International Programmes 2019/2020

International Max Planck Research School Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth (IMPRS-PMPG) IMPRS Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology • Potsdam

Degree
Doctoral degree
Doctoral degree or degree awarded by
University of Potsdam
Course location
Potsdam
In cooperation with
University of Potsdam
Teaching language
  • English
Languages

The working language of the IMPRS-PMPG is English. All courses and seminars are held in English. The doctoral thesis can be written and defended in English or German.

Programme duration
6 semesters
Beginning
Only for doctoral programmes: any time
More information on beginning of studies
There is no fixed start time.
After the IMPRS-PMPG selection interviews, successful candidates can start their doctorate until December of the same year.
Application deadline

Application calls for IMPRS-PMPG-funded positions are held once per year. Usually, the application deadline for fellowships is in January. The application deadlines are posted on the IMPRS-PMPG website.

The two-day IMPRS-PMPG selection interviews are usually held in late March / early April.

After the interviews, successful candidates start their PhD projects between May and December.


Association with IMPRS-PMPG: Students who join the research groups of IMPRS-PMPG faculty independent of the IMPRS interviews, with funding for their doctorate from other sources, can be associated with IMPRS-PMPG. The application for association is possible throughout the year.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
None
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
No
Joint degree / double degree programme
No
Description/content

The study of the relationship between primary metabolism and growth in plants is the focus of the International Max Planck Research School "Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth" (IMPRS-PMPG), a joint doctoral programme between the University of Potsdam (UP) and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP).

A detailed understanding of plant growth, arguably, represents one of the greatest challenges in plant physiology. It also has tremendous societal and economic implications. Biomass acquisition is a highly complex process that is influenced by an enormous diversity of endogenous and exogenous factors, including macronutrient availability, uptake, distribution and storage, the activities of the bioenergetics pathways (photosynthesis and respiration) and numerous abiotic factors, such as light, temperature and water availability and their impact on cellular growth. These interact with developmental aspects of growth, like pattern formation, cell division rates, cell expansion and organ development. 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 our research school.

Our faculty includes professors and group leaders from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and the Faculty of Science of the University of Potsdam. Research is at the core of the three-year programme of IMPRS-PMPG. We provide a unique training opportunity in modern plant science with a systems biology-oriented approach. Arabidopsis thaliana is our primary model organism, and our research projects use a range of methods - from molecular physiology, molecular phenotyping (-omics) technologies, and cutting-edge analytical techniques to bioinformatics and modelling.

The doctoral candidates within IMPRS-PMPG come from a variety of scientific backgrounds - biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and related fields. Our doctoral students receive interdisciplinary scientific training through lecture series and seminar courses, with English as a working language. A part of our curriculum is devoted to transferable skills training, such as scientific presentation and writing, communication, team-work, etc. We aim to be as flexible as possible in our scientific and complementary skills training so that the curricular activities in IMPRS-PMPG fit the individual needs and interests of each doctoral student and his or her thesis project.

Some doctoral students within IMPRS-PMPG pursue a joint research project in collaboration with professors and group leaders at the University of Melbourne, Australia and spend time in Potsdam and Melbourne. For more information, see Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme on our website.

Course organisation

The three-year training programme provides interdisciplinary scientific training through lectures, seminars, practical courses, participation at national and international conferences and/or summer schools, and teaching experience. The scientific training is complemented by transferable skills courses and workshops.

The thesis research is carried out under the direct supervision of one or more members of the IMPRS faculty. In addition, each doctoral student is supported by an independent PhD advisory committee (PAC). The PhD advisory committee comprises two to three members and is tailored to the needs of the student and the thesis project.

Types of assessment

Doctoral students give a 20-minute presentation about their research project every year, and submit a written progress report at the end of their first and second year. The report is the basis for discussions with the PhD advisory committee (PAC). The presentations, written reports and meetings with the PAC form an integral part of our training programme, they are not graded.

At the end of the doctorate, a written PhD thesis is submitted and orally defended at the University of Potsdam's Science Faculty.

The doctoral degree (Dr rer nat) is awarded by the University of Potsdam's Science Faculty.

International elements
  • Training in intercultural skills
  • Projects with partners in Germany and abroad
Description of other international elements

IMPRS-PMPG is embedded in a very international research environment: more than 60% of the doctoral students in the programme are international students, the research community at the Max Planck Campus in Potsdam-Golm is very international.

Some doctoral students within IMPRS-PMPG pursue a joint research project in collaboration with professors and group leaders at the University of Melbourne, Australia and spend time in Potsdam and Melbourne. For more information, see Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Programme on our website.

Teaching/work obligations or opportunities

The Science Faculty at the University of Potsdam asks doctoral candidates to gain a small amount of teaching experience during their doctorate, for example, by co-supervising students in practical courses (approx. 25 hours in total).

Special promotion / funding of the programme
  • IMPRS
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
No
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
No
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
None
Semester contribution
Semester fee at the University of Potsdam: approx. 290 EUR per semester. This includes a public transport ticket for Potsdam, Berlin, and surrounding areas.
Costs of living
Accommodation costs make up the largest portion of monthly living expenses for students. The monthly cost of housing in Potsdam and Berlin for one person can vary from about 450 EUR to approx. 600 EUR. This depends on the type and location of the accommodation.
For further information, see:
https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/6458/General_Information
https://www.uni-potsdam.de/en/welcomecenter/preparation/housing.html
Funding opportunities within the university
No
Academic Admission Requirements

Applicants for the programme should hold or be about to obtain a Master's or equivalent degree in a subject relevant to our programme (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, bioinformatics, informatics, mathematics, or related fields). The academic performance should be excellent (rank at or near top of class).

Doctoral candidates register with the Science Faculty at the University of Potsdam. Doctoral studies require a university degree with at least four years of study and a research thesis. If you are unsure whether you fulfil the degree requirements, please contact the IMPRS-PMPG coordinator.

Language requirements

The working language of the programme is English, both within the curriculum and for the scientific communication between our scientists. Thus, students belonging to the research school should have a very good knowledge of written and spoken English.
Candidates should support their application with proof of proficiency in English, for example, scores of internationally valid language exams like TOEFL, IELTS, MTELP, or other tests. If no English test is submitted, proficiency in English may be evaluated during a personal interview.

We do not require any knowledge of German. Nevertheless, some knowledge of German is useful for getting around Potsdam and Berlin. German language courses for those interested in learning some German are offered at regular intervals by the university and in collaboration with the Science Park Potsdam-Golm (course levels: beginners and advanced 1).

Application deadline

Application calls for IMPRS-PMPG-funded positions are held once per year. Usually, the application deadline for fellowships is in January. The application deadlines are posted on the IMPRS-PMPG website.

The two-day IMPRS-PMPG selection interviews are usually held in late March / early April.

After the interviews, successful candidates start their PhD projects between May and December.


Association with IMPRS-PMPG: Students who join the research groups of IMPRS-PMPG faculty independent of the IMPRS interviews, with funding for their doctorate from other sources, can be associated with IMPRS-PMPG. The application for association is possible throughout the year.

Submit application to

Online application portal (open during application calls)

Please see IMPRS-PMPG website for further information:

https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/IMPRS-PhD

E-mail contact:

research-school@mpimp-golm.mpg.de

Accommodation

For the first weeks, we offer accommodation in the MPI's guest house on campus. This allows for time to look around for accommodation in Potsdam or Berlin. The market is lively and with a bit of patience, it is possible to find a good flat or a room in a shared flat. Please note that doctoral students are not eligible for accommodation in student housing run by Potsdam or Berlin Student Services (Studentenwerk Potsdam or Berlin).

Below is a selection of internet resources and private student housing:

  • "WG Gesucht" & "Studenten WG" (internet portals for flats, shared flats, rooms, etc.; many offers are private offers; you can search by city)
  • ImmobilienScout 24  (internet portal for flats, houses, etc.; you can search by city and enter preferences for location, kitchen, balcony, etc.)
  • BaseCamp Potsdam (private student apartments in Potsdam-Golm, in walking distance from MPI-MP and UP)
  • The Twenty  (private student apartments in Potsdam-Golm, in walking distance from MPI-MP and UP)
  • Youniq Potsdam (private student apartments in Potsdam)
  • Studentendorf Schlachtensee (private student housing in the south-west of Berlin)
Structured research and supervision
Yes
Research training / discussion
Yes
Career advisory service

Informal career advice is provided by the PhD supervisors, advisory committee members, and the programme coordinator. The transferable skills training programme includes job application courses.

Specific specialist or non-specialist support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Other
Support programmes for international students
Support is offered for visa matters, registration with the Potsdam city authorities, opening of a bank account, etc., either by the international officer at the MPI-MP or the Welcome Center team at the University of Potsdam (UP). The Welcome Center team at UP also offers a "Buddy Programme" and organises excursions for international researchers.
Advice and support for formal matters with the University of Potsdam (registration as doctoral student, etc.) is offered by the programme coordinator. IMPRS-PMPG students are registered as doctoral candidates with the Faculty of Science at the University of Potsdam.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology

Content Bild
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology © MPI-MP, Josef Bergstein

The IMPRS Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth is embedded in a vibrant research community. More than 100 doctoral candidates study under the guidance of our faculty, their groups, and departments.

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology is an internationally leading centre for basic plant research, especially in the areas of metabolism, plastid biology, plant systems biology, and synthetic biology. Around 20 PhD students and guest students join the MPI-MP every year for their doctoral research.

The University of Potsdam ranks within the top 200 universities worldwide for the subject area “Life Sciences” in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Ranking. The University of Potsdam has about 20,800 students, more than 10% of them international. Several faculty members of the IMPRS Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth are professors of the University of Potsdam's Faculty of Science, within the Institute of Biochemistry and Biology which is located at the Science Park Potsdam-Golm.

The Science Park Potsdam-Golm hosts the University of Potsdam, three Max Planck Institutes, two Fraunhofer Institutes, and a centre for start-up companies. This provides an excellent infrastructure for modern cross-disciplinary training, and our students will have many opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas. Several sports and other cultural activities take place on campus - students can join the MPI's football team or enjoy a game of beach volleyball, for example.

Within the University of Potsdam, the Potsdam Graduate School (PoGS) unites many individual doctoral candidates and more than twenty PhD programmes in different disciplines and faculties under one roof and offers support, for example, through seminars and transferable skills courses.

The Welcome Center at the University of Potsdam provides information, support, and service for international scientists in Potsdam. Their activities include a monthly newsletter, a buddy programme, and excursions.

> 60% International students in IMPRS-PMPG
2007 The year that the IMPRS-PMPG was founded

Location

The Science Park Potsdam-Golm, which hosts the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and several institutes of the University of Potsdam, is in a green area outside the centre of Potsdam, but is well connected with both Potsdam's centre and Berlin by train or bus.

Potsdam is an attractive city with a population of about 200,000. It is home to the famous Sanssouci Palace, many lakes, and beautiful parks. Within Potsdam, it is easy to get around on foot and by bike or public transport.

Berlin, the capital of Germany and, with a population of 3.5 million, Germany's largest city, is very close to Potsdam. The typical commuting time by public transport from the centre of Berlin to the Science Park Potsdam-Golm is about one hour. Four universities and several research institutions are located in Berlin and it is not difficult for Potsdam students to attend events and scientific talks in Berlin.

A wealth of cultural life can be enjoyed in Potsdam and Berlin. To find out more, see: