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In May 2006, the University of Cologne established an international, broadly based graduate school in the biological sciences. Centred on the molecular analysis of biological processes, the scientific base of the programme is broad, providing students with opportunities for training in fields ranging from ecology and evolution to medicine, and including all of the major microbial, plant and animal model organisms. Based on a phase of systematic experimentation in previous, small-scale graduate programmes in which we have developed and tested methods for an improved graduate training, we developed a structured programme, building on the extensive experience and infrastructure from the existing programmes. A large variety of specified graduate programmes is partially unified under the GSfBS umbrella and a core programme is available for all graduate students in all areas of biology.

The School is supported by a selective, international English language Research Track Masters/Doctoral Programme, which is in place since winter semester 2006/07. It fosters the excellent scientific connections between research groups in the medical and basic science research institutes in the University and the Max Planck Institutes for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ), for Biology of Ageing, for Metabolism Research and exploits them for the benefit of the graduates.