Skip to main content

Funding opportunities

Multiple funding opportunities for researchers and students are available in Germany

Funding opportunities in Germany are as diverse as the research landscape itself. Existing programmes, among others, are intended for Master students and/or PhD students, PhDs and Postdocs, or Junior Group Leaders. Possible carrier institutions are e.g. the industry or foundations.

PhD Students

Deadline: Next calls for applications in 2021 will be announced on Bayer´s website.

The Bayer Fellowship Program targets students and apprentices in scientific and medical disciplines. Its goal is to support the next generation of researchers and teachers as they engage in “Science for a Better Life”. The Fellowship Program consists of five scholarship programs that offer tailored financial support. Important requirements for the support: The project to be supported must be innovative and international. Scholarships are granted to students and young professionals (up to two years after graduation) from Germany wishing to realize a study or research project abroad or to foreign students/young professionals pursuing a project in Germany.

Deadline: No call at the moment

The Humboldt Research Track funding line is designed to support outstanding Master’s students from the Humboldt-Universität who plan to pursue a PhD. Graduates from other universities may also be funded if they pursue a PhD at Humboldt-Universität. The program offers funding for the transition phase between the end of a Master’s program and the beginning of PhD level research. Requirements for funding are excellent academic results and an original, high-quality PhD proposal. Applications may already be submitted during the Master’s studies, but funding can only start after graduation. The scholarship helps recipients to focus on the preparation of their PhD proposal.

Deadlines: 01 Feb / 01 Jun / 01 Oct

The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) awards PhD fellowships to European citizens working in Europe or overseas and to non-European citizens pursuing their PhD projects in Europe. The PhD projects must be experimental, in the field of basic biomedical research, and aimed at elucidating basic biological phenomena of human life and acquiring new scientific knowledge. A PhD fellowship offers a competitive monthly stipend. It is initially granted for 2 years and may be extended once for up to 1.5 years. In addition, you receive travel allowances, e.g. for scientific conferences, and participate in tailor-made seminars for BIF fellows and alumni.

Deadlines: 26 March 2021, 12.00 hrs

Based on the "Elsa Neumann Scholarship of the State of Berlin" (formerly NaFöG) of December 4, 2009, the State of Berlin awards doctoral scholarships and special grants to particularly qualified young researchers for a period of up to 3 years.

PhD Students and Postdocs

Deadline: Three months before the proposed starting date

Short-Term Fellowships fund research exchanges of up to three months between laboratories in eligible countries. Awarded applicants can stay on their research visit for an additional three months (maximum), however, EMBO will not provide funding for this extended period. The aim is to facilitate valuable collaborations with research groups applying techniques that are unavailable in the applicant's laboratory. Short-Term Fellowships are not awarded for exchanges between two laboratories within the same country. Short-Term Fellowships are intended for joint research work rather than consultations. The fellowships cover travel plus subsistence of the fellow only and not of dependents.

Deadline: No Deadlines

The guiding principles of medical-scientific funding of Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung are scientific excellence and support of young medical scientists. Funding volume is allocated to individual projects (without deadlines) and annual calls for poposals towards young scientists.

Deadline: Next application period expected at the beginning of 2021

The Add-on Fellowships For Interdisciplinary Life Science foster interdisciplinary skills and support the careers of young scientists from various disciplines. The fellowship addresses scientists who already have a position at or current basic funding from a German research institution and aim to answer biological research questions. The “Add-on Fellowships for Interdisciplinary Life Science” do not cover living expenses. Instead, they allow PhD candidates and postdocs who are interested in further training in related disciplines to attend conferences, finance research stays or undertake professional training needed in order to gain new insights into relevant research methods.


Deadline: April 01, 2021

A 'Freigeist' fellow: for the Volkswagen Foundation this means a young researcher with a strong personality, a creative mind, an ability to identify and use freedom, dedicated to overcoming resistance. If necessary, he or she will be a free spirit, enjoying the unexpected, even unexpected difficulties. A 'Freigeist' fellow opens up new horizons and combines critical analysis with imagination and innovative solutions. By thinking ahead the 'Freigeist' fellow will act as a catalyst in overcoming existing disciplinary, institutional and even national boundaries.

The main focus is on junior researchers (up to 4 years of postdoctoral experience) working at the borders of neighbouring fields or disciplines. The 'Freigeist' initiative offers freedom for creative thinking, whilst at the same time providing security for at least 5 years and in the long run the opportunity to establish a career within a scientific research organization or university in Germany.

Deadline: t.b.a.

The HFSP fellowship program supports proposals for frontier, potentially transformative research in the life sciences. Applications for high-risk projects are particularly encouraged. The projects should be interdisciplinary in nature and should challenge existing paradigms by using novel approaches and techniques. Scientifically, they should address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field.

Two different fellowship programs are available:

  • Long-Term Fellowships (LTF) are for applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline, who will broaden their expertise by proposing a project in the life sciences which is significantly different from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships (CDF) are for applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences (e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences).

Junior Group Leaders

Deadlines: 15 March / 15 September of each year

With its Plus 3 funding programme, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation aims to support outstanding junior group leaders in Germany conducting basic research in biology, chemistry, and medicine. It is intended to give independent junior group leaders the opportunity to raise their research profiles and become eligible for professorial appointments in an excellent research environment.

Candidates can apply for up to 900,000 euros of core funding for your research team for up to 3 years, i.e. 200,000 to 300,000 euros annually. This funding includes remuneration for your position as group leader, for further personnel expenses, e.g. one postdoc and/or two graduate students, a laboratory technician, as well as funds for consumables, equipment, and travel expenses.

Deadlines: 15 March / 15 September of each year

With its Exploration Grants, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation aims to provide outstanding scientists doing basic research in biology, chemistry, or medicine with the opportunity to pursue new ideas or follow-up surprising findings at an early stage of their careers. Exploration Grants thus offer the freedom to undertake preparatory work necessary for initiating new research directions and to successfully apply for research funding e.g. from the DFG or ERC. The grants are not for projects that constitute a logical next step of your research. They are also notavailable for projects that are planned or in progress under other funding arrangements.

You may apply for a one-off grant of up to 90,000 euros. The grant may be used for personneland direct project costs (e.g. consumables, minor equipment) as needed. Applications for funds to provide the group leader with a salary, as well as for funds solely for the purpose of procuring equipment and/or consumables will not be considered. Should funding be granted, you will be required to start the project within 6 months of the date of the approval letter.

Open Calls for Proposals

Deadline: No open call

The exploration of exceptionally daring new ideas is not yet really a focal point of the research agenda in Germany, as far as facing challenges and radically transforming common wisdom are concerned. This often requires to establish counterintuitive hypotheses as well as unconventional methodologies or technologies, and to focus on entirely new research approaches. The Volkswagen Foundation’s funding initiative 'Experiment!' tries to pave the way for fundamentally new research topics even though the outcome may be contingent. A concept failure as well as unexpected findings are an acceptable result.

The initiative addresses researchers in science and engineering as well as in the life sciences (including immediately neighboring disciplines in the behavioral sciences), who want to put a potentially transformative and risky research idea to the test. They are given the opportunity to demonstrate preliminary evidence for a concept’s potential during an exploratory phase which is limited to 18 months and up to 120,000 Euro.

Deadline: varying

Funding applications are made through the Berlin universities or Charité. In general, applications must be endorsed by two of the partner institutions involved. Check the website for detailed information on the different funding schemes:

  • Einstein Circle
  • Einstein Research Project
  • Einstein Junior Fellow
  • Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellow (for Junior Groups)
  • Einstein Visiting Fellow
  • Einstein Research Fellow