A guide to a PhD in Life Sciences in Europe : Part 3 - A list of some universities and institutes in western Europe

There are hundreds of universities and institutes in western Europe that are offering a PhD in life sciences. At times, it can get overwhelming to select the one that is ‘good’ and fits your area of interest. Here is a list of some well-known universities and institutes in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The links in this post will take you directly to the page of the PhD program offered by the university. This list is not exhaustive. You are requested to search more thoroughly and select the university.

Universities and institutes in Germany

·       Deutsches Krebforschungszentrum (DKFZ) (German Cancer Research Center)
A leading institute for studying cancer biology. Located in the beautiful historic city of Heidelberg. It conducts an interdisciplinary PhD program in cancer biology.
·       DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
The DAAD is a funding organization for the international exchange of students and researchers. It has a vast database of PhD positions available in Germany.
·       European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
EMBL is a publicly-funded intergovernmental organization that is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities. It has five campuses located in England, France, Germany, and Italy. The main campus is located in the beautiful city of Heidelberg. EMBL conducts a highly competitive international PhD program.
·       Frie Universität
One of the top ranking universities in Germany, located in Berlin. It offers a graduate program in Macromolecular Biosciences.
Highly prestigious university in Germany, located in Göttingen. The university offers a graduate program through the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB).
·       Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
One of the top ranking universities located in the happening city of Munich. It offers several graduate programs in the field of life sciences through the Graduate school of Quantitative Biosciences Munich (QBM), Graduate school of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN) and also a PhD program offered by Gene Center Munich.
·       Max Planck Institutes
The Max Planck Society is Germany’s most successful research organization. It involves 83 institutes engaged in fundamental research in natural sciences and social sciences. Some of the well-known MPI’s working in the field of life sciences are listed below. These institutes offer PhD positions through programs offered by International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS). Every institute conducts its own IMPRS-based PhD admissions.
Ø  MPI of Biochemistry – Martinsried
Ø  MPI for Infection Biology – Berlin
Ø  MPI of Biophysics – Frankfurt am Main
Ø  MPI for Biophysical Chemistry – Göttingen
Ø  MPI for Medical Research – Heidelberg
Ø  MPI of Molecular Physiology – Dortmund
Ø  MPI for Developmental Biology – Tübingen

One of the oldest and top-ranking university in Germany. Located in the beautiful historic city of Heidelberg. The university conducts admissions to various research groups working in the field of life sciences through its graduate school called the Hartmunt-Hoffman Berling International Graduate School (HBIGS).


Universities and institutes in Switzerland

·       ETH Zürich
One of the leading universities in science and technology, located in the picturesque city of Zürich. It is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research, and for implementing research directly into practice. It offers a competitive program for admitting PhD students, through the Life Science Zürich Graduate School.
·       École Polytechnique Fédérale de Laussanne (EPFL)
One of the top-ranking universities in the world. It has a beautiful campus on the shore of a lake in Laussanne, a major city in the French-speaking of part of Switzerland. It offers graduate programs in Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Molecular Life Sciences (Cancer), and Neuroscience.
·       Universität Basel
A well-known university located in Basel, a city that sits on the borders of Germany, France, and Switzerland. The biology center of the university (Biozentrum) offers an interdisciplinary PhD program. Apart from this, the university also offers PhD programs in Biomedicine, Infection Biology, and Plant sciences.


Universities and institutes in Austria

·       Vienna Biocenter
It is one of the most outstanding life sciences hub in the central European region. It offers a competitive PhD program in collaboration with Universität Wien (Vienna University).
It is a center established by University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna to foster excellence in research and teaching in the field of molecular biology. It offers a competitive PhD program in disciplines such as RNA biology, chromosome dynamics, integrative structural biology, and molecular mechanisms of cell signaling.
It is a young international institute dedicated to basic research and graduate education in natural and mathematical sciences. It is located on the outskirts of Vienna. It accepts PhD students through a program named as ISTScholar