International Max Planck Research School for Sustainable Metallurgy – From Fundamentals to Engineering Materials (IMPRS SusMet) IMPRS for Sustainable Metallurgy

Updated: 5 days ago
Deadline: There is one application round in September/October each year.;

PhD (Dr-Ing or Dr rer nat)
Doctoral degree or degree awarded by
Ruhr-Universität Bochum or Universität Duisburg-Essen
In cooperation with

Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim/Ruhr
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Universität Duisburg-Essen

Teaching language
  • English

The doctoral programme is conducted entirely in English.

Full-time / part-time
  • full-time
Programme duration
6 semesters
Additional information on beginning, duration and mode of study

Beginning is in January each year or individually later.

Application deadline

There is one application round in September/October each year.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Our structured, three-year doctoral programme, conducted entirely in English, takes an intensive interdisciplinary approach and brings together scientists from across the globe in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region of Germany.

Metallurgy has provided humankind with materials, tools and the associated progress for more than five millennia. It is not only a huge engineering success story but has also become the biggest single industrial environmental burden of our generation. Disruptive innovations are required for alternative reduction processes that convert mineral ores into metals without today’s carbon-based methods that release huge amounts of CO2. SusMet focuses on the exploration of carbon-free sustainable metallurgy, employing hydrogen as reducing agent, direct electroreduction (electrolysis), and plasma synthesis.

Correlated experimental, ab initio and multi-scale techniques are central to our mission:

  • Development and application of advanced simulation techniques to explore and identify the fundamental structures and mechanisms occurring in these materials and their synthesis over all relevant length scales (e.g., cutting-edge ab initio methods, atomistic simulation methods, multi-scale modelling, machine learning)
  • High resolution analysis, monitoring of chemistry, structure and transformations at the atomic scale of buried interfaces and defects by correlated experimental techniques in both space and time (e.g., correlated APT, TEM, FIM, EBIC, EBSD, XPS Kelvin probe microscopy, machine learning augmented analysis techniques)

Course organisation

The curriculum of the IMPRS SusMet contains several scientific and non-scientific elements and a close supervision. The elements of the curriculum bring the community of the SusMet students together. They deepen and extend the scientific knowledge but they also enhance social competences and support the integration of the doctoral students in the scientific community and in Germany.

The SusMet Lectures give insight into the various aspects of modern materials science. There are two basic lectures:

  • Basic materials-related aspects of sustainability
  • Large-scale metallurgical processes

Additionally, there are six advanced lectures, from which the doctoral students select two:

  • Materials science topics of a hydrogen-based economy
  • Sustainable primary synthesis of aluminium and iron: electrolysis, plasma, and direct reduction
  • The role of multi-scale modelling in metallurgical processes and materials sustainability
  • Characterisation techniques for materials: from atomistics to the meso-scale
  • Elementary mechanics and damage processes
  • Component life extension: corrosion, stress-corrosion, abrasion, tribology, and fatigue

Furthermore, there are Welcome Days, the annual retreat, and workshops on specific SusMet-related topics as well as lab exchanges.
Additional non-scientific offerings include soft skill trainings, German language courses, and career development.

A Diploma supplement will be issued
Special promotion / funding of the programme
Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

Approx. 330 EUR per semester

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Funding is offered for three years:

  • at the Max Planck Institutes: TVöD Bund EG 13 65%, about 34,000 EUR gross per year
  • at the Universität Duisburg-Essen: TV-L EG 13 65%, about 34,000 EUR gross per year
  • at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum: scholarship of 1,800 EUR per month

Academic admission requirements

Excellent Master’s degree in materials science, physics or chemistry

We particularly encourage applications from candidates with a computational background.

Language requirements

The applicants must provide a proof of their English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or the equivalent).

Application deadline

There is one application round in September/October each year.

Submit application to

Please apply online:

Structured research and supervision
Research training / discussion
Career advisory service

There is a career development offering.

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Other
Support programmes for international students

The programme coordination and the international offices at the partner institutes give all necessary support in bureaucratic matters and daily life in Germany. You will be supported with visa issues, finding appropriate accommodation, opening a bank account and so on.

There is also close supervision of all PhD projects with at least two supervisors from different departments or partner institutes and regular status meetings with the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC).

Furthermore, there are Welcome Days, soft skill trainings and German language courses.

Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung
© Navyanth Kusampudi

Max Planck Institutes are known worldwide and offer state-of-the-art research facilities. The Max‐Planck‐Institut für Eisenforschung (MPIE) was founded in 1917. Its international team conducts advanced basic materials research related to the fields of mobility, energy, infrastructure, medicine and digitalisation. It focuses on nanostructured metallic materials as well as semiconductors and analyses them down to their atomic and electronic scales. This enables the scientists to develop new, tailor-made structural and functional materials embracing their synthesis, processing, characterisation, and properties as well as their response in engineering components exposed to real operating environments.


The Max‐Planck‐Institut für Eisenforschung and all of our partner institutes are located in the vibrant, culturally rich and diverse Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region of Germany, which is near the Netherlands, the Eifel – a volcanic low mountain range – and other pleasant regions.

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