Graduate Cluster

The CLIB-Graduate Cluster Industrial Biotechnology offered 3-year PhD scholarships in its structured doctoral programme. This joint initiative of Bielefeld University, the TU Dortmund University and the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf was located in NRW, the most populous state of Germany with an excellent research and industrial infrastructure. After an initial funding period from 2009-2012 and a successful external, international evaluation, the Graduate Cluster was granted further funding until 2016. In total, 120 doctoral students have been supported by fellowships, with additional students associated to the program.

Research projects in the graduate cluster span the range of industrial biotechnology, from essential genome analyses via protein expression and biocatalysis to product purification.


Each university has different key competences:

  • Bielefeld University: Polyomics
  • TU Dortmund University: Biocatalysis and Downstream Processing
  • University of Düsseldorf: Expression and Biocatalysis

Polyomics: New technologies for genome- and metagenome analysis are being developed and applied. To-gether with postgenome analyses such as proteomics and metabolomics, they achieve the rational development of production strains or optimise culture conditions. Within the cluster, the ideal infrastructure exists to facilitate interdisciplinary research, combining bioinformatics, molecular biology, biochemistry and biotechnology.

Expression: Protein expression is being optimised with advanced methods such as metabolomics and meta-bolic flux simulations. Molecular biology plays an important role in creating new expression systems and optimising protein secretion or cell surface display.

Biocatalysis: This focus aims at optimising the biotechnological synthesis of intermediates for complex chemical molecules either with isolated enzymes or with whole cells. Chemists, biologists and bioengineers collaborate to develop new and efficient biocatalysts.

Downstream Processing: Innovative technologies for downstream processing, for example separation mechanisms for biotechnological products, are being developed. Biochemical and chemical engineers work on new methods to analyse reaction mixtures, to purify products and on scale-up towards the industrial-scale production.