This doctoral study program is dedicated to leading research in bioinformatics.
In the life sciences, new technologies enable the generation of new experimental data quicker than it can be interpreted. Technological advances not only allow to gather more data, but also open new research fields like, e.g., single cell, metagenomic or pangenomic studies.
The aim of the doctoral program Bioinformatics is to train outstanding young researchers with a focus on bioinformatic methods development. PhD students are supported by extensive supervision, quality management, and an individual qualification program towards a successful career on and off the academic track.
In addition to the research project (finalized in a thesis), PhD students in this program complete a qualification program totalling 30 ECTS credit points, which is individually designed in agreement with the scientific coordinator and the advisory team according to the scientific background of a student and the PhD project.
The study program is composed of lectures and seminars (usually on masters level or dedicated PhD courses), but also comprises teaching, organizing workshops, publications, supervision of students, soft skill seminars and research trips to partner institutes.
Furthermore, students are invited to participate in the Bioinformatics Research and Education Workshop (BREW), an international workshop series organized by and for PhD students.
Further central elements of the program are:
The study program does not include any funding options.
If you consider to apply to the program, please read the study regulations regarding the formal requirements, and then contact the scientific coordinator Dr. Roland Wittler.
The study program is currently coordinated in conjunction with the graduate school DILS. But other PhD students are nevertheless welcome to enrol.
Bielefeld University‘s good reputation in doctoral training in interdisciplinary research was grounded on the establishment of the DFG Research Training Group „Structure Formation“ („Strukturbildungsprozesse") in 1996. Its aim was to join mathematicians and computer scientists to work with researchers from biology, chemistry, linguistics and economy on mathematical models of structure forming processes. This way, in particular, the cooperation of mathematics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and computer science has advanced.
When bioinformatics was established as a new own research discipline (instead of interdisciplinary research), the DFG Research Training Group 635 „Bioinformatics“ has been launched to satisfy the urgent request for software and algorithms to cope with the growing amount of data. This lead to numerous further activities which made Bielefeld a leading bioinformatics site in Germany and beyond. Once more, this became apparent with the success in the DFG Bioinformatics Initiative in the year 2000, as well as in the establishment of the International NRW Graduate School „Bioinformatics and Genome Research“ in 2001 by the NRW ministry for science and research. Within the scope of this graduate school, a doctoral study program of the same name was launched, which later became the basis for this study program „Bioinformatics“. In October 2013, a new PhD program was established: The International DFG Research Training Group "Computational Methods for the Analysis of the Diversity and Dynamics of Genomes" (DiDy) in cooperation with Simon Fraser University in Canada, with extensive exchange of young researchers and PIs between the partner institutes. To accommodate the computer science focus of the program, the current doctoral study program „Bioinformatics“ was installed.
After completion of the Research Training Group DiDy, the study regulations have been revised – on the one hand, to soften the international aspects which have been emphasized within the scope in the former program; on the other hand, to further improve the regulations regarding quality management (supervision, reporting).
Currently, the study regulations build the formal basis for the doctoral training in the graduate school „Digital Infrastructure for the Life Sciences“ (DILS) at the Bielefeld Institute for Bioinformatics Infrastructure (BIBI) founded in 2019.