Here is a summary of the program, and the details are explained below.
The core focus of participation will be independent research that is guided by one or more of our faculty. This research will take place over approximately three years and culminate in a doctoral dissertation. In addition to ongoing support from the primary advisor, doctoral candidates benefit from regular interaction with their thesis advisory committee (TAC), a cross-institutional panel that includes three or more IMPRS-IS faculty members.
Our school's research topics range from computer science to control theory, from mechanical engineering to neuroscience, and from mathematics to materials science. To bridge these disparate academic fields and facilitate creative insights, IMPRS-IS scholars complete an annual training program, taught by our faculty and associated faculty, that provides a broad background across all relevant areas of intelligent systems. Scholars may also take courses at both participating universities and are encouraged to join in a wide array of seminars, conferences, retreats, workshops, career-development courses, and social activities.
IMPRS doctoral candidates also have access to a rich palette of professional training. Core activities help integrate newcomers and allow students and faculty to interact and make cross-connections. Supplementary activities provide special training in particular technical topics, such as deep learning, and useful soft skills, such as how to give effective presentations.
Students are supported throughout the program by the dedicated coordination office, as well as by older students, postdocs, and helpful staff at the participating institutions. The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems International Office, the University of Stuttgart Office of International Affairs, and the University of Tübingen Welcome Center and Academic Advisory Office for International Students work in tandem with the IMPRS-IS coordinator to help students smoothly transition into our program. In particular, we guide our students in obtaining the necessary visas, finding short- and long-term housing, identifying career opportunities for partners, arranging childcare, securing health insurance, setting up a bank account, completing administrative forms, and handling any issues that may arise.
Our program is one of over sixty International Max Planck Research Schools run by the Max Planck Society in partnership with various universities and research institutions. IMPRS programs provide an extraordinary framework and working environment for graduate students, and they provide unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research projects and projects that require special equipment.
Cyber Valley is Europe’s largest research cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) with partners from politics, science, business and society. Cyber Valley strengthens research and education in the fields of machine learning, computer vision and robotics as well as the exchange between these scientific disciplines. By promoting the exchange between science and industry, and by fostering start-ups, the technology transfer in this important research field is strengthened. IMPRS-IS is proud to be the official Ph.D. school of Cyber Valley.
Academic and private sector partners are building bridges between curiosity-driven basic research and applied research. The state of Baden-Württemberg, the Max Planck Society with the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen, as well as Amazon, BMW AG, Daimler AG, IAV GmbH, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG are Cyber Valley’s founding partners of this initiative. In 2019, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft also joined Cyber Valley as a partner. The lively exchange between application-oriented industrial research and curiosity-driven academic research will create new impulses for both sides and allows for new collaborative opportunities for our IMPRS-IS Ph.D. researchers.