Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne

Career Development at the CMMC

The CMMC offers an exceptional training ground for the next generation of scientists and clinicians having a strong interest in and firm commitment to biomedical research at all levels of their academic career path. The continuous education, support and promotion of young junior scientists and mid-term scientists is a major goal of the CMMC as evidenced by its wide spectrum of activities as well as funding programs.

Further information of the educational and training opportunities as well as numerous funding programs can be found below:

The CMMC is highly devoted to attract medical students to molecular biomedical research in the early stages of their medical education to help promote their scientific careers with the possibility to work in one of the CMMC research groups and to participate in the IPMM program. 

Therefore, the CMMC regularly participates in the undergraduate study curriculum, the so-called “Research Track”, that is offered by the Faculty of Medicine. The Research Track is aimed at fostering the early scientific and research careers of medical students and physicians. 

Master Students are highly welcome to join one of the CMMC research groups and to work on a specific biomedical research topic. 

If you are interested, please send your application by e-mail to the CMMC Office ( Your application should contain:

a) letter of intent including your research interest and the time period
b) CV
c) academic certificates
d) contact data of two referees

­­During the last years, the CMMC also hosted the Cologne Summer Schools for several times. Cologne Summer Schools is the brand name of all summer schools organized by the International Office and the Faculties of the University of Cologne. Designed for BA students in their last year and MA students in their first year from partner universities all over the world, the interdisciplinary courses aim to enable international academic cooperation and intercultural exchange.

For further information please take a look at this image film of Cologne Summer School 2019 and visit the homepage of the International Office.

As a consequence of the interfaculty nature of the CMMC, the Medical Faculty and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences established the “Interdisciplinary Program Molecular Medicine (IPMM)” with its own curriculum and regulations. 

The IPMM is aimed at young physicians and postgraduate natural scientists and is designed to provide doctoral students from both faculties with relevant and timely training to better promote their career in the field of biomedical research. 

The IPMM also serves as an umbrella structure that provides the possibility for science-oriented physicians to graduate holding a scholarship from other Graduate Life Science Programs at the University of Cologne, e.g. CCRC PhD Program, Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research, Graduate School for Biological SciencesGraduate Program in Pharmacology, PhD Program for Health Sciences, RTG - Neural Circuit Analysis.

The IPMM offers medical and life science graduates:

  • an interdisciplinary program in the area of "Molecular Medicine" covering both research and complementary skills
  • a flexible curriculum adapted to the particular educational background and specific research interest of the participant
  • individual mentoring by senior scientists in addition to the supervision by the principle investigator
  • an excellent international reputation in research and education and unique bio-medical training opportunities
  • the degree Dr. nat. med., equivalent to the German Dr. rer. nat.

Currently, over 58 PhD students are participating in the IPMM and so far, 64 IPMM PhD students have successfully completed this program and have been awarded the Dr. nat. med.

This program facilitates the ad hoc recruitment of excellent scientists by providing immediate funding to support to pertaining clinical departments or institutes in cases of budget shortages. The advantage of this program is that it avoids time-consuming recruitment procedures, thereby enabling competitive international headhunting.

The implementation of JRGs is an integral part of the Junior Career Program of the CMMC. Excellent young scientists are selected and supported over a five-year period with a substantial budget for consumables and have the possibility of an additional three years of funding. In addition to their own salary, the PIs of JRGs are further supported by three additional positions, i.e. a postdoctoral position, a PhD student and a technical assistant, along with adequate laboratory facilities and access to a range of central core facilities and services. In these five to eight years of funding, the PIs of JRGs are expected to establish a strong international scientific reputation and to qualify for academic faculty positions.

In addition, the CMMC supports Junior Research Groups funded by external funding programs (e.g. DFG. German Cancer Aid) are supported by the CMMC as associated JRGs. The CMMC provides equipped state of the art laboratory and office space in the CMMC Research Building as well as access to the CMMC´s infrastructure and administrative support

The JRGs are allocated to the CMMC´s research area that best matches their respective scientific expertise and are accommodated in the clinical departments or institutes that most closely relate to their research interest. Currently, three JRGs are located at the CMMC. 

The recently established Career Advancement Program (CAP) is a funding instrument that has been specifically designed to support high-potential mid-career scientists of the Faculty of Medicine aiming for professorships or equivalent leadership positions at non-university research institutions. Currently, the CMMC supports 13 CAP groups.

To ensure that young physicians have enough time to devote to their research endeavors, the CMMC provides up to three rotating positions for young physician scientists to temporarily relinquish their clinical tasks and responsibilities, and to spend more time on their research. The RPP has proved to be highly successful in allowing physician scientists to focus on and advance in their research.

The Faculty of Medicine and the University of Cologne offer many education and training events that support and promote the career of "Early Career Researchers" (doctoral students, postdocs) as well as "Advanced Researchers" (e.g. professors, academic staff) and science managers).

In 2018, the Faculty of Medicine designed an initiative, under which a wide range of offers for scientifically oriented career development will be pooled: the C.A.S.E. platform.

C.A.S.E. stands for Career development of Academics by Scientific Evolvement.

C.A.S.E wants to reveal and amass offers for career paths at the medical faculty with events, coaching and counseling offers. The program is currently under development.

A helpful tool is the Career Event Guide, an online search mask for further training offers, networking events, workshops and informational events across all faculties at the University of Cologne. It provides an overview of the wide range of offers for the development of transferable skills.