Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awards PhD fellowships

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Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies and operates globally with approximately 50,000 employees.  Since our founding in 1885, the company has remained family-owned and today we are committed to creating value through innovation in three business areas including human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing.  Since we are privately held, we have the ability to take an innovative, long-term view.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awards PhD fellowships to outstanding junior scientists who wish to pursue an ambitious PhD project of approximately 3 years in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory.

Purpose
To promote basic research in biomedicine by providing the best young, up-and-coming scientists with comprehensive support during their PhD phase.

Who Can Apply for a PhD Fellowship?
The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) awards PhD fellowships to European citizens working in Europe or overseas, and to non-European citizens pursuing their PhD project in Europe. At the respective deadline (1 February, 1 June, 1 October) the university entrance qualification (secondary school leaving certificate/A-levels/university entrance test that permits to pursue first university studies after finishing school) must not have been achieved more than 8 years ago.

The PhD project must be experimental, in the field of basic biomedical research and aimed at elucidating basic biological phenomena of human life and acquiring new scientific knowledge. For a survey on the range of topics, please refer to the results of finished projects in FUTURA, the international journal of the foundation. Natural scientists should have been awarded their ultimate university degree (diploma, MSc, BSc, or equivalent). Students who have not yet finished their MSc studies, i.e. who cannot provide their MSc certificate at the deadline, can only apply when they are able to hand in their certificate within 4 months after the deadline. Physicians, veterinary surgeons and pharmacists should have passed their state examinations.

At the deadline, the applicant should not have been working on his/her project for more than 6 months. BIF encourages applicants to apply for a fellowship when they are about to begin their PhD work; preliminary project results are not expected from applicants.

The beginning of the PhD project is considered by BIF to be:
• the date of the final degree examination (e.g. BSc, MSc, Diploma, Licenciatura, Laurea) on the official certificate if the applicant continues to work in the same research group; or
• the month of arrival at the laboratory in which the PhD project is pursued if the applicant changes his/her research group, irrespective of the project he/she starts to work on.

Selection Process for PhD Fellowships
Once both your online application and the paper version of your application have been received by the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, we check whether your application meets all formal criteria.

Applications that fulfil the eligibility criteria are forwarded to the foundation’s Board of Trustees for pre-selection. In the pre-selection, the Board of Trustees incl. six internationally renowned scientists evaluates each application according to the three most important criteria: (1) the applicant's achievements to date (grades and curriculum vitae), (2) whether the proposed PhD project meets the overall requirements (e.g. topic and re­quired scientific quality), and (3) the scientific standard of the labo­ratory where the project is to be pursued. About 4 weeks after the application deadline, the Board members meet and decide which applications are admitted to the final selection process. Approximately 25% of the applications reach the final selection and are sent to independent external experts (peer reviewers) for additional evaluation. In addition, and whenever feasible, a member of the foundation's staff visits the applicant for a personal interview at his/her place of work and submits a written report to the Board of Trustees.

Application, evaluation of the external expert and the report on the personal interview are then scrutinized by the foundation's Board of Trustees (read more under selection criteria). The Board convenes three times a year and, after detailed discussion of each application, makes its decision. Approximately 15 fellowships are awarded at each Board meeting. The final decision on the applications is reached approximately 5 months after the deadline.

After each Board meeting, the foundation promptly informs the applicants of the outcome. Please note that only written notification is legally binding. The decisions of the Board are incontestable; and due to the large and ever-increasing number of applications, reasons for rejection cannot be given. Re-submission is possible only under certain circumstances, and only after consultation with the foundation.

Selection Criteria for PhD Fellowships
The scientists in the Board of Trustees and the external peer reviewer evaluate applications according to the following three criteria:
• the applicant's achievements to date (grades and curriculum vitae);
• the scientific quality, e.g. originality and inventiveness, of the proposed PhD project;
• the scientific standard of the laboratory in which the project is to be pursued.

Monthly Stipend
The fellowship comprises a competitive monthly stipend that is initially granted for 2 years and that can be extended for up to another 12 months. Participation in international scientific conferences is also supported. In addition, fellowship holders are offered personal support, seminars to discuss their projects, communication training and alumni meetings, and thus can become part of a worldwide network.

Timing and selection
Deadlines of application: 1 February, 1 June, 1 October of each year. Pre-selection takes place about 4 weeks after the respective deadline, and the final selection approximately 5 months after the respective deadline.

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