Press and Public Relations

German-Israeli Doctoral Training Program: Scientific Excellence and Cultural Exchange

No. 29 | 30/05/2011 | by (Koh)

The German Cancer Research Center and the Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science will start a joint doctoral training program for young scientists called the “German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School in Cancer Biology”

Picture: Weizmann Institute of Science

In the future, twenty four young German and Israeli cancer researchers will be given the chance to participate in a doctoral training program offered jointly by the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Both institutes have been successfully investigating the causes of cancer for decades and are working to elucidate factors which promote the growth and spread of malignant tumors. The Weizmann Institute is known for its broad spectrum of natural sciences. The cutting-edge Israeli research center offers excellent training in mathematics, computer sciences, chemistry and physics – subjects that are of increasing importance for prospective cancer researchers. A special strength of DKFZ is the multitude of close collaborations with clinical research partners, which facilitates and accelerates the transfer of results from basic research to the clinic.

“Students of the German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School in Cancer Biology will benefit from the special strengths of both research institutes and will therefore receive excellent and comprehensive training. The students in the research school will also have a unique opportunity to develop collaborations with fellow researchers in Israel,” says Prof. Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, Scientific Director of DKFZ. “This research school will therefore expand the close relations the DKFZ has with Israeli cancer researchers, going back to 1976.”

As part of their German-Israeli doctoral thesis, the young scientists will carry out research at the respective partner institute for a period of six to twelve months. They will be participants of the graduate programs of both centers: the Helmholtz International Graduate School for Cancer Research at DKFZ and the Feinberg Graduate School at the Weizmann Institute.

All research projects of students of the German-Israeli Helmholtz Research School in Cancer Biology will be determined jointly by scientists of DKFZ and the Weizmann Institute. Every doctoral student will have a German and an Israeli mentor and will be able to use resources and scientific infrastructure of both research centers.

The German-Israeli graduate program is made possible by funds of the Helmholtz Association, which will provide €1.8 million over the next six years for this purpose. The DKFZ and Weizmann Institute will also contribute substantially to the costs. These funds will be used for stipends, for covering the travel and living costs of the doctoral students and for financing annual meetings for students and mentors as well as a comprehensive program of accompanying courses.

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany. At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public. Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites. Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.


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