PhD & Postdoc Program

Join the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS) as a PhD student!

Explore the program

The ELLIS PhD Program supports excellent young researchers from all over the world by connecting them to leading scientists in machine learning and modern AI across Europe, and by offering a variety of networking and training activities, including summer schools and workshops. Candidates can reach many labs in Europe with only a single application and get access to a wide range of research fields related to modern AI!

PhD and Postdoc program

The ELLIS PhD and Postdoc program focuses on excellence in research, fosters international collaboration and builds strong ties with local industry while supporting its candidates through networking and training activities such as bootcamps, summer schools and workshops. The program spreads knowledge effectively via a dedicated mobility fund that supports long- and short-term visits in the network.

PhDs and postdocs in the program benefit from joint supervision by leading scientists of the ELLIS Society. During their degree pursuit under the guidance of the main advisor at the participating institution, individuals are encouraged to engage in collaboration. as they spend a minimum of six months conducting research either at an international laboratory or with an industry partner, with the option to also consider local opportunities.

ELLIS faculty can nominate excellent PhDs and postdocs to join the program, and students looking to start a PhD in machine-learning-driven fields can apply centrally once a year in the fall. The centralised selection process will serve as a single entry point for the world’s brightest young academics to start ML-related graduate studies in Europe.

There is a yearly central call for applications in the fall, which will be announced at Nomination to the program is possible year-round. Acceptance to the program is competitive. For reference, about 5-10% of candidates are accepted via the yearly central recruiting round.

Visit for the latest updates and more information on how to apply.

Interdisciplinary Track

A special Interdisciplinary track has been integrated into the ELLIS PhD program. This initiative guarantees the attraction of PhD students interested in exploring pivotal topics pertinent to ELIAS and more specifically sustainability. The interdisciplinary track aims to foster successful collaborations between Machine learning/AI research fields and those traditionally unrelated to it such as law, biology, social sciences & humanities. PhD students will be jointly supervised by an ELLIS Fellow/scholar and a tenured researcher whose expertise is not strongly associated with machine learning/AI. Both advisors may be located in the same university/city or in a different country across Europe. This new opportunity will allow the students in this program to develop a broader perspective on AI and equip them with complementary skills.

Mobility Program

The mobility programme will permit PhD students to visit another academic site or a company in Europe to expose the visitor to complementary expertise or real-world problems. While this programme does not cover travel expenses linked to workshops or conferences attendance, a special call will open for an ELLIS Doctoral Symposium Mobility Grant.

Training Programme

The training programme involving core disciplines of AI and other sciences will be set up to encourage young researchers to acquire the technical background and the ability to leverage interdisciplinarity when pursuing research.

The ELLIS PhD Program has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under ELISE Grant Agreement No. 951847 (2020 – 2024), and is continued with funding from the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under ELIAS grant agreement number 101120237 (2023 – 2027). The program is also expanded by the EU-funded project ELSA under grant agreement number 101070617 (2022 – 2025).