International Max Planck Research Schoolfor Molecular Plant Science

International Max Planck Research School
for Molecular Plant Science

The IMPRS for Molecular Plant Science (IMPRS MolPlant), formerly called IMPRS 'Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth' (IMPRS-PMPG), is a joint initiative of the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. Our IMPRS was established in 2007. We are accepting talented graduate students into the programme at regular intervals. For more information, read on and explore the links on the left hand side.

Research Focus

Plants and their seeds, for example rice, wheat, maize and pulses, are vital for human nutrition. Understanding the fundamental processes of how plants grow, reproduce and interact with the abiotic and biotic environment is of great scientific interest and, ultimately, has societal and economic implications.

We conduct curiosity-driven, basic research centering around the following questions:

  • How do primary physiological processes such as photosynthesis, central metabolism and respiration function, and how are their activities regulated?
  • How do plants form their organs, tissues, cells and sub-cellular structures, and how is the formation of different organs and structures coordinated?
  • How is epigenetic information established and transmitted and how do epigenetic processes impact on plant development?
  • How do plants and soil fungi interact to establish arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) symbiosis, and how are the accommodation of AM fungi inside root cells and the plant’s physiological and developmental state interconnected?
  • How do environmental abiotic factors such as light, temperature, and availability of water and nutrients influence plant physiology, development, and the interaction with microorganisms?
  • How are exogenous and endogenous signals perceived, and how is information transmitted and integrated to ensure plant health, survival, biomass acquisition and seed formation?
  • How can we manage, analyse and integrate complex, large-scale genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, translatomic, proteomic and metabolomic datasets to answer biological questions and generate new hypotheses?

To answer these questions, we use an interdisciplinary approach combining molecular biology, genetics, genomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, biochemistry, biophysics and microscopy with bioinformatics and modelling. We work with Arabidopsis thaliana, tobacco, tomato, Lotus japonicus, rice and other model plants, and make use of genetic diversity by studying natural accessions, closely related species, and introgression populations.

Research is at the core of the doctoral programme. IMPRS PhD researchers conduct their projects under the supervision of our faculty members, within their groups and departments. You can find more information about the faculty of the IMPRS MolPlant, their research interests and links to their websites on the IMPRS Faculty page.


How to Join the IMPRS

We are accepting talented graduate students into the programme at regular intervals. Our application procedure is explained on the IMPRS Application page. It is worthwhile informing yourself about this procedure well before an application call opens.

Our calls for application are usually in December and January, for doctoral fellowships to start between early summer (May, June) and autumn (October to December). We do not have a fixed start date, but successful candidates should start their position in the year they were interviewed in, if possible. You need to apply via an online application portal. We announce here when the application portal is open - have a look at the column on the left!

The IMPRS for Molecular Plant Science is a joint initiative of the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and the University of Potsdam. Candidates who are accepted into the programme will be registered as doctoral students at the University of Potsdam and receive a doctoral degree from the University's Faculty of Sciences.

We have one application call for IMPRS positions per year. The call usually opens in December and is open for about 6 weeks, until January. Positions in a given call should be started by the end of the respective year.
Please explore IMPRS Application and IMPRS Faculty for further information about our application and interview procedure, and the research done by our faculty members.

NOTE: The next application round for the IMPRS MolPlant will be announced in December 2024, for PhD positions to start in 2025. If you would like to join the MPI-MP and/or the lab of one of our IMPRS Faculty members in 2024, please look out for adverts for PhD positions with them.



Funding for IMPRS doctoral researchers comes from the MPI-MP, the University of Potsdam and other institutions that our Faculty members are affiliated with. IMPRS PhD positions are fully funded and are awarded for 3 years, with a possibility for extension. The IMPRS PhD contract includes German public health insurance and social insurance. The details of the PhD contract may vary, depending on the institution that is primarily responsible for the contract (MPI-MP or University of Potsdam). The University of Potsdam charges a Semester Fee for enrolment as doctoral student (currently around 300 EUR per semester). The Semester Fee includes the "Semesterticket", a 6-month public transport ticket for Potsdam, Berlin and the surrounding area. There are no further tuition fees. Membership in the IMPRS includes a travel budget for the attendance of conferences, seminars, lab visits or other training elements organized outside the IMPRS that benefit your doctoral research and career. 

When you apply for the IMPRS MolPlant through our yearly application call, you apply for a funded position. The funding source may vary. PhD students who have started their PhD research and position in the departments and research groups of our Faculty members outside the yearly application call and interview days can join the IMPRS through an interview procedure for association with the IMPRS. More information about "IMPRS association" can be obtained from the Doctoral Programme Coordinator. 


About the IMPRS Initiative

The International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) aim to support and promote junior scientists in the doctoral phase. The IMPRS initiative was launched by the Max Planck Society together with the German Rectors' Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz) in 1999. The IMPRS offer structured PhD programmes in English that provide the doctoral candidates with excellent research and educational possibilities. All IMPRS are a cooperation between Max Planck Institutes and Universities. To learn more about the IMPRS initiative and all IMPRS programmes, explore the link 'Information about all IMPRS' on the left.

Go to Editor View