QBM seeks to train a cohort of young scientists who, while firmly anchored in their home discipline, are well versed in multiple approaches and styles of thought. The goal is for the students to get comfortable in communicating across traditional boundaries, especially across the divide between experiment and quantitative theory – to become, in effect, scientifically bi- or multilingual. To this end, the school offers an integrated interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that consists of three main components:
- An interdisciplinary research project which combines concepts and methods from different fields.
- A substantial program of formal course work with a general and an individual component centered around an interdisciplinary core course that covers key problems in bioscience from multiple perspectives.
- Further activities to enhance students’ other transferable skills to succeed in science as a competitive profession.
The QBM doctoral program is fully Bologna compatible and leads to Dr. rer. nat. or Ph.D. degree. Students submit their written thesis to the faculty of their PI and defend according to the regulations of the same faculty.
Student research projects are situated at the interface between two disciplines and typically form part of an ongoing collaboration between two PIs of QBM, who would serve as advisor and co-advisor. The project is anchored in the student’s primary field of training, which is usually also the principal advisor’s field of expertise but requires close interaction with a second discipline, commonly represented by the co-advisor. While students are firmly based within their advisor’s lab, they also develop strong ties, both professional and personal, with the co-advisor and his/her group when applicable.
The student has a thesis advisory committee (TAC) and will report to it on his/her progress annually. The TAC ideally consists of a minimum of three members (advisor, co-advisor/ 2nd member of QBM, 3rd member of QBM) and when required or wanted additional external members.
The QBM course work aims to provide students with cross- and interdisciplinary training to bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative approaches in biosciences.
- Primer Courses: To build a stronger foundation in the disciplines outside a student’s primary field of training, we offer targeted feeder courses that are specifically designed to teach relevant basics to non-specialists. Depending on their background and needs, life science students take primers in biophysics and statistics/bioinformatics and programming (Matlab and R). Math/physics students take primers in life sciences and optionally bioinformatics. Students from the field of bioinformatics take primers in biophysics and optionally statistics.
- Lecture Series: QBM students suggest, invite and host external speakers at this monthly event. The lectures on QBM-relevant topics are complemented with a journal club with the guest speaker. Each QBM student should host a speaker at least once during the Ph.D. and should have visited at least ten lecture series events.
- Guest Lectures: Two QBM PIs are introducing their interdisciplinary project as a lecture combined with a subsequent Journal Club. This gives the students the opportunity to get an impression and an overview of QBM related research. Each QBM student should attend at least ten Guest Lectures.
- Soft Skill Courses: Even the best research results won’t be well recognized by the community if not presented in a clear and coherent way. To learn that, we provide Soft Skill Courses like Scientific Writing, Presentation Skills, and Good Scientific Practice.
- QBM retreat: This annual event brings all QBM students together in an informal scientific environment where they present their research in brief talks and posters, and attend lectures of invited speakers.
We also encourage the students to attend international conferences, workshops, summer schools at LMU or other institutions, as well as advanced courses relevant to their research work. Additionally, the students have various opportunities to participate in events within the Munich scientific community, following their own research interests. These events include lecture series, symposia, and workshops offered by five collaborative research centers (SFBs) represented within QBM, the Center for NanoScience (CeNS), and the excellence clusters Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM) and the Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM), the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry and the Helmholtz Center Munich.
We invite the application of MSc graduates from any relevant discipline (biochemistry, biophysics, (physical) chemistry, theoretical physics, mathematics, statistics, (bio)informatics) and any country who are interested in interdisciplinary research; we particularly encourage the application of women.
Please note that you must have completed your Master’s degree by the time you start the QBM program, but not necessarily at the time of application.
To qualify for the program, you need to complete your MSc degree with a certain minimum grade/score: within the German grading system, this is a score of 2.5; more generally, the minimum grade is the halfway point between the best possible grade that can be achieved at your University and the lowest passing grade.
Applicants have to submit:
- academic record (high school, Bachelor and Master’s certificates and transcripts)
- 2 letters of recommendation
- 2 brief essays – one describing the student’s prior research experience, the other describing the reasons for their interest in the QBM program and research goals
- an indication of their specific research interests
Based on their written application, selected candidates will be invited for an interview to Munich to explore the mutual interest with the host lab and the graduate school. Candidates who have met our criteria and are matched with a PI and host lab will be invited to join the program.
Travel expenses and accommodation for the interview week will be covered by QBM.
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