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PhD Positions in Cancer Research

German Cancer Research Center in the Helmholtz Association (DKFZ)
Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg (DE)
fully funded
Closing date
19 Jun 2023

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Biomedicine, Chemistry, Computing, Life Science, Physics
Job Type
PhD Studentship
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Job Details

Are you looking for excellent research opportunities for your PhD studies at the forefront of cancer research? The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg invites international students holding a Master’s degree in (molecular) biology, (bio-)chemistry, (bio-)physics, computational biology, computer science, epidemiology/public health studies and related subjects to apply for the International PhD Program.

PhD students are supported by a Thesis Advisory Committee, participate in scientific and professional skills courses, attend international conferences and receive career development support. The language of the PhD program is English. Full funding is provided for the duration of the PhD, either by the DKFZ, third-party sources or in collaboration with the DAAD within their Graduate School Scholarship Program.

Research at the DKFZ is organized into the following programs with a lot of interaction and interdisciplinary PhD projects available across different topics:

  • Cell Biology and Tumor Biology
  • Functional and Structural Genomics
  • Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention
  • Immunology and Cancer
  • Imaging and Radiooncology
  • Infection, Inflammation and Cancer

For more information and to apply online, please visit our website.

Do you want to join our lively and international community of over 500 PhD students to do your PhD at Germany’s largest biomedical research institute? Then apply now!

Application deadline: 15 May 2023



DKFZ Employer Profile Hero ImageThe German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, (DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. Over 3,200 staff members from 86 foreign countries, including more than 1,400 scientists, 400 doctoral students and 400 postdoctoral scientists are dedicated to performing and driving cutting edge research for a life without cancer. The characterization of cancer pathomechanisms and epidemiological identification of cancer risk factors are of vital importance for novel and personalized approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Organized in more than 100 different divisions and research groups, our scientists have made decisive progress in the discovery of fundamental causes and special features of cancers, the creation of new, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies through to innovative clinical trials with recent additions in health economy. 

The DKFZ core site is located on the vibrant Neuenheim Campus in Heidelberg, and closely interacts with renowned clinical and research institutions, such as nearby University Hospitals (Heidelberg, Mannheim), Heidelberg University, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The combination of excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at the DKFZ is an important contribution to improving the chances of being cured of cancer.

During the past years the DKFZ has continuously worked to strengthen its translational research activities. The DKFZ – together with the University Hospitals in Heidelberg and Dresden - established the National Centers for Tumor Diseases (NCT), the leading Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Germany. To further strengthen pediatric oncology, the DKFZ together with Heidelberg University Hospital has founded the Hopp Childrens’ Tumor Center (KiTZ) NCT in Heidelberg.

Another important activity of the DFKZ in the area of translational research is the German Cancer Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK). More than 20 academic research institutes and university hospitals at seven partner locations cooperate with the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the consortium’s core center.

Heidelberg – a “City of Science” - is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany with a very international community: An estimated 56,000 of Heidelberg’s 160,000 inhabitants have an international background – many of whom are scientists, students and their families.

Research Topics and Scientific Collaborations

The DKFZ is an international leader in a number of research areas including stem cell research, bioinformatics and systems biology, cancer genomics, neurooncology, pediatric oncology, cancer prevention, tumor immunology, virology, and radiooncology.

Research at the DKFZ is organized into six research programs:

Cell and Tumor Biology

Functional and Structural Genomics

Cancer Risk Factors and Prevention

Immunology and Cancer

Imaging and Radiooncology

Infection, Inflammation and Cancer

Research at the DKFZ is highly collaborative across research programs, exemplified by the topic of data science.

Several scientists at the DKFZ have received the most prestigious academic awards, including Prof. Harald zur Hausen, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for his pioneering work on Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) , Prof. Stefan Hell, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on super-resolution imaging,

Training Programs and Career Development

Talent management and career development are central parts of DKFZ’s mission to maintain scientific excellence. The DKFZ places strong emphasis on the international recruitment and comprehensive training of excellent scientists, specifically welcoming diverse and international backgrounds, The center has developed programs to support the reconciliation of family and careers at all levels.

Dedicated programs prepare young scientists and clinicians for their next career step:

Innovation Management

The DKFZ builds on strong Innovation Management to foster the development of innovative preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic products for maximum societal benefit. Its supports technology transfer through licensing and support of spin-off companies. Recent examples include iOmx, Apogenix and mtm. The DKFZ also has strong collaborations with industry partners; Together with Bayer Healthcare, the center has a long-standing strategic cooperation to support joint projects, including a joint laboratory on immunotherapy located at the DKFZ. Other industry partners include Bosch, SAP and Siemens.

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