and we may also contact you if we have any questions regarding your application.

The best candidates will be invited for our two-day selection interviews. The interviews will take place about 5 weeks after the application deadline and will be held via video-conferencing. On the first day, candidates will give a 10 minute oral presentation about their previous scientific work (e.g. their Masters thesis) and are then asked questions by the audience for 5-10 minutes. On the second day, there will be half hour interviews with faculty and coordinators. We may provide you with one or two publications as preparatory material for the interviews 7 days in advance. In the week before the interviews, we will hold informal information events and give you the chance to meet with our doctoral researchers. Individual meetings with research groups will be organized after the interview days.

Decisions about the awarding of doctoral fellowships will be communicated within three weeks after the selection interviews.



... for your application:

Applications can be submitted only via the online application form. Please complete the online application in English. Because we can only accept applications that are complete, you should take your time when you fill in the online form.

The application form must be filled out in one session. Once you begin to fill in the form, you should be prepared to answer all questions in one session and upload your documents at the end. You will not be able to save during this process, so please make sure you have all documents and information at hand. If you close the browser window before clicking on the "submit" button, all entries that you made will be lost.

You may wish to prepare a document with your answers before you begin to complete the form. We recommend that you fill in the form from a desktop computer or laptop. 

You can click on the online application link and study the application form, our requirements, and questions before you actually begin to complete the form. In addition, have a look at the PDF with instructions and tips for filling in the application. You can dowload it via the grey box below.

If you are having problems getting certain documents or have gaps in your CV you should provide us with explanations. Sloppy applications will definitely fail to make it on our shortlist. With your application you show us that you are informed about the research activities of our faculty and that you have knowledge of the respective scientific publications in your field(s) of interest. We have seen applications where the 'research project' essay was prepared so poorly that we could not consider these candidates further! Please make sure that you think carefully about this part of the application and make full use of the permitted space to give us a first impression of your scientific creativity and conceptual understanding. However, please do not try to copy/paste published text pieces, as we will control for plagiarism. Plagiarism will immediately remove your application from further consideration.


Please study the form carefully and take your time when completing it. However, do not wait until the last day of our application period to submit your application.

If you have missed any required fields or have not uploaded the two required documents, you will get error messages after pressing the "submit" button. You can get back to your application by clicking on the "back" button of your browser window.

When you have successfully submitted your application, you will get a screen confiming your submission. Please note down your application number. You will need to use this in all further correspondence with us. You will also receive a confirmation email shortly after you have submitted your application.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you experience any problems with the online application procedure.


... for the selection interviews:

The selection interviews are held on two consecutive days. On the first day, invited candidates will give a short presentation of their previous research - for example from their Masters project. On the second day, candidates will be interviewed by a panel of our faculty members.


Ten minutes for a presentation may seem to be short, but we would like to see many candidates present their research and thus must impose time constraints. Depending on your scientific background you may not have worked in a field that is related to the research done by the group leaders in our IMPRS. Your presentation should therefore be clear to an audience that may not be familiar with your topic. It is important that you give a general introduction into the topic and lead the audience carefully through the figures presented. Keep to the time limit! Usually the real presentation takes longer than the rehearsals, and we will have to interrupt you if you need longer. Thus, you may miss the chance to tell your full story. Be well prepared for the discussion since you might get a lot of tough questions, e.g. why you were using certain techniques, what the aim of your project was, what the next steps in the project would be, what kind of further scientific questions would be interesting to address and how you would approach them methodologically etc. Are you (at least in theory) familiar with the methods in the research areas carried out in the groups of the IMPRS faculty? Think about approaches you are familiar with and ask yourself about their potentials and limitations.


The interview consists of two parts: It usually starts with your summary of the publication that we will have sent to you at least 7 days prior to the interview days. By this, we would like to see how well you deal with primary literature. The remaining discussion will be about your background and motivation. At any time during the interview, you can impress us with your knowledge, creative thoughts, and ideas. In addition, it is advisable to be well informed about the research of our IMPRS faculty, in particular of the research groups that you named as your preferences in your application.


We look forward to receiving your application - Good luck!

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