Your Postdoc at the Institute

The Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence (MPI-BI) aims to recruit highly qualified scientists to pursue postdoctoral positions across a variety of research topics within the institute. As a community, we are an international group of interdisciplinary scientists based at one of our two campuses (in Seewiesen or in Martinsried), just outside of Munich. The postdoc community is loosely organized by an internal group of postdoc representatives that fosters communication both within our institute as well as with other institutes throughout Germany. We aim to provide everyone with the best postdoc experience possible, and care about your scientific development as well as your personal health and social life. We are constantly striving to make the postdoc experience at MPI-BI better so please feel free to email the postdoc representatives with feedback or if you want to get more involved.


How to Apply for a Postdoc at MPI-BI?


We encourage all prospective postdocs to contact group leaders and department heads directly if you are interested in pursuing a postdoc position in a particular area of study. You can find an overview of all groups and research areas here.

There is no centralized webpage for postdoctoral job postings, but many opportunities are also provided on the individual lab websites. If no jobs are explicitly listed, you can still express your interest in pursuing a postdoctoral position and may also consider applying for a postdoctoral fellowship within a lab. A non-exhaustive list of postdoctoral fellowships is provided in the section below. Applying for such opportunities should be discussed with your designated group leader/department head beforehand.

Employment Contracts, Salary and External Funding


Postdocs coming to the institute can either be employed as an MPIBI employee or via external funds (e.g. by receiving a fellowship).

Paid contract

The Max Planck Society (MPG) is a publicly funded organization. Therefore, all scientific staff receive a contract according to the wage agreement for the public sector (TVöD Bund = Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst).

Postdocs are generally classified in the E13 category (Entgeltgruppe), which comprises multiple different pay levels (Stufen from 1 to 6) based on prior relevant experience. With the average work experience of a PhD, postdocs usually start at the E13 level Stufe 3, however, other levels (Stufen) can be negotiated on an individual case basis. Once a category and level are assigned, an employee will stay in that level for a given number of years before being automatically upgraded to the next level. Proof of relevant experience should be provided via documents such as previous work contracts, professional degrees, and references. The institute’s HR Department and your designated group leader/department head will help you with questions regarding the recognition of references or the possible pay level you may receive.

The pay scale for each level (gross monthly income) can be found e.g. via this website (in German). Importantly, the corresponding net income will depend on a number of other factors such as marriage, number of dependents, etc.

Traditionally, postdocs receive 2-year temporary fixed-term (Befristet) contracts that can then be prolonged if both parties agree. The term “temporary” here simply indicates a non-permanent position, which is in contrast to long-term employment. It is typical for the first contract to include a six-weeks trial period during which the contract can be terminated without reason by either side, if desired. In addition, there is a limit for the total duration of employment under these temporary contracts according to the German Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act (Wissenschaftzeitvertragsgesetz or WissZeitVG), which is currently under reform. For more information on the Act and the employment times that are taken into account, please refer to this website (in German).


It is important to note that not all of the fellowships listed here accommodate a contractual agreement with MPI-BI. In some of these cases, social benefits (e.g. health insurance or unemployment insurance) must be taken care of by the researcher themselves. Please reach out to HR for further questions and clarification. Please note, that the list below is non-exhaustive.

  • European Molecular Biology Organization Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Marie Skodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF)
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers
  • Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • DFG Research Grant


Career Development, Networking, and Mentoring


The MPI-BI provides an excellent network for postdocs to develop new skills, broaden their network and receive mentorship from established group leaders.

On a regular basis, the institute’s postdocs get the opportunity to participate in workshops (everything from improving your coding skills to project management) free of charge. The institute also organizes events to help postdocs navigate their next career steps in academia or industry. Follow this link for more information. An MPI-BI mentoring program also connects postdocs with young group leaders from the institute. In a casual setting, our postdocs can chat with them about their career path along with various tips, projects and more. These events take place on both campuses and a shuttle is provided specifically for transport between the two locations.

Among other events, the seminars and lectures organized by the institute are a good opportunity to meet with members of the other groups at the institute and to talk to experts of different research fields. Finally, the "Emerging Scientist Series" invites external postdocs to present their research while providing the opportunity to meet with our faculty and other institute members.

Moving to Germany and Living in Munich


An integral part of the MPI-BI is our International Office (IO), which aims to provide postdocs and other researchers from abroad with a smooth and fast transition to Germany and the institute. The IO will assist you with issues concerning a visa and related documents, residence permits and housing, as well as other items and contacts that will allow you to get settled and concentrate on your work as quickly as possible.

Renting an apartment can be quite expensive in Munich and it might take some time and effort to find a suitable place to live when you first arrive. However, for MPI-BI employees there are a number of resources to help you! Guestrooms on both campuses can host you for the first couple of months. To find a more permanent solution, our colleagues at the IO have access to many current apartment offers, including those that are exclusively for MPI-BI employees.

Postdocs with Families


For postdocs with families, the institute and MPG offer many great resources to support them in their everyday life. Both institute locations provide a parent-child room equipped with plenty of child entertainment and a workspace to facilitate working efficiency when on-site work and child care have to be juggled at the same time. There are also two child-care facilities in Martinsried and numerous other avenues of support for you and your family while working on site or e.g. travelling to a conference. Check out this site for further details.

Further Benefits


There are many resources and advantages for postdocs and other scientists working at the MPI-BI. For example, there are an institute pension scheme (VBL), subsidy for an MVV (Munich transit authority) public transport job ticket, and workplace accident insurance. An active company health management provides health and sports opportunities on campus (e.g. sports groups, boulder wall, tennis courts) and has teamed up with a company fitness network (Wellpass as of 2023) that gives access to over 250 sport partners in Munich (more than 6,500 partners all over Germany) with just one membership. Munich itself also offers significant recreational value with many cultural highlights and a close proximity to nature and the Bavarian alps.

Equal Opportunities, Code of Conduct, and Conflict Resolution


At the MPI-BI, our goal is to foster a culture in which all employees can live and work together in an open, non-discriminatory and respectful atmosphere. We have developed an ambitious gender equality plan, which elaborates on goals and measures aimed at embedding gender equality thinking within the institute. Please find more about how the institute aims to implement the principle of equality and equal treatment on this page. The core values of the institute and the Max Planck Society are also summarized in our Code of Conduct.

However, in the unfortunate case that conflicts do arise at the institute, there are various mechanisms of protection. The institute provides various ways and contact partners to report to or to talk confidentially about work-related or personal problems. These include, among others, contacts when witnessing or being target of scientific misconduct, sexism, discrimination, other conflicts or misconducts, or if you need counselling for mental health issues. The services are in person, by telephone or video call and are provided by the institute or external partners. They are free of charge and available in German, English or other languages, if needed.

We are committed to ensuring a safe and fair working environment for all employees, which, of course, also includes our postdocs!



Postdoc Community

MPG PostdocNet
The official postdoc network of the Max Planck Society aims to collectively improve the working conditions and careers of postdocs working at all institutes. Each institute has a PostdocNet representative that can relay information back to the community. more
Munich Postdoc Network
The Munich Postdoc Network aims to connect postdocs working at various institutions in the Munich area and to create a collaborative environment to improve the postdoc experience. more
Go to Editor View