BIF PhD Fellowships 2024 for International Junior Scientists in Germany

Fellowship Research in Medicine
  • Germany, Germany
  • Apply Before : October 1, 2024

Opportunity Details

  • Opportunity ID 234836
  • Degree Non Degree Program/Certificate
  • Fields of study Basic biomedical research
  • Opportunity Type : Partially Funded
  • Duration 2 to 3.5 years
  • Gender MaleFemale
  • Language of Instruction English
  • Application Fee Required No

Opportunity Description

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) awards PhD fellowships to outstanding junior scientists worldwide who aim to pursue ambitious projects in basic biomedical research. These fellowships, known for their strict selection process, provide significant financial and professional support to young researchers and facilitate their studies in internationally leading laboratories.

By applying to this fellowship, fellows will benefit from a monthly stipend, seminars, and travel allowances. Additionally, the BIF provides individual and personal support to fellows and a worldwide network of fellows and alumni.

About BIF:

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF)  is a public foundation committed to advancing basic research in biomedicine worldwide. Focusing on supporting exceptional scientists, it fosters investigations into fundamental aspects of human life through experimental inquiry. Its belief in providing a nurturing environment, promoting scientific autonomy, and ensuring financial stability underscores its dedication to fostering ground-breaking scientific advancements.

Key Details and Dates

  • Application Deadline: February 1, June 1, October 1 annually
  • Result Announcement Dates: Approximately six weeks for pre-selection, and final results around five months after each deadline
  • Funding Type: Partially Funded
  • Organizer: Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF)
  • Eligible Countries: European and non-European citizens (in Europe)
  • Eligible Gender: Male/Female
  • Target Group: Junior scientists working on PhD projects
  • Focus Area: Basic biomedical research
  • Study Level: PhD
  • Number of Opportunities: 10% acceptance
  • Duration: 2 to 3.5 years
  • Program Language: English
  • Host Country: Germany

Benefits and Financial Aids

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) will provide the selected fellows with the following benefits:

Monthly Payment:

  • Stipend Amount: It varies by country (e.g., €2,100 in Germany, €3,500 in the USA/Switzerland), but it is usually tax-free.
  • Additional Benefits: Child care allowance (up to €500/month) and spouse allowance (€200/month).
  • Legal Considerations: Refer to fellowship conditions for countries with strict stipend regulations (e.g., Austria, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland).

Travel Allowances:

  • Conference Participation: Funds will be used to present data at international conferences.
  • Methods Courses: Funds for relevant PhD project courses.
  • Collaborative Research: Funds for research in cooperating labs.


  • BIF Seminars: Designed for scientific exchange, communication training, and networking.
  • Positive Atmosphere: Open, friendly, and constructive seminar environments.
  • Long-Term Connections: Opportunities for scientific collaboration and lasting friendships

Personal Support:

  • Individual Attention: Face-to-face support for career guidance, PhD challenges, and other advice.
  • Flexible Operations: Unbureaucratic approach to help fellows focus on their PhD.

Eligibility Criteria

Prospective fellows must meet the following criteria:

General Requirements:

  • European citizens (in Europe or overseas) and non-European citizens (in Europe)
  • Projects must be in basic biomedical research
  • PhD projects should explain basic biological phenomena and acquire new scientific knowledge

Specific Requirements:

  • Your first university entrance qualification must be under eight years old (96 months).
  • Natural scientists must have their last degree (BSc, Diploma, MSc, or equivalent) before starting the PhD; you can submit an MSc degree up to four months after the deadline.
  • Physicians, pharmacists, and veterinary surgeons should have passed their state exams.
  • Only one candidate per laboratory per deadline can receive a fellowship; arrange the applications if multiple candidates are from the same lab.
  • Apply when starting or just starting your PhD project; eligibility ends if the project began more than six months prior.
  • PhD project start definitions:
    • Same Research Group: Date you obtained your highest degree (e.g., BSc, MSc) before starting the PhD.
    • New Research Group: Month of arrival at the new laboratory.
    • Lab Rotations Required: End your lab rotation period if the last rotation is in your PhD lab.
  • Contact BIF for cases like MSc/PhD programs without an official final exam before the PhD project.

What Does BIF Fund?

Experimental projects in basic biomedical research, such as in silico projects, are eligible for funding. Examples include RNA polymerase I structure analysis, neural circuit development, regulatory T cells induced by intestinal symbionts, heterochromatin protein 1 in malaria, and epigenetic reprogramming in the maternal germ line.

What Does the BIF Not Fund?

  • Applied research in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals (e.g., diagnostic assays, drug screening, therapeutic substance optimization, drug delivery systems, vaccines)
  • Disease course studies, symptom treatment, or clinical studies
  • Botanical and prokaryotic research, unless of general biological importance
  • In the educational phases of PhD programs, only the research phase is eligible for funding

Additional Funding Guidelines:

  • Funding from Others: Notify BIF if you are applying to other institutions; you must withdraw your application if you accept another award before the BIF decision (exceptions for tuition-only fellowships)
  • Working Contracts: Fellowship covers living expenses; no regular income from employment allowed, but a minor contract up to five hours a week is acceptable
  • Country Regulations: Adhere to specific legal or tax regulations for stipends in countries like Austria, Denmark, Norway, or Switzerland

Note: Refer to BIF’s PhD fellowship conditions and funding guidelines for further details.

Selection Process

Below is the highlight of the selection process for the BIF PhD fellowship.


Pre-selection (6 weeks post-deadline):

  • Eligibility and topic check by BIF staff
  • Peer review by two BIF Board scientists
  • Shortlisting and candidate notification

Final Selection (5 months post-deadline):

  • External expert evaluation
  • Candidate interviews by BIF staff
  • Final evaluation by two BIF Board members
  • Board meeting for final decision and candidate notification

Important Notes:

  • Only written notifications are legally binding.
  • BIF decisions are final and incontestable.
  • Re-submission is allowed only under specific circumstances and after consulting with BIF.
  • Reasons for rejection are not shareable with the applicant due to the high volume of applications.

Selection Criteria:

  • Applicant’s Achievements: Evaluate top grades, talent, curiosity, versatility, creativity, determination, motivation, diligence, perseverance, and mobility.
  • PhD Project Quality: Assess the project’s originality, potential for significant insights, accurate portrayal of current knowledge, advanced investigation methods, and feasibility within three years.
  • Laboratory Quality: Ensure the lab has top-tier equipment, state-of-the-art techniques, significant contributions to the field, and an international reputation for excellence.

How to Apply?

  • Submit an online application form with the documents below, including a PDF.
  • Include letter(s) of recommendation
  • Application deadlines: February 1, June 1, October 1 annually



Apply Now



Required Documents

Please prepare these supporting documents for your application:

  • Title and summary of a PhD project (max. 1,400 characters including spaces).
  • Detailed project proposal
  • Reasons for choosing the proposed group
  • Summary of Final Experimental Thesis
  • List of applicant’s publications
  • Scans of academic qualifications and certificates
  • High school diploma/secondary school leaving certificate
  • Letters of recommendation from:
    • PhD thesis supervisor
    • MSc or equivalent thesis supervisor
    • Supervisor of the most important laboratory internship

Submitting Letters of Recommendation:

  • Letters must be in English, on official letterhead, and signed
  • Sent separately by supervisors via email to
  • How to write a research proposal, please check the official link for a detailed guide available for download

Important Notes:

  • Fill out the form on BIF’s portal
  • Compile documents 1-7 into a PDF
  • Supervisors email the letters directly to BIF
  • Apply by February 1, June 1, or October 1
  • Follow BIF guidelines and seek supervisor advice
  • Await results from pre-selection and final selection stages


Applicants should visit the BIF website for more detailed guidance and read the FAQs and fellowship conditions.


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