The DIGS-BB selection week welcomes new minds to Dresden!

75 students from around the world visited Dresden for the DIGS-BB bi-annual and IMPRS-CellDevoSys annual PhD selection, which took place from the 5th to 9th of February.

A group of students applying for the DIGS-BB selection week are gathered in the lobby of the CRTD smiling and waving at the camera
75 PhD applicants arrived in Dresden for the DIGS-BB and IMPRS-CellDevoSys selection week. © DIGS-BB / Hagen Gebauer

In early February, the bi-annual call for PhD students to join the research community in Dresden was hosted at the Centre for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD). The Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB) has been a leader in cutting edge PhD training since 2006, with over 380 awarded degrees. This graduate school is a key unit responsible for PhD students in PoL, the CRTD, BIOTEC, B CUBE, and more. Through a joint selection, DIGS-BB and their partner PhD program, the International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental, and Systems Biology (IMPRS-CellDevoSys), received over 650 applications. After a multi-step evaluation process including interviews with the Admission Committee, 75 candidates joined us in Dresden for the interview week. From the incredibly diverse research portfolio on offer in Dresden, 43 groups (including 4 PoL core groups) were offering a total of 55 available PhD positions.

The week was jam-packed with events for both applicants, and participating research groups. On Tuesday (Day 1) students were greeted with a welcome presentation, followed by brief talks from the group leaders outlining their research topics. After these presentations, students highlighted their previous experience through a poster session. This granted an opportunity for members of the DIGS-BB community to ask questions to the students about their research interests, skills, and previous projects. The group leader presentations, and poster sessions had the combined aim of helping students to identify their favourite research groups, and for the corresponding group leaders and staff to identify students they wanted to work with.

On Wednesday (Day 2), students were able to attend 1:1 interviews with potential labs they were interested in. This allowed for fruitful discussions between group leaders and applicants, and networking between both groups. Thursday (Day 3) gave more opportunities for visits to the lab spaces by interested students, and further discussions between group leaders and candidates. By Friday (Day 4), applicants were asked to indicate their research group preferences, while group leaders were also required to indicate their ideal candidates. Then the DIGS-BB and IMPRS-CellDevoSys offices paired candidates with the group leaders based on these preferences. In total, of the 30 positions offered by DIGS-BB, 28 have already been accepted.

To celebrate the newly accepted PhD students into the Dresden research community, the grand finale Friday evening was a huge party hosted at the CRTD. A movie was prepared by a group of PhD volunteers, which was followed by a game show involving the new candidates accepted into the DIGS-BB and partner program. This was undoubtedly a fantastic event for all who attended. We want to give a warm welcome and congratulations to the new members of the DIGS-BB family—best of luck with your research endeavours!