Die HZI International Graduate School for Infection Research (GS-FIRE) bietet ein innovatives, strukturiertes Promotionsprogramm im Themenbereich "Infektionsforschung" und ist in der Abteilung Personalentwicklung verortet. Der Campus des Helmholtz-Zentrums für Infektionsforschung in Braunschweig bietet das ideale Umfeld für internationale Forschende, ihr Wissen mit Kolleg:innen und führenden Wissenschaftler:innen aus der ganzen Welt auszutauschen. Neben der intensiven wissenschaftlichen Ausbildung erhalten die Doktorand:innen die Möglichkeit, ihre fachlichen und überfachlichen Kompetenzen zu stärken, um so für den weiteren Karriereweg bestens vorbereitet zu sein.

Curriculum overview

The aim of the course of study is to strength the knowledge of the doctoral researchers within the research area of the complex interaction between host and the pathogen during infection with a focus on translational science. The curriculum consists of a three-year research project as well as state of the art lectures on relevant topics, symposia, summer schools and retreats, scientific presentation as well as several events to establish networks and collaboration, are also integrated in the focus of the programme. The doctoral researchers have the opportunity to intensify their scientific knowledge and soft skills. The programme should prepare young scientists for the next step of their career.

Structure of the curriculum in detail

Topic lectures

Each topic lecture series includes eight lectures on a defined topic (such as cell biology, immunology and structure biology). Fourteen different lecture series are currently offered, five should be selected by the doctoral rearchers. All topic lectures are modular and are repeated every second year.

Thesis Committee

The supervisor together with the doctoral researcher assemble a Thesis Committee. According to the company agreement the Thesis Committee is composed of the supervisor and two other experienced scientists preferably from other disciplines. The Thesis Committee helps to design and monitor the progress of the PhD project. It meets regularly and gives advice in a constructive manner.

Laboratory courses

These courses offer training in special areas and are organized by the research groups which are experts in their field (e.g. flow cytometry, immunohistology, micro-array, cell sorting, handling of mice).

Journal clubs

Each doctoral researcher participates in and prepares a literature report in journal clubs on a given subject.


Minisymposia on specific areas of research are organised biannually. These symposia typically include lectures by external speakers on different topics related and non-related to the expertise of the participating research institutes.

Annual retreats 

Once a year all doctoral researchers and their supervisors meet during the retreat. Each researcher presents the progress of the PhD project and cross topic projects are planned.

Summer Schools

Summer Schools are dedicated to infection research and related topics. They include state of the art scientific questions and technologies. The schools comprise one week of intensive training with a seminar programme presented by invited speakers as well as workshops within small groups and poster sessions presented by the participants.

Transferable Skills courses 

In addition to the scientific training, a number of transferable skills courses are part of the curriculum and can be freely selected. These include scientific writing, intellectual property issues, career and leadership, research management training and intercultural communication.

Credit points system 

To satisfy the PhD requirements the doctoral researcher has to submit a thesis and prove successful participation in a structured PhD programme. This requires the accumulation of credit points, which are given for all offered aspects of the curriculum and for participation in externally organized events. The partner universities fully acknowledge the activities of GS-FIRE.


Dr. Sabine Kirchhoff
Leitung Abteilung Personalentwicklung
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Inhoffenstraße 7
38124 Braunschweig


  • HZI International Graduate School


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