The CLIB-Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” is an outstanding doctoral program offering industry-oriented education. Education of the scholars’ takes place in close agreement with research projects supported by CLIB2021 and it allows a joint education of the scholars from different locations, supervised by three universities and industrial companies.

In April 2009, the innovative structured doctorate program CLIB-Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” started as a joint initiative of the three universities Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Technische Universität Dortmund and Bielefeld University. The program is embedded into the Cluster Industrial Biotechnology CLIB2021 and based on the four technology platforms PolyOmics, Expression, Biocatalysis and Downstream processing that are established at the three universities. This structure enables a direct transfer of knowledge between universities and industry and advances the interdisciplinary work of the technology platforms. In January 2013 a second period of funding started. The CLIB Graduate Cluster of Industrial Biotechnology will offer again 12 positions at each location from April 2013.


The CLIB Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” represents a structured PhD program that offers PhD studies in English language for students with excellent qualifications. The program is characterized by two key aspects that distinguish this program from other well known graduate schools: (1) the education of the scholars takes place in close agreement to the research projects supported by CLIB2021 (2) the CLIB Graduate Cluster allows a common education of the scholars across locations, supervised by the three universities and participating biotechnological companies. This advancement enables a direct transfer of knowledge and of persons between university and industry, working against the absence of specialists in the field of natural and engineering sciences. The competitive advantage of the CLIB Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” is therefore the industrial orientation and the close relationship to member companies of CLIB2021.

Thematically, the CLIB Graduate Cluster is based on the four CLIB associated technology platforms.

  • Polyomics – under the scientific supervision of Prof. Volker Wendisch, Prof. Karsten Niehaus & Prof. Alfred Pühler, Universität Bielefeld
  • Expression – under the scientific supervision of Prof. Karl-Erich Jaeger, Universität Düsseldorf
  • Biocatalysis – under the scientific supervision of Prof. Andreas Schmid, Technische Universität Dortmund and Prof. Jörg Pietruszka, Universität Düsseldorf
  • Downstream Processing - under the scientific supervision of Prof. Gerhard Schembecker, Technische Universität Dortmund


The CLIB-Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” at the Center for Biotechnology (CeBiTec) at the Bielefeld University was initiated by Prof. A. Pühler and Prof. K. Niehaus and now is continued by Prof. Dr. Volker Wendisch.
The scientific branch realized at the CeBiTec, PolyOmics, is headed by Dr. J. Kalinowski and includes the development of new technologies for genome and post genome research. The scholars of the CLIB-Graduate Cluster in Bielefeld have the opportunity to perform projects applying modern instruments of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and bioinformatics in the fields of genome and post-genome research. In addition to the 40 funded scholars, up to now 13 doctoral students that are financed by means of other industrial relevant projects are associated to the program.
During the 3-year program, the doctoral students complete their research project and additionally participate in an individual study program where they further qualify by the collection of (30) credit points. For this purpose they have access to exclusive courses for students of the CLIB-Graduate Cluster, like lab courses at the three Universities and courses in innovation management and patent law organized by the central coordinator. Furthermore, the students have the opportunity to take part in key qualification courses including scientific writing and presentation skills. All courses within the CLIB-Graduate Cluster are given in English. To keep the faculty informed about the project’s progress, each student has to write a progress report twice a year and to give oral and poster presentations on the regularly organized retreats. Following the intention to prepare the students also for future positions in industry, the participants of the program get the opportunity of a 3-month practical industrial training e.g. in CLIB2021 member companies.

A strong ambition exists to establish the program on a long term perspective to further jointly work against the skill shortage. Obviously the competitive advantage of the Graduate Cluster “Industrial Biotechnology” is the industrial orientation and the close link to CLIB2021 member companies.