The Leibniz Graduate School on Aging offers an international postgraduate program for students with excellent qualifications. 70 to 80 PhD students from all over the world prepare for their doctoral degree in the labs of the FLI or in various institutes of the university and the Clinical Centre. The program is free of tuition fees. Unless students obtain their own fellowship, we provide a working contract and a salary including health insurance and social insurance.
Training and research within the PhD program is interdisciplinary. We provide excellent research conditions where several scientists such as biologists, biochemists, chemists, computer scientists, mathematicians, physicians, physicists and veterinaries work together.
The participating research groups investigate the multifaceted mechanisms that cause the development of age-related diseases and those that cause senescence and aging.
Lecture series, seminars, journal clubs and courses complement the practical work.
Workshops in core research skills, transferable skills and language classes are offered by the institute and by the Graduate Academy Jena in order to develop and improve important tools for a career inside or outside academia.
A thesis committee provides comprehensive support and the mentorship in the career development of the student.
The programme language is English.
Eligible are students that have obtained, or that will obtain within half a year, an academic degree comparable to the master degree or diploma in natural sciences (e.g. Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine or Medicine).
Aging is a complex stochastic process based on genetic composition as well as environmental influences. The process is still not well understood. The Leibniz Graduate School on Aging and Age Related Diseases (LGSA) in Jena will strengthen research on the mechanisms of decisive processes, in particular pathological processes which lead to consequences for general health and healthy aging.
Our biomedical research projects are embedded in the research concept of the Leibniz Institute on Aging - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) with the two program areas:
Stem cell aging and organ maintenance
Accumulation of molecular damages and (epi)genetics of aging
Our aim is to understand the cellular and organismic senescence and aging as well as to find the mechanisms leading to specific age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, kidney failure, immunosenescence or cancer.
The experimental methodology includes genomic approaches, proteomics, cell culture and animal models of disease.
The PhD Program
LGSA students join one of the research groups within the Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) or the Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) in Jena. In this group they will carry out the independent research of their doctoral thesis. The experimental work is supervised by a thesis committee consisting of the project leader plus two group leaders or senior postdocs outside the group of the project leader. Preferably, at least one committee member comes from another institute.
The practical work is complemented with additional courses and training measures.
The goal of a successful PhD study is to publish at least one first-author paper in an international peer-reviewed journal. At the end of the study a written thesis, an exam and a successful thesis defence qualify for a Ph.D. or Dr. rer. nat. degree at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Students have also the choice to receive their doctoral degree from another university.
Participation in a number of the following activities and courses is obligatory to complete a PhD program at the Leibniz Graduate School on Aging and Age related Diseases (LGSA) and qualifies for the Graduate School Certificate.
Lecture and seminar series with external speakers on Biomedical Sciences as well as Science and Society.
During the FLI work-in-progress seminar students, postdocs and senior scientists present their work to the whole institute.
Students have to attend one of the journal clubs and each student has to analyze and present two scientific articles a year.
Courses on methods - like statistics, necropsy and animal experimentation - will be offered by the institute. Students are encouraged to propose method courses.
During the annual institute's retreat students present a poster and group leaders talk about their current research plans.
Students should attend at least one international recognized meeting per year with a poster or oral presentation to get in contact with the community of scientists.
Students have to attend at least one seminar on technology transfer (TT) during their studies.
A large variety of soft-skill courses such as scientific writing, scientific posters presentation, workshop on application, advanced reading, conflict management, time management, start up and career, grant writing for scientists, patenting and licensing issues is offered by the FLI in-house. Additional courses are organized by the Graduate Academy of the university.
The FLI will provide the opportunity to learn German and English language at different level.
How to apply
The Leibniz Graduate School on Aging and Age-Related Diseases (LGSA) offers frequently fellowships for PhD positions to qualified students without regard to age, nationality, race, gender, marital status, disabilities or other protected status. The FLI integrates all PhD students into the Graduate School.
Therefore, all applicants should follow the guidelines of the graduate school, since incomplete or non-fitting applications will not be considered. This applies also for candidates with their own fellowship.
Interviews for the selection of PhD candidates are scheduled twice per year, in spring and autumn. At least three members of the interviewing committee have to be present at these meetings. As an exception, additional interview dates may be scheduled.
Requirements: Eligible are students that have obtained, or that will obtain within the next six months, an academic degree comparable to the Master's degree in life sciences, chemistry, physics or other related fields.
Selection of PhD Students
Step 1: Submission and evaluation of the application documents including application form, CV, reference letters and degree certificates.
Step 2: After evaluation of the application documents, selected candidates will be invited for a recruitment session in Jena. Participation in a 30-minute entrance interview with the selection committee. Candidates will briefly present their previous research and discuss a scientific publication provided by the selection committee.
Step 3: After passing the interview accepted candidates are invited for a further assessment and will have the chance to meet principle investigators who offer PhD projects.
These candidates should also send a new preference list of research groups they would like to join to the LGSA coordinator shortly after the recruitment session.
Final decisions will be made by the principle investigators after the recruitment session and candidates are notified about the outcome.
Unless students obtain their own fellowship, we offer a working contract with a salary according to German TV-L E 13 (salary agreement for public service employees) including health insurance and social insurance. PhD students receive initially a one-year contract which reminds the thesis committee at the same time to meet within the first year. The contract can be extended to three years with the possibility of an additional one-year extension, provided that a written positive statement from the thesis committee supports the extensions. At present, students receive a contract with a 50 % position during the first and second year and a 60 % position during the third and fourth year.
Leibniz Graduate School on Aging and Age-Related Diseases