German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School in Cancer Biology


Based on a long tradition of scientific interaction between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Rehovot, Israel the German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School in Cancer Biology has been established. This Research School is a joint PhD study program of the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research of the DKFZ and the Feinberg Graduate School of the WIS.

The Research School will accept 24 PhD students over 6 years (13 from the DKFZ and 11 from the WIS), and is funded by the Helmholtz Association, the DKFZ and the WIS.

The program started on 1st January 2012.


The DKFZ in Heidelberg and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, both share the long-term scientific goal of unveiling the causes and mechanisms of cancer development and progression, and both possess strong basic research programs.

Each institution also possesses unique strengths: the DKFZ offers collaboration and joint studies with clinicians and clinical research institutes throughout Germany, while the WIS offers access to basic research in many fields of the Natural Sciences, whose impact on modern biological research is extremely significant - mathematics and computer science, chemistry and physics.

The Research School builds on the joint strengths of both institutions and offers comprehensive and rigorous training covering topics in cancer biology ranging from basic to clinical aspects.

Annual Meeting 2014

Program Outline

The goal of the Research School is to provide doctoral students in each institution with superior training in cancer biology with a particular focus on the international and collaborative aspect of their education at an early stage in their career.

The main components of the Research School program include:

  • Joint mentoring of PhD thesis projects by pairs of collaborating scientists from both institutions.
  • Long-term exchange visits of doctoral students, lasting approximately 6-12 months, to work and study in the laboratory of their mentor from the partner institution. During these visits, the doctoral students are integrated in the curriculum of the respective Graduate School and attend lectures, method courses, journal clubs, group meetings and institute seminars.
  • Bi-annual meetings in which all doctoral students and mentors of the Research School present lectures about their work.
  • A comprehensive soft skills program that complements the scientific education the doctoral students receive.

Key Benefits for PhD Students of the Research School

The joint Research School between the WIS and the DKFZ offers its doctoral students key benefits including:

  • Mentoring by two senior scientists – enjoying the benefits of their combined scientific experience.
  • Access to resources and technical abilities of both institutions.
  • Residence, work and study in a foreign country – a key experience that is expected to play a major role in shaping the scientific personality of participating doctoral students.
  • An attractive training program in cancer biology.

Academic and Organisational Aspects

All PhD students of the Research School have either the DKFZ or Weizmann Institute as their home institute and are a member of the PhD program of their home institute, the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Reearch, or the Feinberg Graduate School, respectively.

However, they are also associate members of the partner institute. During their research stay at the partner institute, the students are integrated into the respective institute, with full access to its facilities and resources.

While the joint Research School offers a common framework for its doctoral students to undergo professional training at both the German Cancer Research Center and the Weizmann Institute, it does not offer a joint degree. Rather, doctoral students are under the academic responsibility of their home institutions and receive degrees according to the regulations of their home graduate schools.

Research School Flyer

A flyer about the Research School containing further information can be downloaded here.

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