University of Melbourne – University of Bonn: Call for joint PhD project proposals

Critical Dates

5 July 2023

Call for joint PhD proposals opens

25 September 2023 3PM AEDT (Melbourne)

Applications due

Mid- November 2023

Results released

*PLEASE NOTE: Applicants from ABP, please contact for additional EOI steps.


The University of Melbourne and the University of Bonn have supported research collaboration through several initiatives, recruiting over 50 joint PhD candidates and funding several collaborative research projects to date. In 2023, the Universities are seeking to expand on these opportunities through a University-wide call for joint PhD projects. Applications are invited, and encouraged, from all faculties and research areas.

Up to six joint PhD projects will be funded across three separate pairs of Principal Investigators (PIs), comprising one PI from Melbourne and one from Bonn. Each of these PI pairs will receive funding to support two joint PhD candidates, plus additional seed funding to support collaborative activities. Candidates and supervisors will join the established community of the Bonn–Melbourne joint PhD programs, offering opportunities to deepen and enrich their research networks.

Joint PhD candidates are enrolled at both institutions, perform their research under joint supervision, and are graded according to the academic standards of both institutions. Upon successful completion of the program, each candidate will be eligible to receive a joint PhD, recognised by two testamurs acknowledging the joint nature of the award.

This call for joint PhD project proposals is open to applications from academic supervisors only. If you are a prospective candidate interested in applying for a joint PhD, please refer to the information available here.

Eligibility criteria

See Guidelines (under 'Supporting Documents') for full eligibility requirements.

The supervisory team must consist of at least two Principal Investigators (PIs), one from Melbourne and one from Bonn. The PIs must have capacity to serve as primary supervisors for two jointly enrolled PhD candidates.

Previous Bonn – Melbourne Research Excellence Fund recipients and applicants are eligible to apply.


Melbourne academics must be registered to supervise as per the Supervisor Eligibility and Registration Policy and should be employed at Melbourne beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2028). If their employment contract does not extend beyond the submission date, alternative arrangements must be in place (see guidelines/application form).

Honorary employees whose primary academic affiliation is with the University of Melbourne are eligible to lead an application as a PI if they are a registered Principal Supervisor at Melbourne, and either:

  1. Their primary employer has entered into a written agreement for this call, using the provided approval form, to fund the Melbourne cash component of the collaborative activity; or
  2. They participate at their own expense if they are otherwise unaffiliated (for example, they hold an emeritus position).

Melbourne academics must not have outstanding Progress Reports or Final Reports from any other University of Melbourne Researcher Development Scheme.

Bonn academics

Bonn academics must be authorized to act as primary supervisor for PhD candidates according to the relevant regulations of the respective faculties. The primary supervisors should be employed at Bonn beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2028). If their employment contract does not extend beyond the submission date, then alternative arrangements must be in place, by either having:

  1. A named co-supervisor at Bonn beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2028); or
  2. A letter of support from the respective Head of Institute, speaker of excellence cluster, or Bonn International Graduate School detailing the arrangements in place to ensure continuity of supervision.
Additional notes for all applicants

Additional colleagues (including other partners in Australia, Germany, or internationally) are not eligible to apply as PIs, although they can participate in the co-supervision of joint PhD candidates at their own cost. However, involvement of shared external partners that benefit the project, for example through translation support or providing internship opportunities, are encouraged.


Up to three proposals will be funded, with each application supporting two joint PhD projects. Together, the candidates recruited to these projects will form a 2024 cohort of six jointly enrolled candidates. The successful PIs will also receive seed funding to support the growth in collaborative activity.

See Guidelines (under 'Funding') for an overall summary of funding for each project.

How to apply

  1. Review the Guidelines

    Please review the guidelines before the submission.

  2. Submit the application

    PIs from UoM and Bonn should submit one joint application, in English, via SmartyGrants by Monday 25 September 2023 3PM AEDT (Melbourne) Applications should be written in English and for an audience proficient, but not expert.

    All Melbourne PIs must ensure that the Head of Department/School and Associate Dean (Graduate Research) endorsement is attached to the application using the approval forms provided on the Researcher Development Schemes website. Melbourne applicants who hold an Honorary position must also complete the Honorary declaration form.

  3. If the application involves a PI from Melbourne's Faculty of Arts, the approval forms must be provided in addition to the supporting statement on how the candidates will be the Faculty’s PhD coursework requirement.

Supporting documents

Bonn-UoM Open call Joint PhD Guidelines

Melbourne -Bonn PhD SmartyGrant Application form  2023

Information for Supervisors - Graduate Research Hub

HoD and Associate Dean (Graduate Research) approval forms

Honorary declaration form


Melbourne contact
Bonn contact

Researcher Development Schemes team

Research, Innovation & Commercialisation

The University of Melbourne

Dr. Christian Klöckner

Partnerships and International Researchers

International Office

University of Bonn