International Max Planck Research School 'Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth'

The 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. The IMPRS-PMPG programme has been running since 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

Plant growth, seen from a physiological point of view as resource (carbon, nutrients) acquisition and its conversion into plant biomass, is the main focus of the IMPRS-PMPG. The research projects of our doctoral students aim to elucidate plant growth and biomass acquisition from this physiological point of view with primary metabolism as a starting point.

Multicellular organisms adjust their growth and development in response to a multitude of endogenous and exogenous cues including nutrient and water availability, activities of bioenergetics pathways, light and temperature. In order to thrive, they must optimize the use of available resources, balancing their needs for energy, biosynthetic building blocks, and reserves. Whereas animals satisfy their demand of organic nutrients by feeding on plants or other animals, green plants produce all of their own organic compounds. A plant's ability to grow thus depends entirely on its own photosynthetic and metabolic capacity.

The rate of growth and development has to be adjusted to the metabolic status of a plant. To achieve this, the metabolic status needs to be translated into an appropriate response. Thus, growth and primary metabolism are highly interconnected via multiple cross-acting regulatory mechanisms and controls.

To study the relationship between primary metabolism and growth, we are following a systems-oriented approach, using Arabidopsis thaliana and other model plants. Our research combines cutting-edge analytical techniques, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies and physiology with bioinformatics and modelling approaches.


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


How to Join the IMPRS-PMPG

The IMPRS-PMPG programme has been running since 2007. 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 'Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth' 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-PMPG 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.



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-PMPG 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-PMPG 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-PMPG 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.

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