IMPRS-ESM Spring Call 2021


In our Spring Call for 2021 we offer 3 PhD positions. Online registration is possible until 15 March 2021.

Successful candidates will enter either the Department The Atmosphere in the Earth System (2 vacancies) or the Department The Ocean in the Earth System (1 vacancy) of MPI-M.

Outstanding young scientists with a strong interest on topics related to the following T1-4 are encouraged to apply:

T1: "Moist greenhouse atmospheres"
T2: "Cloud feedbacks"
T3: "The distribution of humidity in the tropics"
T4: "Air-sea CO2 flux"

For detailed information on these positions please visit: description of positions. Applicants should indicate their preference for one of the topics in their cover letter.

Applications are sought from candidates with an M.Sc. degree (or equivalent) and a strong background in meteorology, oceanography, physics (including astronomy, astrophysics and planetary science), engineering (especially fluid dynamics and heat transfer) or related areas. Programming skills are expected. Also students currently still working on their M.Sc. thesis are encouraged to apply. We value teamwork and personal development. Furthermore, we strive for gender and diversity equality and thus welcome applications from diverse backgrounds and explicitly encourage women to apply. Proficiency in English is required.

Please apply online through this website (registration button is found further below) and carefully follow the introduced procedure.

Online application is possible until 15 March 2021.
The selection procedure includes an interview (envisaged for 29 April).

PhD positions are offered for a period of three years. Payment will be in accordance with German public service positions up to TVöD E13/65%, including extensive social security plans. The conditions of employment follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences and those of the German civil service.

Funding is available starting June 2021. For questions, please contact: office.imprs@we dont want

Note that applications will be accepted only when submitted via the online application system.

Application procedure

Interested students should download the application guidelines and carefully follow the provided instructions. Be aware that we only and exclusively accept applications that follow the prescribed application scheme (online application, submission of all requested documents and arranging for reference letters using the prescribed reference forms).

Guidelines for a successful application to the IMPRS-ESM PhD program

Deadline online application: 15 March 2021


An application to the IMPRS-ESM consists of various subsequent steps which all require careful preparation. These instructions aim at guiding you through the whole application process as well as helping you to prepare all required application documents.

All required documents must be submitted electronically until 19 March 2021.


- any hardcopies / paper copies sent by ordinary post or fax
- any communication without the candidate’s ‘Registration ID’
- any reference letter without the candidate’s ‘Registration ID’


1st step: preparation of the required documents and certificates

For your complete application, please prepare the following documents:

  • Letter of Motivation (see advice ‘General notes’ at the end of these guidelines)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Documents related to your Master’s degree
    • title page of your thesis and an abstract
    • copy of MSc certificate
    • copy of MSc transcript (a list of all courses/lectures you took)
  • Documents related to your Bachelor’s degree
    • copy of BSc certificate
    • copy of BSc transcript (a list of all courses/lectures you took
  • Proof of English skills, if possible
  • 2 Reference Letters (consider 2 senior scientists) – further details are found in 4th step.

Optionally you may submit any additional documents which you consider important for your application (e.g. publications, job references, certificates of workshops or awards etc.).

2nd step: arrange these documents into two pdf files

Note that both pdf files must be uploaded during the subsequent online registration process.

1. The 1st file ‘application documents.pdf’ should contain (in the following order and using these file names)

  • Letter of Motivation
  • CV
  • MSc transcript
  • BSc transcript


2. The 2nd file ‘complementing information.pdf’ should contain (in the following order)

  • the title page and abstract of your MSc thesis
    (preliminary information in case the preparation of your thesis is on-going)
  • your MSc certificate (in case not yet available, please include instead an informal note which announces the expected date of completion of your MSc)
  • your BSc certificate
  • if applicable: any additional documents related to your application such as e.g. publications, job references, certificates of workshop, etc.


3rd step: online registration (possible from 1 February)

During the online registration (find the link at the bottom of this page while Call is open) you will need to complete our registration form and upload the required application files (thus, the two pdf files you prepared before - see 2nd step).

We recommend to allow some time for the completion of the registration form as detailed information is requested. Be aware that once you exit the questionnaire, all entries are lost!

Therefore, we suggest that you look at the questionnaire and study all solicited entries before starting to fill it in. Most answers are straight forward and short. However, some points need further elaboration. Perhaps you wish to first prepare more detailed answers off-line using a word processor and then copy/paste text blocks directly into the online form.

Upon successful registration an automated e-mail will be sent to you containing your 6-digit ‘Registration ID’. Please state this ID for any correspondence with IMPRS-ESM as well as in the IMPRS-ESM reference sheet;
unreferenced correspondence will be ignored.


4th step: arrange for two reference letters (submission until 19 March)

To complete your application, two reference letters are required (alway use the IMPRS-ESM template reference sheet).

Download from our website the template reference sheet AND our letter to referees in which we explain our reference request. Add your registration ID and name to the template reference sheet and forward both, template AND letter, to your chosen referees (preferably your former advisors).

A referee shall directly e-mail her/his recommendation to the IMPRS-ESM office:


Attn. Dr. Antje Weitz (Ms.) Opens window for sending



- we will consider those references only that are using our standardised reference sheet;
- both reference letters have to be sent to us directly by the referees via e-mail from their official work account.

Reference letters sent from private accounts as, e.g., Gmail or Yahoo or by yourself cannot be accepted;
- your application can only be processed AFTER we have received the two reference letters.


General notes:

Advice for your ‘Letter of Motivation’ (to be written in English language):

We recommend that you prepare this document very carefully as this is a crucial component in the selection process! Apart from a brief, general introduction of yourself and your academic interests you should elaborate on:

  • your motivation for aiming to do PhD research
  • your reasons for choosing IMPRS-ESM in Hamburg for your advanced studies
  • the research topic(s) in which you are interested

Language of your academic documents:
Application documents that are neither in German nor English must be accompanied by a translation into one of these two languages (please note that the 'Letter of Motivation' must be written in English). In this very first stage of application to the IMPRS-ESM, unofficial translations serve well. However, upon admission to our doctoral program and for registration as PhD candidate at the University of Hamburg officially certified translations are required.


Please allow yourself enough time to submit your application and do not wait until the last moment as technical difficulties or other problems might occur. The application period is also a busy time for us - therefore we are not always able to answer immediately.