Max Perutz Labs PhD selection

The following groups are recruiting in the Spring 2020

Manuela Baccarini
Roland Foisner
Boris Görke
Michael Jantsch
Verena Jantsch
Pavel Kovarik
Thomas Leonard
Sascha Martens
Joao Matos
Isabella Moll
Oleg Simakov
Gijs Versteeg
Arndt von Haeseler

RNA Biology
RNA Biology
Chromosome Biology
Chromosome Biology
RNA Biology



How to apply

The PhD Selection of the Max Perutz Labs is open to students who hold a Master’s degree or equivalent (four years BSc Honors with thesis) in the biosciences, chemistry, or related fields. Students who wish to apply for the Spring Selection 2020 have to complete their Master's studies by November 2020.

Our selections take place twice a year (May and November).

Admission to the Max Perutz Labs/the Vienna Doctoral School “Molecules of Life” is very competitive, and carried out solely through a centralized selection procedure. Please note that applications can only be accepted via the online application system within the announced application period. Late or incomplete applications, as well as applications submitted by fax, email or mail, will not be considered.

Applicants who hold a degree from a non-European university are requested to submit a GRE® (Graduate Record Examinations) score. When applying, please submit a copy of your official record. Find out more about the GRE here:

We consider the following countries as “European countries”: European Union (28 countries; ), Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

Application deadline for the Spring Selection is March 29th, 2020.
Interview days: May 25th - 28th, 2020.

Evaluation of applications

The first evaluation is carried out by a committee of recruiting group leaders, who jointly shortlist the candidates to be invited for the Interview Days in Vienna. Invitations will be sent out by April 27th, 2020.

The application consists of:

•    The filled-out online application form;

•    Master’s certificates (if not yet available, upload transcripts of records or marksheets) and other supporting documents uploaded to the online application form;

•    Two recommendations to be submitted online by referees. Note that you must arrange for your referees to submit a reference. We will not contact your referees, and it is your responsibility to ensure that references reach us on time.

Your completed application form needs to be submitted before March 29th, 2020, 23:59 CET (GMT + 1 hour).

Registration form - 

Interview days

It is important for us to get to know you personally. This is the cornerstone for a successful relationship between a PhD student and his/her future supervisor. The interview days are challenging, but you will have a great opportunity to learn what our scientists are doing, to meet students from many different countries – and to get a glimpse of life in Vienna.

The Max Perutz Labs will refund all travel expenses and provide accommodation. You are welcome to arrive in Vienna on the day before. Your participation during the interview procedure in Vienna is essential if you want to join the program.

Our welcome session will start on Monday afternoon. You will briefly introduce yourselves, and the group leaders who offer PhD positions will give a short overview on their research and current projects. After that, we will show you our building and visit some of our facilities. In the evening, a dinner in the campus cafeteria together with the recruiting group leaders will allow you to get to know them and ask initial questions.

Tuesday will be dedicated to the first round of interviews. Each candidate will be interviewed by a panel of four faculty members. This committee evaluates the candidates’ overall qualifications. You will have to give a 15-minute presentation of your master’s thesis and a 15-minute presentation/critical analysis of a scientific paper. You can choose a paper from a list that will be sent together with the invitation. In addition, we will ask questions about your background and research interests. The presentation has the format of a chalk talk – Powerpoint presentations are not permitted. Feel free to bring your master’s thesis.

To unwind from this day and refresh yourself, we will invite you for dinner and introduce you to some Viennese specialties. Two PhD students from each participating lab will also be present so that you can meet some of your potential future colleagues. Ask them about daily life on campus and Vienna, and the groups you are interested in.

On Wednesday morning, the group leaders will discuss the results of the interviews. Based on this assessment, the top-ranked candidates can proceed to the individual interviews with the group leaders of their choice on Wednesday and Thursday morning. On Wednesday evening, there will be a social program for all candidates, regardless of whether they passed or not.

Offers of admission

After the individual interviews, you will name your preferred research group. Admission is granted if the group leader, on his or her part, is willing to offer you the position. The final results will be announced on Thursday afternoon. With this last session, the selection is officially closed.

We expect the selected students to accept the offer in writing within 3 weeks and start within 6 months after the selection. The starting date will be agreed with the group leader.

You will receive our Welcome Guide which provides lots of information about how to get started in Vienna. Also, those of you who need to apply for a visa will get the necessary help to speed up the application process.

FAQ - MFPL Selection Application

Can I correct mistakes or update my application?
Yes. Upon submitting your name and e-mail address to the online application tool, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with the link that allows you access to your application form. You may not be able to make corrections in some of the fields. In this case, contact the VDS Program Manager by e-mail (positions [AT] [DOT] at). 

My university uses a percentage system instead of grades or scores. What do I indicate?
Indicate the percentage you obtained and the percentage that is required to pass at your university.

I have been trying to submit the application form but received an error message.
This may occur for several reasons. Try to save your entries after completing each field of the application form. Also, stick to the word limit and make sure that the pdf files you upload are unprotected and as small as possible. If the problems persist try using a different web browser.

Can I exchange one referee for another one?
You are welcome to replace one referee by another. Please send an e-mail to the VDS Program Manager (positions [AT] [DOT] at) indicating which referee you want to replace and all information (title, family name, first name, university, institute, street, postal code, city, phone at work, email) regarding the referee you would like to include.

Can I add an additional referee?
Feel free to nominate additional referees if you wish to add more support to your application.

Why have my referees not been contacted by the Max Perutz Labs?
It is your responsibility to contact the referees (via the online application tool) and ask them to complete the review form. Note that the Max Perutz Labs, without exception, do NOT contact referees. 

What if my referee does not hold an institutional e-mail address?
Please appoint another referee who does hold an institutional e-mail address.

My referee is currently on vacation/at a meeting. Can he/she send the recommendation after the deadline?
No, the application tool will close upon the deadline and no further entries will be possible. If necessary, appoint another referee.

What is the GRE institution code for the Max Perutz Labs?
The Max Perutz Labs do not have an institution code. Please upload the GRE score sheet you have, regardless for which institution you took the test.

I do not have a GRE score. Can I substitute it with a TOEFL certificate?
No, TOEFL cannot replace GRE scores.

Will I receive a notification once my application is complete?
No. Please understand that due to the large number of applications it is impossible to inform each of you about the status of your application. You may, however, recognize it by the green/yellow/red sign, indicating the application status.

Do I contact the group leader with whom I would like to work before applying to the Vienna Doctoral School “Molecules of Life”?
No, it is not necessary to contact group leaders individually. Students who are invited for an interview will receive a list of open positions and project descriptions when coming to Vienna.

Do I need to have my certificates translated into English and authenticated?
No. Official translations and authentications of your documents will only be required once you have passed the selection for registration at the University of Vienna/Medical University of Vienna. 

Should I also post (snail-mail) a hardcopy of my application and curriculum vitae?
No, please do not send any documents by post. You will only need hardcopy documents once should you be accepted to the VDS for registration at the University of Vienna/Medical University of Vienna. 

How long does it usually take until I am notified about the outcome of my application?
You will receive an email approximately 3 weeks after the application deadline. 

How will I finance the trip to Vienna for the interview/selection week?
The Max Perutz Labs will fully refund your travel costs and provide accommodation.