Doing a PhD at the CIG


The integrative nature of the CIG, harboring 15 research teams – using different model organisms and a wide variety of technologies in exploring the mechanisms and laws that rule within the fields of molecular biology, genetics and genomics – as well as its location in the immediate vicinity of other first rate research institutions (EPFL, CHUV, ISREC) make the center an excellent place to study the biological sciences. Not only its proximity to research and intellectual resources contribute to making it a premier centre, the CIG is also an exceptionally attractive place to study and work for other reasons: the institute is not only located in a stunningly beautiful natural environment (with sailing, skiing and hiking opportunities) but benefits from the rich cultural life of Lausanne and Geneva.

A PhD training: an essential step towards a science career

The CIG is committed to the success of its doctoral students and heavily invests in the training of tomorrow’s scientists. To promote a high level of student achievement, the faculty and administration take an active role in mentoring and supervising the students. All PhD students at the CIG belong to the doctoral school of the UNIL Faculty of Biology and Medicine (FBM), which determines the program and sets the rules of PhD studies.

* PhD students are integrated in one of the CIG groups, to pursue a research project in the laboratory. Doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral fellows, actively participate in seminars and journal clubs, organized by the individual groups, allowing them the opportunity to present their work (thereby training their presentation skills) and discuss their research project with other lab members.

* PhD students at the CIG benefit from a mentoring program. Through this program, each student is assigned to a mentor, in general a faculty member working in a different field than the one pursued by the student. This mentor is available for scientific or non-scientific discussions and advice.

* The CIG has been instrumental in launching the StarOmics program, an inter-institutional program funded by the “Conférence  Universitaire de Suisse Occidentale “ (CUSO), offering a wide variety of courses and study programs to PhD students.

* Modern Biology and a fortiori the fields of molecular genetics and genomics rely more and more on computational techniques for the analysis of large data sets and students and scientists alike have to acquire the necessary skills to meet those challenges. To that end, the CIG has established a new thematic doctoral program, entitled “Integrated Experimental and Computational Biology” (IECB). This program is integrated within the FBM doctoral school and has become established through support of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics. Students within this program can also apply to the “Fund for Research and Education in Genetics” for funding to participate in an international conference or course.

* The CIG seminars program brings every week leading scientists from all over the world to Lausanne, presenting their work and/or commenting on the latest progress within their field and discussing with interested PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.

Doing a Postdoc at the CIG

Over the years, the number of postdoctoral fellows at the CIG has considerably increased and their expertise has been one of the main factors that contribute to the success of individual research groups and to the worldwide fame of the institute. Several initiatives have been launched and are implemented to provide support to postdocs and offer them the best chances for a successful career development. For example, following advice from the CIG Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), an “ombudsman for postdoctoral fellows” has been appointed, offering advice and support in all issues that may arise during a postdoctoral training. The CIG is proud that Prof. Jacques Dubochet, Professor emeritus (UNIL) 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry, has taken up this function for many years and has substantially contributed to the enrichment of the “Life of a postdoc” at the institute, thanks to his broad background in sciences.