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International PhD Programme for Medical Doctors - Emerald

PhD student

The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutions. Max Delbrück, a Berlin native, was a Nobel laureate and one of the founders of molecular biology. At the MDC’s locations in Berlin-Buch and Mitte, researchers from some 60 countries analyze the human system – investigating the biological foundations of life from its most elementary building blocks to systems-wide mechanisms. By understanding what regulates or disrupts the dynamic equilibrium in a cell, an organ, or the entire body, we can prevent diseases, diagnose them earlier, and stop their progression with tailored therapies. Patients should benefit as soon as possible from basic research discoveries. The MDC therefore supports spin-off creation and participates in collaborative networks. It works in close partnership with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in the jointly run Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC ), the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). Founded in 1992, the MDC today employs 1,600 people and is funded 90 percent by the German federal government and 10 percent by the State of Berlin.

12 PhD positions are available for this call across seven top European biomedical research centres: BRIC (Copenhagen), CRG (Barcelona), NKI (Amsterdam), IGC (Lisbon) MDC (Berlin), VIB (Flanders), IC (Paris). In case of high numbers of exceptional good applications to this first call, up to 16 fellows will be hired.

Job Description


The “International PhD Programme for Medical Doctors”, Emerald, trains and nurtures excellent physician-scientists intending to bridge the gap between the clinic and the lab. The programme recruits medical doctors to carry out a PhD in cutting-edge research in one of seven recruiting European centres of excellence in life sciences and biomedicine. The recruited medical doctors will acquire unique scientific, technical, and digital skills and knowledge to advance their career at the frontier of medicine and research, with the final goal to improve patients care and tackling global health challenges.

Biomedical research is advancing at high speed. In the last decades, we have seen major developments resulting in significantly better treatment and healthcare. Addressing the increased need for innovative solutions in medicine requires more than ever the rise of the unique professional profile of physician-scientists, combining research with clinical care, understanding patients´ needs and driving research forward to address them.


The fellows will benefit from attractive salaries, an international, stimulating and creative environment with expert supervision, advanced training, tailored career development and mentoring programmes, and access to high-end technologies and facilities. They will have the opportunity to build valuable international networks with multiple actors in academia, hospitals, patients´ organizations and the private sector. Applicants have a genuine choice of laboratories in the seven recruiting institutions to apply to. Details for all the positions can be found here on the Emerald webpage: link.


Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark; Positions at BRIC: link

Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Positions at CRG: link

Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Positions at NKI: link

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), Rua da Quinta Grande, 6, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal; Positions at IGC: link

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany; Positions at MDC: link

The Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Rijvisschestraat 120, 9052 Gent, Belgium; Positions at VIB: link

Institut Curie (IC), 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris cedex 05 , Paris, France; Positions at IC: link


Education: Candidates must have obtained a medical degree, which allows them to enrol in an official Doctoral programme following the national regulations and institutional requirements in force at each recruiting research centre.

Years of research experience: At the date of the call deadline, candidates must be in the first four years of their research career (exceptions due to career break will be considered) and have not been awarded a PhD degree.

Mobility: Candidates can be of any nationality, but must undertake trans-national mobility according to the H2020 MSCA programme´s rules. During the 3 years before the date of the call deadline, they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) for more than 12 months in the country of the selected recruiting centre for which they apply.


Language: English at an excellent level.

The selection process includes three steps of evaluation: Eligibility check, remote evaluation by expert panels, online interviews with the selection committee, on-site visit to potential host institute and final selection. The selection will be merit-based, using weighted criteria in three defined areas:

Candidate curriculum
Knowledge and scientific potential
English level

We offer

  • International working environment with communication in English and German
  • Interesting career opportunities and a comprehensive range of qualification and further training opportunities
  • Compatibility of family and career certified by the berufundfamilie audit
  • Varied support for "New Berliners" (Welcome & Family Office)
  • Company health management with fitness center

You also benefit from:

  • A remuneration in accordance with the collective agreement for the federal public service (TVöD-Bund), including additional company pension schemes
  • Flexible working hours and childcare support
  • An idyllic green campus, which is easily accessible by bicycle, public transport or car

Further Information:

Job Type:

PhD/PD Program

Application Period:
December 05, 2021

MDC Berlin-Buch

TVöD 13

Employment volume:

Desired starting date:
June 01, 2022

Fixed Term

michaela herzig
PhD/PD Program

Parity and equal status:
The MDC is committed to diversity and actively promotes equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their origin, religion, ideology, health impairment, age or sexual identity. We look forward to receiving applications from open-minded people who enjoy working in diverse teams. Applications from severely disabled persons will be given special consideration.

Please use our online portal and submit your application as one pdf file (5 MB max, including a cover letter, CV, references as well as relevant educational and degree certificates)

Apply now