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PhD Positions in Cancer Research


The German Cancer Research Center


Heidelberg, Germany

Job Type

Full & Part time


15 May 2023

About us :

In the field of cancer research, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is one of the leading international research institutions. Heidelberg, Germany, is home to this university founded in 1964. Cancer causality, cancer genetics, cancer prevention, and cancer therapy are the areas of basic and translational research conducted by the center. Several research programs and core facilities are operated by the DKFZ, which employs over 3,000 scientists, clinicians, and support staff. Collaborations and partnerships with other research institutions and organizations around the world are also part of the center's mission.

Job Description :

At the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Ph.D. candidates' job descriptions vary depending on the research group or program they are assigned to. A Ph.D. candidate may, however, have the following general responsibilities:

Under the supervision of a principal investigator or mentor, conduct independent cancer research.

Conducting experiments, analyzing data, and interpreting results.

Publication of peer-reviewed research papers.

Attending conferences and scientific meetings to present research findings.

Contributing to the intellectual and scientific life of the research group or program by participating in research meetings and seminars.

Interacting with other researchers, students, and collaborators, both inside and outside the department.

Maintaining laboratory equipment and ordering supplies.

Students may also be required to teach undergraduate or graduate students depending on their program.

In order to earn a Ph.D. degree, candidates must also complete the necessary coursework and pass any required exams. Program duration may vary from group to group, but it typically takes 3-4 years to complete.

Eligibility Criteria :

Depending on the program or department, the eligibility criteria for applying for a Ph.D. position at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) may vary. Ph.D. applicants are often required to meet the following general criteria:

  • An academic background with a master's degree or equivalent in a pertinent field of study is required.

  • Motivation to pursue a research career and a strong commitment.

  • Demonstrated ability and experience in research through publications, conferences, and research projects.

  • Ph.D. research often involves collaborating with other researchers and students, so strong communication and teamwork skills are essential.

  • Many research institutions require proficiency in English as the language of instruction.

  • Programs or departments may have additional requirements.

The specific criteria that a Ph.D. program is looking for can be found on the program's website or by contacting the program's coordinator.

How to apply

In order to apply, please use our Online Application System, which opens approximately six to eight weeks before the deadline for each application.

You are asked to provide information about your educational qualifications, honors, skills, and interests on the application form. Two letters of recommendation and a statement of motivation are also required. 

Make sure you upload electronic copies (PDF files of no more than 5MB) of your academic certificates and English language certificate when filling out the online form.

At the DKFZ, all Ph.D. positions are fully funded for three years. Salary levels are competitive according to national standards. Tuition is free.

DKFZ Ph.D. contracts include social security contributions (pension, health insurance, etc.) for candidates awarded Ph.D. positions through biannual selection rounds. This contract is equivalent to an E13 TVöD contract with 65% working time. Ph.D. supervisors may also offer to fund candidates directly.

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