The aim of the joint IMPRS doctoral program of the Max Planck Society and the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz ) is to support particularly qualified young scientists from all over the world by allowing them to conduct doctoral research under excellent conditions. Three pillars serve this purpose:
- Structure: The structure of the IMPRS affects both its administration and its themes: each PhD student goes through a multi-stage selection process, is supported by a cross-institutional team of supervisors, the so-called Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), and completes a three-year curriculum. The affiliation of an IMPRS to a particular Max Planck Institute results in the presence of an overarching theme, within which the doctoral candidates can engage in interdisciplinary exchange regarding their specific topics.
- Internationality: In order to promote international cooperation, at least 50% of the PhD students are from outside of Germany and the working language of the IMPRS is English.
- Close partnership with the associated universities: The partnership with a university is formalized in a cooperation contract. Both partners provide resources, and scientists from both institutions actively participate in the scientific program and supervision.
Bringing PhD students together under the umbrella of an IMPRS will lead to synergy effects and “attain scientific benefits in contrast to isolated doctoral theses” (Max Planck Society 2017: Guidelines for International Max Planck Research Schools, p. 1).