The International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles (IMPRS-gBGC) offers a PhD program in global biogeochemistry and related Earth System sciences.
The overall research and teaching focuses on:
- Improved understanding of biogeochemical processes with an emphasis on terrestrial ecosystems
- Development of observational techniques to monitor and assess biogeochemical feedbacks in the Earth system
- Theory and model development for improving the representation of biogeochemical processes in comprehensive Earth system models
What are global biogeochemical cycles?
Biogeochemistry is the study of how the elements essential to life are distributed among the components of the Earth system - atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, land and oceans. The study of these global biogeochemical cycles takes on particular importance in the face of ongoing global environmental change and the recognition that they are linked to past and current climate change. Understanding and predicting the response of the Earth system requires a broad base of scientific knowledge and the skills to evaluate the importance of processes at a range of spatial and temporal scales.
Common scientific understanding
Breadth will be fostered among students through a common curriculum that emphasizes four general themes:
- Integrated understanding through “core” lecture courses on the basics of the field of global biogeochemical cycles: Students of various disciplines will learn the common “biogeochemical language” that bridges their background with other disciplines and a selection of courses that emphasize skills commonly needed in earth system science research, such as data analysis, isotope methods, geographic methods and numerical modeling.
- Conducting individual research through development of a thesis project with a committee of IMPRS members and selected outside researchers: Students will develop their research topic together with the IMPRS Faculty Members. For a selection of current and past topics see our Research Page.
- Personal skills courses and strong mentoring program: Writing publications, presenting results and managing groups are key skills for internationally visible top scientists. Regular presentation of results at conferences and to external mentors will improve the training and mentoring.
- Training in collaborative research through short-term research visits at foreign top research groups: Exchange visits at top institutions and additional training at other IMPRS or universities give the opportunity to specialize and further qualify in a field of interest. This will give unique contacts to top experts in the field and increase visibility of their research projects.
This science and education package will deliver after three years excellent young researchers, competitive for the outstanding research institutions and prestigious grants in biogeochemical science.
The educational program of the IMPRS consists of a series of obligatory requirements, skills courses, a topical seminar and at least one elective course that is special to the student’s interests. In addition, students will be required to make a three month foreign research visit. The elective course(s) may include offerings such as special summer research schools or offerings at outside Universities and must be approved by the executive committee.
In the course of the three-year doctoral program, a minimum of 20 credit points (CP) has to be achieved.
The overview module will provide the students with all general aspects of global biogeochemical cycles. The core courses will cover the main spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere. Skills courses will provide knowledge on statistics, modeling, earth observations and soft skills.
Twice a year the International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles accepts applications for PhD stipends.