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In Germany, and Bavaria particularly, you will find many funding opportunities to support your research. From funding offered by universities to special European grants, we provide an overview of PhD scholarships, postdoc fellowships, and other grants you can apply for in Bavaria.

Funding for Your Research

The list below, while not exhaustive, provides information on some of the most common funding options that you can apply for directly.*

Tips for a Successful Application

  • Before you apply, find the appropriate institution or host: Your research project should fit into their research agenda or complement it. Browse our research topics and database to start your search.
  • Take your time to develop a coherent project idea and discuss it with your host professor.
  • For all funding programs, you will need to document the support of your host. Depending on the program, an invitation letter, a hosting statement, a joint proposal or even a commitment to co-finance the grant may be required.
  • Advanced researchers will be referred to the university’s funding advice service to discuss the strategical and financial aspects of the application. At this career level, the preparation of an application can take several months, so plan ahead and with plenty of time.

Variety in Funding Options

The programs listed here are not the only way to fund your research. Other options include:

Short-Term Research Stays

If you are looking for special funding to cover a short-term visit to a Bavarian university, there are many PhD scholarships and short-term research grants for you to consider. Basic amounts vary between ca. €1,000 and €2,000 depending on the career level and are often complemented by allowances for specific purposes.

Short-Term Grants

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Type of funding: short-term grant
  • Open to: highly qualified PhDs and postdocs
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, healthcare cover, accident and personal liability insurance benefits, travel allowance
  • Duration: 1–6 months
  • Application deadline: twice yearly
  • Funding information: Short Term Grants

Research Stays for University Academics and Scientists

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Type of funding: short-term grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: university teachers and established academics and scientists who have usually completed a doctoral degree and work at a university or research institute in their home country.
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month
  • Duration: 1–3 months
  • Application deadline: once or twice yearly
  • Funding information: Research Stays for University Academics and Scientists

Scholarship Program 1

Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD)
  • Type of funding: scholarship or short-term scholarship
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: graduates, doctoral candidates, and postdocs of Catholic denomination (particularly those from the Middle East) or candidates from other religions who are put forward by Catholic partners and can prove their commitment to interreligious dialogue.
  • Amount: (not specified)
  • Duration: one year, or research stays of 2 – 6 months
  • Application deadline: annual
  • Funding information: Scholarship Program 1

Eastern European Program

Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD)
  • Type of funding: short-term scholarship
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: graduates, PhD candidates, postdocs, and scientists and lecturers from Central, Eastern, or Southeastern Europe, the Caucuses, and Central Asia. Good knowledge of German and of Catholic denomination (other denominations will be considered, provided candidates are put forward by catholic partners).
  • Amount: (not specified)
  • Duration: maximum 6 months
  • Application deadline: twice yearly
  • Funding information: Programme for Eastern Europe

Green Talents

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
  • Type of funding: short-term grant
  • Subject area: interdisciplinary with a focus on sustainability
  • Open to: graduates, PhD candidates, and postdocs with at least 3 years’ work experience
  • What funding covers: 3-week orientation trip to German research institutions, three-month research stay
  • Application deadline: annual
  • Funding information: Green Talents

PhD Funding

Because tuition is free in Germany, PhD scholarships are generally offered by third-party organizations rather than the universities. Basic amounts vary between ca. €800 and €2,000 depending on the organization and are often complemented by allowances for specific purposes.

Research Grants – Doctoral Programmes

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: highly qualified doctoral candidates
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, including cover for health, accident, and personal liability insurance, travel allowance, one-off research grant, preparatory language courses, sometimes also monthly rent allowances, as well as monthly supplements for accompanying family members
  • Duration: maximum 4 years
  • Application deadline: annual, depending on country of origin
  • Funding information: DAAD Research Grants – Doctoral Programmes

One-Year Grants for Doctoral Candidates

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: highly qualified doctoral candidates
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month including cover for health, accident, and personal liability insurance, travel allowance, one-off research grant, preparatory language courses, sometimes also monthly rent allowances, as well as monthly supplements for accompanying family members
  • Duration: 7–12 months
  • Application deadline: annual, depending on country of origin
  • Funding information: One-Year Grants for Doctoral Candidates

Bi-nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees / Cotutelle

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: highly qualified doctoral candidates
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, including health, accident and personal liability insurance, travel allowance, one-off research grant, preparatory language courses, occasionally monthly rent allowances, as well as monthly supplements for accompanying family members, travel and living expenses for university lecturers
  • Duration: maximum 2 years, can be divided into several short research stays.
  • Application deadline: annual, depending on country of origin
  • Funding information: Bi-nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees / Cotutelle

One-year Scholarship Program for Graduates of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European States

Bavarian Academic Center for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (BayHost)

PhD Fellowship Basic Biomedical Research

Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: biomedicine
  • Open to: highly qualified doctoral candidates
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month additional funding for travel costs, if applicable additional funds for children and spouses
  • Duration: maximum 3 years
  • Application deadline: 1 February, 2 June and 2 October each year
  • Funding information: PhD Fellowship Basic Biomedical Research

PhD Scholarship in the Historical Sciences

Gerda Henkel Stiftung
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: historical humanities
  • Open to: highly qualified doctoral candidates
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, family allowance, relocation costs if applicable, travel allowance and funding for research materials as necessary
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: PhD Scholarship in the Historical Sciences

Funding for Postdocs

Postdocs can apply for funding in the form of special research grants and fellowships. Funding usually covers a monthly stipend around €2,300 and more, or is offered in the form of a salaried position, which may include funding for resources and personnel.

Walter Benjamin Programme

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: salaried position
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: postdoctoral researchers at an early career phase
  • Amount: salaried position, funding for resources and travel, as well as publication costs and benefits for parents, if necessary.
  • Duration: maximum 2 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Walter Benjamin Programme

Individual Research Grants

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: salaried position
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: researchers with a doctoral degree
  • What funding covers: own position, resources, and staff
  • Duration: depending on the project (several years)
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Individual Research Grants

Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: postdocs who have obtained their doctorate within the last 4 years
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, mobility allowance, allowance for health and liability insurance, family allowance, child allowance, replacement allowance for child benefit, allowance for health and liability insurance for spouses and children
  • Duration: 6-24 months
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers

Georg Forster Research Fellowship

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: postdocs and experienced researchers from developing and emerging countries
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month intensive language course for researchers, their spouse before the start of the scholarship, financial support for the family and travel allowance
  • Duration: 6-24 months
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Georg Forster Research Fellowship

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship

European Commission

 

General Research Grants: Scholarships

Gerda Henkel Stiftung
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: historical humanities
  • Open to: postdocs who have obtained their doctorate within the last 10 years
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month family allowance allowance for scholarships abroad, travel aid and material aid
  • Duration: 1-24 months
  • Application deadline: several times during the year
  • Funding information: General Research Grants: Scholarships

Funding for Your Own Research Group

Experienced postdocs who are ready to take the next step in their careers, can apply for funding of their own research group. The grants are typically longer-term and highly sought after. As well as financing your own position at university, costs for your staff and for your equipment are covered. Depending on the organization and on your project, the total amount can reach up to €3M for the whole funding period.

Emmy Noether Programme

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: salaried position
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: experienced postdocs who have obtained their doctorate within the last 4 years.
  • Amount: salaried position, and additional modules for resources, and staff, family allowance
  • Duration: maximum 6 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Emmy-Noether Programme

Heisenberg Programme

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: research grant, salaried position and your own research group, or professorship
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: researchers who have qualified for professorship
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month funding for research materials, travel allowance, if applicable additional funds for children; salaried position or professorship, funding for research materials, resources
  • Duration: maximum 5 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Special features: when you are accepted into the Heisenberg Program, you can choose from different types of funding (research grant, salaried position and funds for your own research group, or professorship)You initially request a Heisenberg grant
  • Funding information: Heisenberg Programme

 

Freigeist Fellowship

Volkswagen Foundation
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: postdocs who have obtained their doctorate within the last 4 years; strong personality and creative mind with an ability to identify and use freedom, dedicated to overcoming resistance; by thinking ahead the 'Freigeist' fellow will act as a catalyst in overcoming existing disciplinary, institutional and even national boundaries
  • What funding covers: salaried position, staff and resources, funding for travel costs, technical equipment, funding for communication of science and research; special family related benefits; additional funding for refugee scholars and scientists; training programs
  • Duration: maximum 8 years
  • Application deadline: mid-October each year
  • Funding information: Freigeist Fellowship

ERC Starting Grant and ERC Consolidator Grant

European Research Council (ERC)

Funding for Established Researchers

There is ample support for highly qualified researchers looking to pursue a research career in Bavaria. To qualify for this type of funding, applicants will generally need to have qualified for professorship, e.g. by a previous group leader position, a habilitation or a particularly strong academic record. Basic amounts vary considerably depending on the funding organization, your project and your experience.

Individual Research Grants

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: salaried position
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: researchers with a doctoral degree
  • What funding covers: own position, resources, and staff
  • Duration: depending on the project (several years)
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Individual Research Grants

Georg Forster Research Fellowship

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: postdocs and experienced researchers from developing and emerging countries
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month intensive language course for researchers, their spouse before the start of the scholarship, financial support for the family and travel allowance
  • Duration: 6 - 24 months
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Funding information: Georg Forster Research Fellowship

Heisenberg Programme

German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Type of funding: research grant, salaried position and own research group, or professorship
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: researchers who have qualified for professorship
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, travel allowance, if applicable additional funds for children; salaried position or professorship, funding for research materials, resources
  • Duration: maximum 5 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Special features: when you are accepted into the Heisenberg Program, you can choose from different types of funding (research grant, salaried position and funds for your own research group, or professorship)
  • Funding information: Heisenberg Programme

Lichtenberg Endowed Professorship

Volkswagen Foundation
  • Type of funding: professorship W2 / W3
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: professors
  • Amount: €2M
  • Duration: 5 years
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Special features: joint application with the university, which has to contribute another €3M to the endowment capital
  • Funding information: Lichtenberg Endowed Professorship

ERC Advanced Grant

European Research Council (ERC)
  • Type of funding: own research group
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: researchers who have a track-record of significant research contributions achievements in the last 10 years, exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research
  • What funding covers: salaried position, staff, resources, technical equipment
  • Duration: 5 years maximum
  • Application deadline: each year
  • Special features: the “German National Contact Point ERC” and the “European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations“ (KoWi) support researchers in all phases of their research project, including the application
  • Funding information: ERC Adanced Grant

General Research Grants: Scholarship

Gerda Henkel Stiftung
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: historical humanities
  • Open to: researchers with habilitation, associate professors, senior lecturers or similar
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month, family allowance, living abroad allowance, travel allowance and resources as necessary
  • Duration: 1-24 months
  • Application deadline: several times each year
  • Funding information: General Research Grants: Scholarship

Threatened Researchers

The Philipp Schwartz Initiative by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation provides funding for researchers who are facing severe threats, including threats of violence, torture, wrongful imprisonment or prosecution. Various Bavarian Universities have hosted Philipp Schwartz Fellows during the last years and developed support programs to integrate these researchers. These institutions recently founded a network to provide better support for potential applicants as well as current fellows.

Philipp Schwartz-Fellowship

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Type of funding: research grant
  • Subject area: all disciplines
  • Open to: threatened researchers with a doctoral degree; a confirmation of a pertinent threat should be confirmed either by way of a residence status in the context of an asylum-granting procedure within the EU or by way of a credible threat assessment issued no more than 12 months ago by a third party, such as the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) or the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)
  • What funding covers: fixed amount per month (around €3,500/month)
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Application deadline: applications accepted on a rolling basis
  • Special Features: the university applies for the funds in accordance with its institutional strategy for threatened researchers; researchers should contact the university of their choice or the Scholars at Risk Network.
  • Funding information: Philipp Schwartz-Fellowship

* No responsibility is taken for the correctness of the details provided. Please refer to the individual funding organization for the latest information.

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