PhD Program Brochure

Apply to the Int. PhD Program

Fully-funded PhD positions in biomedical research in Berlin

The International MDC PhD Program provides an integrated training program for doctoral researchers in the areas of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Cancer Biology and Immunology, Neuroscience, Developmental Biology, Medical Systems Biology and Bioinformatics.

Calls for PhD candidates open in Spring and Fall of each year. The deadlines for the Fall 2018 recruitment are indicated below. 

Applications are invited from candidates who have completed or are in the process of completing a Master degree in chemistry, biology, informatics, or some related field. For detailed requirements please visit the pages of the application portal.

Fall 2018 Recruitment Round

Call opens June 1, 2018
Deadline September 1,  2018
Invitation October 2018
Interview week at the MDC November 2018


PhD researchers are fully funded through an initial 3-year working contract with the MDC. In many cases contracts are extended for an additional year. All PhD researchers are expected to complete their doctoral research and thesis in 4 years. Salaries are competitive to national standards and there are no tuition fees.


The MDC is situated in Campus Berlin-Buch, a modern science and biotechnology park with a clear focus on biomedicine and various opportunities for child-care facilities and schools. Berlin is one of the most vibrant cities located in the heart of Europe. With a population of 3.4 million people, Berlin offers an incredible load of entertainment and sports activities, making it a popular destination to visit and live in. 

Recruitment process

We have set up a multi-step recruitment process with the goal of identifying people with right mix of skills, experience, and future potential. In general, this involves an assessment of the paper application based on academic accomplishments and professional experience, structured interviews, presentations, and on site visits.

Our communication policy aims to maintain an objective and fair hiring process for all applicants. Communication between candidates and institute will be primarily by e-mail. We acknowledge every submitted application immediately with an automatic e-mail response. During the hiring process, all successful applicants will receive notifications on the next steps via e-mail. In due course, candidates who have not been short-listed will be informed by email. 

We value diversity and are committed to carrying out a transparent recruitment process for every position. There may be minor variations, but in general our selection process has the following structure:



Applications are submitted through our online recruitment portal. The required application documents are described in the job advertisement for each advertised position and include in general a research interest letter, CV, education, and contact details of two referees. Applications via email can unfortunately not be accepted.

After submission of your application, you will receive an automatic email confirming that your application has been received. To be eligible for review, your application must be submitted before the deadline stated in the job advertisement.

Application screening


Following the application deadline, your application will be checked for eligibility and reviewed by the hiring committee.

Skype, video or telephone interviews


If your application is preselected, you may be invited to participate in a Skype, video or telephone interview.

Interview week at the MDC


Short-listed applicants will be invited to visit the MDC in Berlin. Our team will support you with necessary travel and hotel arrangements and will provide a letter for the organization of visas if required. The meeting schedule will be sent well in advance. During the visit, you will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your research through a presentation, discuss your research interest in a panel interview, followed by a series of one on one interviews with the selection committee members. Please use the opportunity of the on-site visit to meet with other members of the research group.

An information session is organized for visitors to learn about the benefits associated with working at MDC, work-life balance policy, and other HR-related topics you may want to discuss.



After your visit, all candidates will receive feedback within a few days. At this stage, if you have been successful you will be made an offer.


Inclusiveness and diversity

The MDC values and recognizes diversity as advantage to successful scientific enterprise, collaborative work, and day-to-day interactions in an international research institute. Promoting an inclusive work place that supports people from all backgrounds, MDC is committed to provide a collegial and supportive environment of professionalism, and politeness.

The working language at MDC is English.

Gender Equality


We are meeting the situation that approximately half of the PhD students in Europe are women, however the levels of women researchers decrease at the postdoctoral level and drop dramatically in leadership positions. These facts demonstrate a dramatic waste of talent and resources in education, research and the labor market.

To overcome this imbalance, MDC has joined the H2020-funded project “LIBRA”. Together with 12 top European research institutes of the EULIFE alliance, MDC is actively working on the improvement of our institutional policies in four areas:

  1. Recruitment policies and procedures
  2. Career development and training
  3. Work-life balance
  4. Sex and gender dimension of research

In a first assessment, the current status of gender equality at MDC was analysed. Based on these findings, a tailored Gender Equality Plan was developed which contains detailed actions to:

  • Remove gender bias during recruitment
  • Provide mentoring, training, and career development opportunities to all scientific staff
  • Raise awareness
  • Create a flexible and family-friendly work environment and increase work-life balance for MDC employees
  • Raise excellence by including sex and gender dimension in research
  • Increase attractiveness of MDC as an employer for female scientists

LIBRA Recruitment Handbook


Diversity is a key feature of an international, modern and successful workplace. It allows access to a larger talent pool, increases the number of viewpoints and experiences in a team, and thereby improves productivity and personal growth of all team members.

The recruitment handbook was created to inform the institutes participating in the LIBRA project about the process of increasing workplace diversity by identifying most suitable candidates from a diverse pool of applicants. It compiles a series of recommendations for a more objective, and transparent recruitment process with particular focus on senior leadership positions in science research institutes. In principle, these recommendations can be applied more broadly to the recruitment of PhD researchers, postdocs and technical staff. One of the biggest challenges in inclusive recruitment is to overcome unconscious biases of hiring staff which often pose a barrier to objective assessment of candidates. In order to address this, re-structuring of individual steps of the recruitment process has been proposed in the attached handbook.