The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awards PhD fellowships

The application period is open for one or more cycles a year
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Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year




  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Worldwide


The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds awards PhD fellowships to outstanding junior scientists (max. age: 27 years) who wish to pursue an ambitious PhD project of approximately 3 years in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory. 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.



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

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. 

Our Guiding Principles

Science is our passion.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) is a public foundation - an independent, non-profit organization for the exclusive and direct promotion of basic research in biomedicine. We support up-and-coming junior scientists whose research projects experimentally elucidate the basic phenomena of human life, and organize two International Titisee Conferences per year. We are convinced that great scientific ideas and developments need a stimulating context, freedom and a sound financial fundament. At BIF, we do our best to provide all these for our fellows in our programmes.

Opportunity is About


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate

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.

In other cases, i.e. when participating in MSc/PhD programmes or graduate schools without an official final examination prior to the PhD project, please contact us.

If a laboratory presents 2 candidates for a PhD fellowship at the same application deadline, only one of them can receive a fellowship. This is why we would highly recommend that candidates from the same laboratory apply at different deadlines.

We do not support

  • applied research, such as biotechnological and pharmaceutical development (e.g. development of assays for diagnostic purposes or drug screening; optimization or screening of substances/compounds for therapeutic use; development of drug delivery systems or vaccines);
  • studies on the course of diseases or the treatment of symptoms;
  • botanical and prokaryotic investigations unless they are of general biological importance;
  • education; we can support only research; fellowships therefore cannot be used during the course and rotation phase of PhD programmes, but only for the duration of the PhD project.


Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year

Cost/funding for participants

Conditions for PhD Fellowships

Grantees can take up their Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) fellowship by sending us their signed fellowship conditions, desired start date, and details of their bank account. The fellowship expires if not taken up within 6 months of the date of the letter of approval.


The basic monthly stipend amounts to 1,650 euros. In most countries, fellows are paid an additional flat rate of 150 euros per month to cover minor research-related costs (books, travel expenses, etc.). To adjust e.g. for differences in living costs, country-related premiums of up to 1,600 euros may be added (in the United Kingdom, Austria, and the Netherlands currently 650 euros, in the USA 1,175 euros, in Switzerland 1,600 euros, in Canada and Sweden 600 euros, in Denmark 700 euros, and in Germany 200 euros). Depending on the cost of living, most other countries are grouped into one of these categories. For example, an unmarried fellow working in Germany currently receives 2,000 euros, in the USA 2,975 euros, in the United Kingdom 2,450 euros, and in Switzerland 3,400 euros.

Furthermore, a spouse allowance of 200 euros, a child allowance of 200 euros per child and/or childcare allowance of up to 500 euros may be added depending on the personal situation.

The initially awarded stipend sum is based on the information provided in the application. The fellowship holder is obligated to inform BIF about any changes in his/her personal or financial circumstances (change of marital status, income of spouse, etc.) so that BIF can adjust the amount of the stipend. The stipend is transferred in euros by the middle of each month.

In addition, fellowship holders can apply for travel allowances to present their research projects at international scientific conferences, to participate in methods courses, or to perform research in cooperating laboratories. Besides, BIF offers its fellows and alumni exclusive meetings, seminars, and trainings.


PhD fellowships are granted for 24 months and can be extended once for a maximum of 12 months. However, if the fellow began work on his/her PhD before taking up the fellowship, that period will be deducted from the maximum extension period. The beginning of the PhD work is considered by BIF to be the date of the final examination on the official certificate (e.g. BSc, MSc, Diploma, DEA, Licenciatura, Laurea) if the fellow continued to work in the same research group, or the date of arrival at the PhD laboratory if the fellow changed research groups.

In the event of illness, BIF usually continues payments for 2 months, after which time assistance would cease. Upon recovery, the fellowship may be extended by the period of absence due to illness.


The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds does not intervene in the work of fellows who, in turn, are obligated to make proper use of the allocated funds and to adhere to the rules of good scientific practice. Each fellow must devote his/her whole energy to his/her particular PhD project. In the laboratory, fellows should only be assigned to tasks directly connected to their PhD projects.

The fellowship has been granted to pursue the PhD project described in the application and in the laboratory specified therein. If a fellow decides to change the topic of the PhD project or the laboratory, he/she must inform BIF without delay. Major project changes require approval by BIF to continue the stipend. In the event of the project being successfully completed prior to expiry of the fellowship, payment will be discontinued.

Fellowship holders must present a project report for publication in FUTURA, BIF’s international journal, at the beginning of the fellowship and a final report no later than 2 months after the PhD examination (defence). Furthermore, they are expected to acknowledge the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds in all publications resulting from their work during the fellowship and to inform BIF about these publications also after the fellowship. Please note that BIF should be referred to in the acknowledgements as “Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds”, not as “Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation”. The latter is a different not-for-profit charity.

BIF does not provide any kind of insurance for its fellowship holders. They must insure themselves and their families against any possible costs and consequences caused by illness, accident, personal liability, etc.

Applications to other institutions

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds must be notified if an application is submitted to any other research-sponsoring institution. Should an applicant take up an award from another institution prior to the decision of BIF, the application to the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds is considered withdrawn and BIF must be notified immediately. Please note that only written notification is legally binding.

Additional funding

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds fellowship is intended to cover the living expenses of the recipient. A BIF stipend may therefore generally not be held while receiving a regular personal income from any other institution or research institute with the following exceptions:

  • An employment or a working contract of up to 5 working hours a week yielding a minor income while holding a BIF PhD fellowship is possible provided that the contract is not issued on the research project(s) supported by BIF and that the salary is fixed according to the standard PhD salary at the fellow’s host institution.
  • Tuition, bench fees, and overheads are not reimbursed by BIF. Therefore, an additional fellowship from another institution covering exclusively tuition fees can be accepted.

Legal and tax issues

Fellowships awarded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds do not constitute any form of employment. In Germany (EStG § 3 No. 44) and in countries that maintain a double-taxation agreement with Germany, fellowships are usually exempt from tax. Fellowship holders should inform themselves whether the conditions for tax exemption are met and are responsible for paying possible taxes. A fellowship is not considered to be remuneration as defined by Article 14 of the German Social Law IV and is therefore not liable to social insurance. Provision of laws governing formation of capital, saving premiums, and residential building premiums do not apply.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds reserves the right to adjust the stipend, e.g. due to currency fluctuations, and to reclaim any surplus payment or money paid in error. Furthermore, BIF may cancel the fellowship and demand repayment if the fellowship was obtained under false pretences or not used for its intended purpose, if the obligation to submit the final report is not fulfilled, or for any other sound reason.

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