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Funded PhD Positions @ International Max Planck Research School for Successful Dispute Resolution [Germany, June 2015]: Apply by April 1

Call For Applications

International Max Planck Research School for Successful Dispute Resolution in International Law calls for applications for ten funded PhD positions available starting 1 June 2015; an additional five funded PhD positions will be available on 1 January 2016.


The International Max Planck Research School for Successful Dispute Resolution (IMPRS-SDR) is a doctoral school located in Heidelberg (Germany) and Luxembourg. Founded in 2009, the Research School’s aim is to examine and analyse different mechanisms for solving international disputes.

The participating institutions are the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, Heidelberg University, the University of Luxembourg, the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (both in Heidelberg).

Furthermore, in cooperation with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the IMPRS-SDR runs a funded internship program in international arbitration for doctoral students.

Funding Details

Students enrolled at Heidelberg University will receive a monthly scholarship of approximately EUR 1,300/month. Students enrolled at the University of Luxembourg will be provided with a research contract at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg amounting to approximately EUR 2,300/month.

In order for a student to be eligible to receive a scholarship, it is necessary for him or her to reside in the respective city.

Admission Criteria and Application Requirements

The IMPRS-SDR is looking for highly qualified candidates with a strong international focus, with respect to both their experience and area of research, as well as an excellent level of English (a minimum of 90 points in the IBT-TOEFL is required).

IMPRS-SDR candidates have usually graduated in the top 10 percent of their previous university class. They have ideally spent considerable time at a university abroad, or completed an internship with an international organisation or institution, or have already worked in a specific field of law that is of interest to the Research School.

Besides academic excellence, IMPRS-SDR applicants are expected to have good social skills, since interaction between doctoral students is an important cornerstone of the IMPRS-SDR educational concept.

IMPRS-SDR doctoral students are accepted via a two-stage process. The first stage is determined on the basis of written materials submitted by the applicant. At the second stage, selected applicants are invited for interview.

The selection committee will usually invite candidates for interview in person, either in Luxembourg or Heidelberg. In exceptional cases, however, an admission interview may take place via video conference.

Based on the information and impressions gathered at interview and through the supporting written materials, the Research School will render its final decision on admission to the IMPRS-SDR. At this point, successful applicants will also be allocated their supervisors.


Applicants are requested to provide the following written materials:

1. Completed application form (Download HERE);

2. A curriculum vitae;

3. Copies of law degree / other university degrees / bar exam (if available). To the extent possible, please include university transcripts and official details of class rank. Documents must be in German or English or accompanied by a certified German or English translation.

4. Research proposal in English or German (between 3 and 5 pages in length). This should include the following:

an explanation of the topic and why the applicant considers it to be important;

a description of the applicant’s preparatory work on the topic;

details of the specific aim of the research proposal;

details of relevant interfaces with other fields of study;


a proposed study schedule; and

a timeline for completion.

5. The proposal must be structured in such a way as to allow the project to be concluded within two years, unless special circumstances arise which preclude this.

6. Two letters of recommendation in German or English by professors familiar with the applicant’s academic legal training. Letters of recommendation should comment in particular on the applicant’s ability to conduct academic research.

7. Applicants must be fluent in English. Non-native speakers can prove their proficiency by successfully completing prior studies (for example an LLM) in an English-speaking country.

A candidate who has not completed prior studies in an English-speaking country must present evidence of having attained the requisite level of English. A minimum of 90 points in the Internet Based TOEFL (or IELTS equivalent) is required.

8. Applicants enrolling at Heidelberg University should have a satisfactory command of German (e.g. Zertifikat Deutsch (ZD)).

While knowledge of German is not a formal requirement for admission, it is very useful for applicants to Heidelberg, since some classes and presentations will be in German, as well as the thesis defence (however, the student’s level of German does not regularly affect the results thereof). Additionally, IMPRS-SDR students may take German classes at the University.

9. Originals (or certified copies) of the relevant documents (including TOEFL score) must only be provided after the admission decision has been made.

Application Deadline

Applications must be uploaded no later than 1 April 2015.

To upload your application, please go to IMPRS-SDR application HERE.

More information available HERE.

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