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72076 Tübingen

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PhD Program Mission

The mission of the iFIT Cluster of Excellence PHD Training Program is to promote graduate education, scholarship, and research; to support individuals in the pursuit of excellence; to foster innovative multidisciplinary, and interdiscipolinary activities; and to maintain high ethical and academic standards in graduate studies. This is achieved in three key research areas:

  • Functionally Instructed Molecular Therapies (A)
  • Immunotherapies (B)
  • Molecular and Functional Multiparametric Imaging (C)

Program Structure

The core element of the iFIT Cluster of Excellence PhD Training Program is the individual research project that is to be submitted as a doctoral thesis and defended orally. Additionally, workshops, lectures, internships and seminars will provide the PhD students with interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.

Two Tracks

The iFIT Cluster of Excellence PhD Training Program features two tracks: the iFIT PhD Training Program and the iFIT PhD Program PLUS*. For the latter, there is a selection process in place.

Selection Process

To be eligible for the PhD Training Program PLUS*, the students must complete all of the requirements needed for the PhD Training Program and provide the following:


The program is open for al doctoral students, who are actively working on dedicated iFIT projects: All iFIT group leaders (PIs, AIs, group leaders) are invited to inform the iFIT Office about their eligible group members. To participate, it is not necessary that the PhD students are financed by iFIT. Students who have already started their PhD studies before the start of the program can have their previous achievements credited.

PhD Training Program & PhD Training Program PLUS*

PhD Training Program

  • Letter of support by supervisor
  • Regular attendance at data clubs in the respective departments (lab meetings or journal clubs)
  • Participation in at least two data clubs per academic year within the other two areas
  • One week-long lab visit in one other area during the duration of the doctoral studies
  • Regular attendance: Orientation Day, three Workshops (including Scientific Writing), Seminar Series, Lunch & Learn, Retreat and Symposium
  • Dedicated workshops
  • Collaboration with others to broaden one's horizon
  • Special scientific/social events
  • Travel funds for one conference p.a.

PhD Training Program PLUS*

  • Fulfillment of all PhD Training Program requirements
  • Attendance at the Excellence Workshop
  • Attendance at the Advanced Scientific Writing Workshop
  • One additional lab internship in one of the other areas
  • All iFIT PhD Training Program benefits
  • Travel funds for one additional conference p.a.
  • Special mentoring through an experienced iFIT scientist (mentor) to evaluate individual career prospects
  • In  justified cases: financial support for PhD project related expenses
  • National or international lab internship (max. 4 weeks, to be organized by the student)


Yes, the important part is that for any given year of participation, the requirements are fulfilled. If this is the case, the iFIT Office will favorably assess the partially completed scoring sheet for PhD students who are close to thesis submission.

No, but payments are limited to three travel funds per track and one PhD project-related expense payment within the PhD Training PLUS* Program per student. It is also important to note, that the iFIT Office will perform a yearly evaluation of the scoring sheet entries and respective signatures to ensure that the funding only goes to students that fulfill the yearly requirements. For the PLUS* Program project-related expense payments, the usage of the funds will have to be justified every six months. It is possible to informally request a ‘sabbatical’ from the program whereby requirements and benefits are ‘frozen’ through the iFIT Office.

For the enrollment within the iFIT PhD Training Program it is only relevant that you are officially accepted as a PhD student at a faculty of the University of Tübingen. It does not have to be a specific faculty and the faculty will independently determine your academic degree (whether PhD or Dr. rer. nat. or Dr. sc. hum.). The iFIT PhD Training Program is not organized or affiliated with any specific faculty of the University of Tübingen, but an initiative by the iFIT Excellence Cluster only. Importantly, we are not offering a PhD Program per se, but rather a PhD Training Program, that allows for further career-promoting benefits such as workshop and collaboration opportunities.

In general, you will need proof of a faculty that you have been accepted as a PhD student to be able to enroll in our iFIT PhD Training Program. This means that enrolling at the faculty is a necessity, while the iFIT Training Program could be an optional ‘bonus’.

Yes, this is possible only for PhD students that have been with us before the implementation of the PhD Training Program (prior to May 2023). The iFIT Office can sign off your attendance for previous iFIT events and it is expected that all requirements for prospective events p.a. will be fulfilled by the participant. Of course, the iFIT Office will not expect participation at events retrospectively, before the program was even in place.

You may apply for travel funds right away and these can be granted in advance directly after acceptance to the program and even within the first year. However, the iFIT Office will do a yearly retrospective check of whether the requirements for that year have been fulfilled. In case they haven’t been fulfilled, the iFIT will request repayment of all travel funds for that year. Please note that you will have to submit your travel request form (Dienstreiseantrag) together with the proof of active commitment to the conference you plan to attend (i.e. abstract) to the iFIT Office well before travelling and booking (as per the general iFIT Bylaws).

Yes, this should also be possible, but we wouldn’t recommend it to a lab for practical reasons. In that case there will never be an internal deadline for data club or internship participation p.a. – meaning that interested candidates would contact your lab the year round. You could set dates ‘pro forma’, so that the students will contact you in advance. That way you will know if there is more than let’s say one interested candidate for a data club / lab internship and the date can be coordinated with multiple participants at the same time. So, we would recommend: set a date and specify it as flexible in brackets or similar. The iFIT Office would then communicate to the participants that those are the deadline dates for sign-up and the actual dates for participation are flexible after agreement.

As soon as the first registrations for that year have been received, we will automatically have a record of registered PhD students and their supervisors who are making these offers. The iFIT Office will then share the dates and offers with the PhD Training Program participants.

‘Yes’ to the first part of your question and ‘yes’ to the second part. It is expected that you attend your own lab meetings / journal clubs / data clubs from your own AG on a regular basis. This will have to be signed off by your supervisor. In addition, we ask that you attend two data clubs p.a. (this could be a lab meeting or journal club) in the two other Areas you are not a member of. This will be signed off by the host.

You can find the information on this in our bylaws in the download center on our webpage along with other registration documents -> https://www.medizin.uni-tuebingen.de/de/medizinische-fakultaet/forschung/ifit-exzellenzcluster/downloads

You can find all documents in the download section of our website by clicking here

We have now removed the need of providing this letter of departmental support. Please note however that you will still be required to submit the letter of support by your supervisor.

Contact person

Dr. Barbara Kreilkramp

Scientific Coordinator

E-mail address: barbara.kreilkamp@med.uni-tuebingen.de

Phone number: +49 07071-29 86219

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