Graduate Training Programme

The HIRI graduate training programme “RNA & Infection” inspires and challenges PhD students to develop into independent scientists at the interface of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and infection biology. 
Apply state of the art RNA-sequencing applications in host-pathogen interactions to map the RNA landscapes of pathogens and their infecting hosts. Develop and use emerging techniques like single-cell sequencing, CRISPR-Cas genome editing, and machine learning to understand the roles these molecules play in disease.

What we offer

Cutting-edge research

The newly founded HIRI is a globally unique research institution merging the fields of RNA and infection biology

Fully-funded PhD positions

We offer fully funded 3-year PhD positions equivalent to TVöD E13 (60 %) with an initial term of one year and the possibility of a two-year extension after evaluation.

Innovative technology

At the HIRI, advanced RNA-sequencing technologies are applied to interrogate host-pathogen interactions down to the single-cell level.

Interdisciplinary supervision

PhD students will benefit from an interdisciplinary committee of international scientists, guiding and supporting students throughout their thesis.

Multinational environment

The graduate programme is taught in English and is well supported by an integrated network of international PhD students and supervisors. German language courses are available to all employees at HIRI.

Workshop & practical courses

A structured framework of scientific lectures and seminars as well as practical courses, hard and soft skill workshops will equip students to successfully complete their PhD thesis and thrive in academia or industry.

Research topics and group leaders

Students can pursue their scientific passion in all research groups of the HIRI. For further information, see also: RESEARCH TEAMS

What we expect

Academic excellence

An above average Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant field of biology, computational science, or engineering.

Background skills

Solid background knowledge in microbiology, virology, cell biology, pathogen-host-interaction, RNA biology, single-cell analysis, bioinformatics or biochemistry.

English Proficiency

Good English communication and presentation skills (written and spoken).

Motivated team players

Intercultural communication skills and a strong desire to do research with high self-motivation and enthusiasm.


We invite outstanding students of all nationalities dedicated to working at the interface of RNA and infection biology to apply. Prior to starting the program, applicants are expected to hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in life sciences or a related discipline. A solid background knowledge in microbiology, virology, cell biology, RNA biology, bioinformatics, or biochemistry is helpful but not required.
The salary of our PhD fellowships is comparable to international standards and includes broad health-care benefits and pension.

PhD Application Deadline
The recruitment of PhD students to start in spring 2019 has been completed. Details for the next round of applications will be announced soon.

Online Application
Your application will be managed by the online application system of the Graduate School of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI). Carefully read and follow the guidelines provided on their website.

As part of the application, students will provide contact information for at least two academic references. References will be contacted separately based on the contact information provided by the applicant.



The international Graduate Training Programme "RNA & Infection" is directed by Prof. Chase Beisel. For further information, please contact our scientific coordinator Dr. Tim Schnyder. Phone +49 931 31 88485

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