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The Call for Applications for the DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowships is currently closed.



Although there are other ways of becoming a Postdoc at our research center, the DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowships represent the most prestigious and competitive Postdoc recruitment process at the DKFZ. It is intended to recruit highly talented and motivated young scientist, who wish to work at the forefront of cancer research in any of basic or translational cancer research labs at the DKFZ.

This program offers up to 10 fellowships per year and provides interdisciplinary training and research opportunities in state-of-the-art research facilities for excellent young scientists, no longer than 2 years past graduation, with a background in biology as well as in physics, mathematics, bioinformatics, epidemiology and other research fields.


  • A qualification equivalent to a PhD or MD is a prerequisite for all applications.
  • Candidates should document their successful previous research endeavors with publications.
  • The candidates should be at an early stage of their career, having held a PhD (or MD) for no longer than 2 years.
  • The fellowship is not open for internal candidates, unless they have been recruited to the DKFZ not longer than 6 months before the application deadline.

Selection criteria

The most important selection criterion is academic quality, demonstrated by outstanding publications.

Other criteria that will be considered during the selection process include research prizes and awards, demonstration of mobility, or successful application for research funding.

Although it is not mandatory that applicants contact a research group before applying, showing a clear idea about the future research focus is of great advantage. Here is a non-exhaustive list of research projects offered at the DKFZ.

Funding and duration

DKFZ Postdoc salaries are competitive by national standards and are negotiated and confirmed during the recruitment phase should a fellowship be offered.

The fellowships are initially offered for a duration of two years.

Personal Career Development

The DKFZ is committed to open new avenues for personal career development. Therefore, the institute actively supports its scientists by providing advanced training tailored to their specific needs.

dedicated Career Center for Postdocs is available to inform about future career opportunities and to plan the next step in your career. The team provides personal career guidance and advises postdocs on formulating their personal career strategy.

How to apply for a DKFZ Fellowship?


DKFZ International Postdoc Program
German Cancer Research Center
69120 Heidelberg


In order to prepare your application please make sure to compile all the required information in one single PDF document which you need to upload during the online application process:

  1. One-page motivation letter (incl. a statement of your research interests)
  2. List of preferred DKFZ labs/projects (see the research profiles tab)
  3. Curriculum vitae (incl. list of publications)
  4. Copy of degree certificates (MD, PhD, Bachelor and Master certificates, originals, transcripts, and translations if applicable)
  5. Two letters of recommendation

Please note that applications need to be submitted in English.

Candidates are encouraged to contact division heads and group leaders at the DKFZ Heidelberg before application to discuss potential projects. 



Application Guideline

Download our Application Guide (PDF document) containing detailed information on the DKFZ International Postdoc Program and the DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowships. Furthermore, you will find info on how to prepare and submit your fellowship application and on the different steps of the selection process.

What happens after you submitted your application?

The selection procedure for the DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowship is composed of multiple steps which are highlighted below.

Selection Process


  • All application documents submitted will be evaluated by the Postdoc Selection Committee during a competitive selection process.
  • We will then invite shortlisted candidates who have successfully passed this first selection step for a visit to the DKFZ in Heidelberg.* Letters of invitation will be provided for VISA application if necessary.

 Step 2:

  • About 8-10 weeks after the application deadline, a three day DKFZ Postdoctoral Fellowship Symposium (incl. interviews) will be held in Heidelberg*. A number of invited candidates will be participating in this event.
  • Applicants will have the opportunity to meet with individual division heads and research group leaders to discuss about potential research projects.
  • On the second day all candidates will meet with members of the Postdoc Selection Committee  to give a 15-minute presentation about their recent work which will be followed by a short discussion.

Step 3:

  • Applicants will be informed about the outcome of the selection process shortly after the symposium.
  • Start dates for fellowships will be mutually agreed after acceptance of the offered fellowship contract. Normally, fellowship positions should be filled within 6 months after the fellowship has been awarded.

* Important note: restrictions may apply due to the world-wide Corona pandemic. In case it will not be possible to organize the selection event on site, we will invite preselected candidates to a virtual selection event.

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