Program & Curriculum

Structure of the Program

The BIGS Immunosciences and Infection offers its members a wide-ranging curriculum. The curriculum includes courses, which are mandatory to complete the doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Medicine, and is rounded of with elective courses, which can be attended additionally.

The scientific curriculum consists of a 3-year structured PhD program and offers focused soft skill courses, as well as technical workshops, seminar series with invited guest speakers and funding for research visits abroad, and the participation in international conferences and immunology schools. In addition, the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection provides important networking contacts through exchange programs.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
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The doctoral training consists of workshops, lectures, networking events and regular assessments of the progress of the thesis project. To support their own individual education, the members of our graduate school can choose between a broad range of  optional courses.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
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Offers throughout the PhD

The structured program of the BIGS includes a seminar series with invited guest speakers once a month, which covers cutting-edge research areas and technologies. In addition, in method workshops, PhD students have the opportunity to learn about the newest technological developments in courses organized by the Bonn Technology Campus Life Sciences like for example flow cytometry, genome wide editing or in vivo imaging. Furthermore, courses on important scientific topics, such as Good Scientific Practice, statistics and data presentation as well as key soft skills, such as scientific writing, oral presentations and time management are included in the curriculum.

Our program has an inherently immunological focus, but its program is embedded into the general BIGS framework and structure of the University of Bonn like the Promotion Plus program.

The Promotion plus program, established by the Bonn Graduate Center for all doctoral students, offers a broad range of general courses and trainings. In addition, the Bonn Graduate Center offers networking and welcome events for national and international doctoral candidates (together with the International Office), assistance with funding opportunities (together with the office for research) and career opportunities (together with the Career Center).  

Furthermore, joint training with other graduate schools in Bonn is offered, in particular with BIGS Neuroscience and BIGS Clinical and Population Science.

At the beginning of the 3-year program, graduate students attend a welcome symposium. This orientation will introduce new students to the foci of our research groups, as well as the resources and the expertise available within ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence. Moreover, the symposium gives PhD students the opportunity to present their own projects to the board of the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection and other members of the graduate school. New students need to participate in the Welcome Symposium.

Applicants will be informed about the dates of the Welcome Symposium.

Graduate students have the possibility of attending an internal Summer or Winter School, where they can present their scientific achievements to the ImmunoSensation community and learn about newest techniques and developments.

Moreover, PhD students have the opportunity to present and discuss their data at yearly PhD network meetings, which are co-organized by the students. We cooperate with the German Society for Immunology (DGfI), so that our students can participate in the DGfI Autumn School and the DGfI Translational Immunology School.

The school of Advance Immunology is jointly organized by IFReC (Immunology Frontier Research Center (Osaka, Japan) and ImmmunoSensation2. Next to lectures by leading immunologists, combined with poster sessions and oral presentations, the school has a strong emphasis on two-way communication between students and the faculty.  PhD students and postdoctoral fellows early in their career all over the world have the chance to be invited.

Five of the approximately 50 slots are reserved for ImmunoSensation scientists. The selection is based on the strength of the CV, a personal statement describing the motivation and a recommendation letter.

Members of the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection have the chance to apply twice per year for Travel Grants for national and international conferences.

Three distinct grants are funded: 

  • Technical exchange grant (for BIGS "Immunosciences and Infection" members only)
  • Travel grant for conferences (for BIGS "Immunosciences and Infection" members only)
  • Blog support travel grant for conferences (for master/PhD students and postdocs affiliated with the Cluster)

For further information, please contact Dr. Alexandra Krämer: (on maternity leave) or Dr. Klaus Wunderling:

ImmunoSensation2 is internationally connected and maintains research partnerships with Australia (Melbourne University), Japan (Osaka University, Waseda University, Kyoto University) and the Netherlands (Radboud University, Nijmegen). Students will have the opportunity to receive additional financial support to participate in an official student exchange program (3 to 6 months) with selected principal investigators at these partner universities.

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