Bonn International Graduate School (BIGS) - Immunoscience and Infection

The BIGS Immunosciences and Infection offers its members a wide-ranging curriculum. The curriculum includes courses, which are mandatory to complete the doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Medicine, and is rounded of with elective courses, which can be attended additionally.

Seminar series, method- and softskill courses

The structured program of the BIGS includes a seminar series with invited guest speakers once a month, which covers cutting-edge research areas and technologies. In addition, in method workshops, PhD students have the opportunity to learn about the newest technological developments in courses organized by the Bonn Technology Campus Life Sciences like for example flow cytometry, genome wide editing or in vivo imaging. Furthermore, courses on important scientific topics, such as Good Scientific Practice, statistics and data presentation as well as key soft skills, such as scientific writing, oral presentations and time management are included in the curriculum.

Our program has an inherently immunological focus, but its program is embedded into the general BIGS framework and structure of the University of Bonn like the Promotion Plus program.

The Promotion plus program, established by the Bonn Graduate Center for all doctoral students, offers a broad range of general courses and trainings. In addition, the Bonn Graduate Center offers networking and welcome events for national and international doctoral candidates (together with the International Office), assistance with funding opportunities (together with the office for research) and career opportunities (together with the Career Center).  

Furthermore, joint training with other graduate schools in Bonn is offered, in particular with BIGS Neuroscience and BIGS Clinical and Population Science.

Welcome Symposium

At the beginning of the 3-year program, graduate students attend a welcome symposium. This orientation will introduce new students to the foci of our research groups, as well as the resources and the expertise available within ImmunoSensation2 Cluster of Excellence. Moreover, the symposium gives PhD students the opportunity to present their own projects to the board of the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection and other members of the graduate school. New students need to participate in the Welcome Symposium.

Applicants will be informed about the dates of the Welcome Symposium.

Networking events and schools

Graduate students have the possibility of attending an internal Summer or Winter School, where they can present their scientific achievements to the ImmunoSensation community and learn about newest techniques and developments.

Moreover, PhD students have the opportunity to present and discuss their data at yearly PhD network meetings, which are co-organized by the students. We cooperate with the German Society for Immunology (DGfI), so that our students can participate in the DGfI Autumn School and the DGfI Translational Immunology School.

Cluster Science Day 2019 at the Biomedical Center (BMZ) Campus Venusberg Bonn
Cluster Science Day 2019 at the Biomedical Center (BMZ) Campus Venusberg Bonn

The IFReC-ImmunoSensation2 School on Advanced Immunology

The school of Advance Immunology is jointly organized by IFReC (Immunology Frontier Research Center (Osaka, Japan) and ImmmunoSensation2. Next to lectures by leading immunologists, combined with poster sessions and oral presentations, the school has a strong emphasis on two-way communication between students and the faculty.  PhD students and postdoctoral fellows early in their career all over the world have the chance to be invited.

Five of the approximately 50 slots are reserved for ImmunoSensation scientists. The selection is based on the strength of the CV, a personal statement describing the motivation and a recommendation letter.

Travel grants for national and international conferences

Members of the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection have the chance to apply twice per year for Travel Grants for national and international conferences.

International research exchange

ImmunoSensation2 is internationally connected and maintains research partnerships with Australia (Melbourne University), Japan (Osaka University, Waseda University, Kyoto University) and the Netherlands (Radboud University, Nijmegen). Students will have the opportunity to receive additional financial support to participate in an official student exchange program (3 to 6 months) with selected principal investigators at these partner universities.

Mentoring Program

Throughout the graduate program, BIGS participants are guided by their supervisor and an additional mentor. This should ensure regular project-related discussions. The progress of each research project will also be followed in oral and written annual reports.


To ensure a high standard of supervision, the students’ individual progress is monitored by a central quality system, including an annual meeting with the thesis committee and regular progress reports. In order to continuously improve the offers of the BIGS Immunosciences and Infection, we conduct regular surveys.