Placeholder image for Positions at International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Positions at International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #301 (ARWU) Jena, Germany
The International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) promote doctoral researchers. Talented foreign and German junior scientists are offered the opportunity to earn a doctorate under excellent research conditions.A shared characteristics of the graduate programmes at Max Planck Institutes is a close colloboration with universities. 
Access all 180000+ programmes, for free with a Studyportals account.
account benefits visualised


The IMPRS-gBGC in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University Jena offers a PhD program in global biogeochemistry and related earth system sciences.

Biogeochemistry is the study of how the elements essential to life are distributed among the components of the Earth system - atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, land and oceans. The study of these global biogeochemical cycles takes on particular importance in the face of ongoing global environmental change and the recognition that they are linked to past and current climate change. Understanding and predicting the response of the Earth system requires a broad base of scientific knowledge and the skills to evaluate the importance of processes at a range of spatial and temporal scales.

Common scientific understanding

Breadth will be fostered among doctoral researchers through a common curriculum that emphasizes four general themes:

  • Integrated understanding through “core” lecture courses on the basics of the field of global biogeochemical cycles: Doctoral researchers of various disciplines will learn the common “biogeochemical language” that bridges their background with other disciplines and a selection of courses that emphasize skills commonly needed in earth system science research, such as data analysis, isotope methods, geographic methods and numerical modeling.
  • Conducting individual research through development of a thesis project with a committee of IMPRS members and selected outside researchers: Doctoral researchers will develop their research topic together with the IMPRS Faculty Members. For a selection of current and past topics see our open PhD projects.
  • Personal skills courses and strong mentoring program: Writing publications, presenting results and managing groups are key skills for internationally visible top scientists. Regular presentation of results at conferences and to external mentors will improve the training and mentoring.
  • Training in collaborative research through short-term research visits at foreign top research groups: Exchange visits at top institutions and additional training at other IMPRS or universities give the opportunity to specialize and further qualify in a field of interest. This will give unique contacts to top experts in the field and increase visibility of their research projects.

This science and education package will deliver after three years excellent young researchers, competitive for the outstanding research institutions and prestigious grants in biogeochemical science.


The International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles (IMPRS-gBGC) is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Students will register for doctoral degree studies at the University of Jena which awards the PhD degree upon successful completion of the program.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date
    • Any time after the selection symposium.
    • Twice a year the International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles accepts applications for PhD positions. 
  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses Included:

  • Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System
  • Atmosphere and Oceans
  • Terrestial Biosphere
  • Soil, soil biology and soil hydrology
  • Paleoclimate
  • Applied statistics and data analysis - Part 1
  • Applied statistics and data analysis - Part 2
  • Analytical techniques
  • Earth Observation techniques
  • Modelling & numerical techniques
  • R - The basics
  • R - Advanced modules
  • Climate policy
  • Nitrogen in the Earth System

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements

  • The online application form
  • Letter of motivation and research interests (in English).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) / Resume.
  • Documents relating to your Master's degree (or national equivalent that requires a corresponding thesis): title and abstract of your thesis, copy of your MSc certificate, copy of MSc transcript (list of courses/lectures you took, including marks).
  • If applicable: documents relating to your Bachelor's degree (redundant with 'Diplom'): copy of BSc certificate, copy of BSc transcript (list of courses/lectures you took).
  • Proof of English skills, if possible.
  • Any additional documents which you consider important for your application can be included in your CV-PDF.

Tuition Fee

  • EU/EEA

    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 0 EUR per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Jena

  • 730 - 1100 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


The research school calls for applications internationally twice a year and admits new doctoral students following a competitive selection process. PhD contracts are offered for the duration of 3 years and the conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and those of the German civil service. The gross monthly income amounts about 2000 EUR, which will cover all your expenses in Germany.

International students receive logistic support during their transition to Jena and are offered German language classes.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


You’ve wishlisted multiple studies. Did you know you can compare them side-by-side in our Compare-tool?