Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What should I have studied?

The Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin offers a great variety of (neuro-)scientific disciplines amongst its researchers. Please, see our list of Principal Investigators (PIs) to learn about the full academic spectrum covered by the Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin! We are looking for students interested in all aspects of neuroscience. To participate in our Einstein Training Program, we recommend an M.Sc. or equivalent degree in one of the following subjects:

  • cognitive sciences, e.g.
    • neurolinguistics
    • cognitive neuroscience
    • psychiatry
    • psychology
  • life sciences, e.g.
    • (epi-)genetics
    • (neuro-)biology
    • medicine
    • molecular biology
    • neurology
    • neurosciences
    • pharmacology
  • natural sciences, e.g.
    • (bio-)chemistry
    • (bio-)informatics
    • mathematics
    • (bio-)physics
    • philosophy


Do I have to finish my Master's degree before I can successfully apply for your scholarship?

No, you do not. Your Master´s thesis can still be ongoing during your application. However, you must have finished all requirements of your university (thesis, exams, etc.) until September 30, 2023. You can submit your M.Sc. certificate later.


What does a scholarship cover?

The tax-free scholarship amounts to 1.800 € per month during the lab rotations and the first months of the PhD project. It will be paid from October 1st, 2023 until September 30th, 2024.

Health insurance has to be covered by the scholarship recipient, as well as or university enrolment fees (currently about €300 per semester).


Which graduate program will I be affiliated with?

Depending on the choice of the final lab, you will be affiliated with one of the following programs:

- Berlin School of Mind and Brain

- Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin

- International Graduate Program Medical Neurosciences


In which research group can I do my PhD thesis?

In all research groups that are members of the ECN consortium. A list can be found here: list of ECN-PIs

Questions regarding the application via the portal

Which documents do I need to supply?

You need to submit the following documents as PDF files:

  1. a CV
  2. the email addresses of at least two referees
  3. an overview about your research experience
  4. Bachelor's degree
  5. your most current transcript
  6. proof of proficiency in English for non-native speakers (see below “Proof of proficiency in English for non-native speakers”)


What do you mean by “workgroups” in the Motivation and interests section?

In the motivation and interests section, we would like you to name three of the ECN principal investigators/labs (workgroups) you would generally be interested in. This is not a decision for a lab for the rotations nor the PhD. It is just so we can better judge your interests. The PIs/workgroups can be found here.


Do I need to supply a letter of motivation/interest and what should it include?

Yes, you do need to supply a letter of motivation/interest including the below mentioned points. However, you will not be asked to upload it as a PDF file. There will be a text field within the application portal, limiting the length of the letter of motivation/interest to max. 3.500 characters.

The motivation letter should also include a short description of your academic and research interests, and also state why you want to come to Berlin and the ECN. Additionally, please discuss why openness in science (e.g. open data, open innovation, open access…) might or might not be important for scientific progress.


Research experience

We don’t have a strict limitation on the length of the research experience. Please keep in mind that we will have very many excellent applications and jurors will have limited time to read and evaluate each application. Most people therefore write 1–2 pages.


What does “research experience” mean?

Your research experience describes what research projects you conducted in the past (e.g. during internships, B.Sc. or M.Sc. thesis), what methods you learned and what conclusions you drew. Additional files can be uploaded. If applicable, please upload the proof of proficiency in English as “additional file”.


Do I need to select possible supervisors for my PhD project to apply for the Einstein Training Program?

No, you do not. From November 2023 until at least April 2024 you will have three two-months long laboratory rotations. Each of these rotations is at least two months long. After your third rotation you will chose your first supervisor and your PhD project. Until fall 2024 you can chose your remaining two supervisors to complete your supervision committee.


Can I apply for both, the ECN PhD Fellowship program and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain Fellowship program?

Yes, you can. After registration for both programmes, the application processes for both programmes will appear in your profile. You can process them independently.


Do I need a GRE (or similar)?

No. We do not believe in standardized tests (and this belief is backed up by scientific analyses). E.g. the GRE only shows how “white” and how male you are. Not your capacity to finish a PhD. On top, it is only suitable for students living in the U.S. not for students from all the other countries of the world.


Can I apply without a Master’s certificate?

Yes, if you are currently enrolled in a Master's program (see next question). No, if you are not.


I did not finish my Master’s program yet. Should I apply with the Master's information or the Bachelor's?

Please submit your B.Sc. certificate and your most current M.Sc. transcript. Fill your GPA from your B.Sc.


Will I need recommendation letters?

No, you do not need recommendation letters, but you do need references. Please provide us with at least two post and email addresses of potential referees. Once you submit your application, the referees will automatically receive an e-mail asking them to give their opinion about you. They can fill out an online form within our application portal until January 22nd, 2023.

It would be very advisable to inform your potential referees that they will receive an email from us on January 15th, 2023 at the latest, which contains a request for a reference and a personalized link to our application portal.


Proof of proficiency in English for non-native speakers

You have to provide a proof of proficiency in English not older than twelve months, through TOEFL, IELTS or equivalent (see list below)*. If you are an English native speaker OR the main language of your study program was English** you do not need to provide a language test. In order to prove your proficiency in English, the following certificates will be accepted:

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (grade “B” or higher)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (grade “C” or higher)
  • ECPE (score 750 or higher)
  • IELTS Academic (6 or higher)
  • TOEFL-iBT (score 80 or higher)
  • TOEFL-PBT (score 550 or higher)
  • CEF (C1 or higher)
  • UNIcertF (level III or higher)


* We also accept registrations for English proficiency tests if the final test results will be sent to ECN-Application@charite.de until February 19th, 2023.

** It must be stated on your transcript/certificate that the teaching language is English. Of course, this is not necessary if English is the official language of the country in which you studied.



All applicants must submit an English translation of their transcripts. We accept English-language translations provided by certified translators with knowledge of educational records and terminology. Since German is the official language in Germany, we do also accept documents from German institutions in German.

Questions about the application process

I want to apply for the Fast-track PhD. Where can I do this?

It is not possible to apply for the Fast-track PhD this year. This part of our program is currently under evaluation. It will be reinstated in a different form later.


I already started my PhD project in one of the workgroups affiliated with the ECN and want to apply for an association with the ECN. What shall I do?

The application process for the association with the ECN is independent from our application portal. You will receive a note from your PI when you can apply. However, if your application is successful you will give a talk and have an interview at our Selection Symposium taking place March 28th/29th, 2023.


What are the next steps of the application process?

The following dates are preliminary. Changes might occur depending on the amount of applications we receive:


Portal closing

January 15, 2023

Submission deadline for referees

January 22, 2023

Possible remote interviews

February 20 – March 3, 2023

Possible invitations for Selection Symposium   

March 13, 2023

Selection Symposium

March 28/29, 2023


Will every applicant get invited to the Selection Symposium?

No, our selection process contains several steps, after which the number of remaining candidates will be reduced.

After evaluating all applications by our reviewers, about 10-20% of the applicants will be invited for the remote interviews. From those, about 50% will be invited to join the Selection Symposium.


Will the Selection Symposium be on-site or virtual?

It will be virtual.


When is the application phase for the next round of fellowships?

The application deadline for the upcoming seventh cohort of ECN PhD Fellows (starting their studies in fall 2023) will be January 15th, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. CET. The Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin is committed to providing a limited number of PhD Fellowships every year to aspiring national and international scientists. The application portal will open again on December 1st, 2023 and close on January 14th, 2024 for a program start in fall 2024.


Can I apply again, if I was rejected the year before?

Yes, you are welcome to apply again.


Why did I not receive the verification email?

This is a problem mostly googlemail and me.com users will face. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons gmail/googlemail and yahoo.com block our emails. Try to verify your email address from within our application portal! Me.com blocks all emails coming from unknown users. To receive emails from us you must change your me.com account settings.


I entered my personal data and verified my email address, but I cannot proceed with my application. What shall I do?

Please tick the red “Apply” button with the checkmark behind!


My referee(s) did not receive an email requesting a recommendation. What shall I do?

Please ask them to check their spam filters!


My referee(s) could not open the link for their recommendation. What shall they do?

Some email programs do not allow opening a link from within an email. Please tell your referee(s) to copy the link and paste it into their browser! If this does not work, your referee(s) should ask for help via an email to ECN-Application@charite.de.

Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.

Postal Address

Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin
Charitéplatz 1
D-10117 Berlin

Campus Address

Charité Campus Mitte
Neuroscience Research Center
Hufelandweg 14
Level 01, room 020

Get in touch

You can find contact persons and telephone numbers on our contact page

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