Welcome to the IMPRS-MicMarburg

We are the graduate programme International Max Planck Research School "Principles of Microbial Life: From molecules to cells, from cells to interactions". With us you can do a PhD in different branches of microbiologial research, including

  • Cellular organisation & architecture
  • Metabolism & physiology
  • Microbial communities & interaction
  • Signal transduction & information processing.





Since 2003 the IMPRS-Mic offers an international PhD programme with excellent research opportunities for outstanding young scientists from all over the world. The programme provides interdisciplinary training in modern microbiology, state-of-the-art research facilities, and mentoring by world class scientists. As an IMPRS student you will be given the freedom to embark on your scientific journey!

The school is a close collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and the Philipps-Universität Marburg. Research projects can be undertaken in laboratories at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, the LOEWE Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO), or the Philipps-Universität Marburg. The PhD will be awarded by the Philipps-Universität Marburg.

Open call for PhD positions!

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IMPRS-Mic programme

IMPRS-Mic offers a structured three-year PhD programme, which rests on three pillars:

  1. A cutting-edge PhD project
  2. A structured curriculum with seminars, lectures, courses, workshops, scientific conferences, and retreats
  3. Supervision and mentoring by top scientists

Learn about the experience of our students in the video, or read more.


Marburg is a town of excellent research. In the 2015 the DFG (German Research Foundation) - Förderatlas showed that the University of Marburg is very successful in acquiring funding. Marburg has also a rich history of research, so far 11 Nobel prize winners and 11 Leibniz prize winners, most of them from the life science area, are associated with Marburg. One of them, Rudolf Kurt Thauer is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute in Marburg. Over the last years, the LOEWE Research Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO) was founded in Marburg as joint project between the university and the Max Planck Institute. In the following years the Max Planck Institute is growing with a renovation and a building extension and together with SYNMIKRO there will be a new building for this joint venture with the university.

The collaboration between the MPI, the Philipps-Universität, and the LOEWE Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO) affords you to find all the resources on campus that you need for your research. Here collaborations are not the exception - they are the rule!

We have experts for:

  • molecular biology
  • protein structure analysis
  • genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics
  • starte-of-the-art microscopy
  • bioinformatics and computer modelling
  • and much more...


The IMPRS-Mic offers countless social activities, one of them being a biannual retreat to Austria. Our PhD student representatives are regularly organising social events, such as a monthly meet-up (Stammtisch) or a PhD student breakfast, so that you can meet your fellow PhD students. We celebrate cultural nights to share food and traditions from our home countries with our colleagues, and the MPI hosts a summer fest and a great Christmas party!

Marburg is a historic and lively University town in the heart of Germany. If you enjoy the outdoors, there are countless possibilities for activities in and around Marburg. Its location in the Frankfurt metropolitan area, which has Germany's biggest airport, makes it convenient to travel to and from Marburg.

To sum it up: Marburg is a lovely city to study and live, with the possibility to explore the world!

And here are some more facts about Marburg:

  • The University of Marburg, which was founded in 1527, is one of the oldest German Universities and the first protestant one;
  • Among its students and alumni were E. Behring, who discovered a diphtheria antitoxin and whose life was actually tightly connected with Marburg, R. Bunsen, who discovered caesium and rubidium, and M. Lomonosow, a founder of Moscow State University;
  • Brothers Grimm, prominent linguists and lexicographers, known worldwide as storytellers of folk tales, also lived and studied in Marburg;
  • Marburg virus, which is (along with Ebola virus) a causative agent of hemorrhagic fever, was isolated and described here;
  • St. Elizabeth Church (about 800 old!) is held to be a model for the architecture of one of the most famous churches in the world – Cologne Cathedral.