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CSC-Tübingen PhD Program: Project 01/2024:
Comparative morphology, ultrastructure and function of the postabdomen of beetle larvae (Coleoptera)

Topic Description: The abdominal apex (postabdomen) of beetle larvae comprises the last three segments. They differ from the more anterior segments, because they are involved in locomotion, sensing, cocoon spinning, defense and / or respiration. Major developments of the postabdomen involve the transformation of segment 10 into a pygopod (a special attachment organ) and the development of terminal urogomphi (pseudocerci) (often used as movable “pseudoantennae”). Moreover, the postabdomen often comprises gland structures that release a secretion for defense or cocoon building. This project involves the comparative investigation of the ultrastructure of the postabdomen across beetle taxa using transmission and scanning electron microscopy, 3D reconstructions based on histological section series and functional observational studies using videography.

Faculty: Faculty of Science
Institute/Section/Subject: Evolution and Ecology / Evolutionary Biology of Invertebrates
Supervising Professors: Prof. Dr. Oliver Betz

About the Supervisors: The research of Oliver Betz focuses on the functional and ecological morphology of insects, taking into account the integration of morphology and ecology to improve the understanding of the function of morphological structures in their ecological (environment) and evolutionary (history) context. Through his participation in interdisciplinary research projects (e.g., the collaborative research council "Biological design and integrative structures - analysis, simulation and implementation in architecture" (, his team has also been involved in biomimetic projects on insect attachment systems and joint-free movement principles. Methodologically, his group uses light and (scanning and transmission) electron mircoscopy, synchrotron microtomography and synchrotron-based X-ray cineradiography, 3D reconstruction, force measurements with force transducers and nanotribometers, high-speed videography in the context of kinematic analyses, behavioral observations, phylogenetic systematics, and ecological field and laboratory experiments.

Degree: Dr. rer. nat.; will be embedded in our structured doctoral program EVEREST: Evolution and Ecology Research School Tübingen:

Requirements for the application:
Required Degrees: Master of Science, Areas of expertise: zoology, entomology
Language Requirements: TOEFL iBT 95
Willingness to work in an electron microscopic lab and learn about entomological techniques. The PhD will require much effort in (ultra-)microtomic serial sectioning including fixation of fresh samples, staining, cutting and working with SEM and TEM (microscopes). Adult beetles will have to be collected in the field and reared in the lab to attain the larvae needed for further investigations.

For further instructions on how to apply, more information on the program and contact details please see below.


CSC-Tübingen PhD Program
The China Scholarship Council (CSC) and the University of Tübingen have established a PhD Program which supports Chinese nationals inside and outside of China wishing to carry out all or part of their PhD study in Tübingen.


  • providing high quality research training to qualified students from Chinese universities
  • developing education and research collaborations between the University of Tübingen and Chinese universities and research institutions

Target group:
Excellent postgraduate and doctoral students from the People's Republic of China.

Funding line A - Full time fellowship:
  • postgraduate students who want to carry out their complete doctoral studies at the University of Tübingen
  • up to 48 months
  • degree conferred by the University of Tübingen
  • Annual living allowance as prescribed by the Chinese Government (which includes Overseas Student Health Cover)

Funding Line B - Part time fellowship (sandwich model):
  • doctoral students who want to carry out their research and studies alternatively at their home universities and the University of Tübingen. They follow a schedule set in advance by both the Chinese supervisors and supervisors at the University of Tübingen
  • 6-24 months in Tübingen
  • degree conferred by the Chinese home university
  • Annual living allowance as prescribed by the Chinese Government (which includes Overseas Student Health Cover) for 6-24 months

Funding for both Funding lines includes:
  • Return airfare to Germany
  • Visa application fees
  • Support for the attendance of international conferences during the second and third year (up to 1000€ granted to successful applicants)

Benefits for both funding lines:
  • Tuition waiver
  • Option to take German language classes provided by the University of Tübingen during the first year
  • Accommodation offered in Tübingen student dormitories depending on availability
  • Opportunities to gain additional teaching and research experience as well as economic benefits from the University of Tübingen from the second year onward (depending on the ability of the applicant and the situation of the respective institute)

Application Process:
  • Jan 15: Application deadline. Applications must be handed in through the online application system of the University of Tübingen
  • by March 10: Successful applicants will be officially informed
  • by March 31: Invited applicants have to register with the CSC according to the regulations of the CSC.
  • by May 31: Final decisions about the allocation of scholarships will be made by the CSC
  • by Oct 1: Program participants arrive in Tübingen
  • Successful candidates must return to China upon completion of their studies.

How to Apply:
In order to apply you need to upload the following documents combined in 1 PDF
  • Cover/Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Research proposal (3-5 pages)
  • Academic transcripts* (if you have not yet completed your Master's studies, please submit a confirmation of studies and an up-to-date transcript of records)
  • Proof of proficient English language skills (i.e. comprehension of a wide range of demanding, longer texts as well as fluent and spontaneous expression allowing a flexible and effective language use for social, academic and professional purposes.) - TOEFL iBT 95 or IELTS 6.5 or equivalent

*List of required Academic transcripts (including official translation into German or English for documents issued in Chinese)
1) Bachelor’s Degree Award Certificate / Bachelor Gradverleihungsurkunde (学士学位证书 xueshi xuewei zhengshu)
2) Bachelor's Degree Certificate/ Abschlusszeugnis (毕业证书 biye zhengshu) für das Bachelorstudium (本科 benke)
3) Transcript of the subjects and marks / Fächer- und Notenübersicht (成绩表 chengjibiao) for your Bachelor’s degree/ für das Bachelorstudium (本科 benke)
4) Master’s Degree Award Certificate / Master-Gradverleihungsurkunde (硕士学位证书 shuoshi xuewei zhengshu)
5) Master’s Degree Certificate/ Abschlusszeugnis für das Masterstudium (硕士研究生毕业证书 shuoshi yanjiusheng biye zhengshu)
6) Transcript of the subjects and marks for your Master’s Degree / Fächer- und Notenübersicht für das Masterstudium (硕士研究生成绩表 shuoshi yanjiusheng chengjibiao)

For questions please contact:
(Ms) Tetyana Tonkoshkur
Dezernat II – Forschung
Internationale Forschungskooperation
+49 7071 29-750005
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