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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI Life Sciences

PhD students

PostDocs / Junior Group Leader

Research Grants

PhD Students

The Bayer Fellowship Program

Deadline: 2018 closed
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.

Humboldt Research Track Scholarship


15 May (start 1 August)

15 May (start 1 October)

15 Oct (start 1 February)

15 Jan (start 1 April)


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. 


Boehringer Ingelheim Fund: PhD Fellowships

Deadline: 01 Feb / 01 Jun / 01 Oct


PhD Fellowships are awarded to outstanding young scientists (max. age: 27 years) who wish to pursue an ambitious PhD project of approximately 3 years in basic biomedical research in an internationally leading laboratory. The fellowship comprises a competitive monthly stipend which is initially granted for 2 years and which can be extended for up to another 12 months. Participation at international scientific conferences is also supported. In addition, fellowship holders are offered personal support, seminars to discuss their projects, communication training and alumni meetings, and thus can become part of a worldwide network. 


Berlin Funding for Graduates (Elsa-Neumann-Stipendium des Landes Berlin)

Deadline: 13 Apr/Nov


The state of Berlin's Elsa-Neumann-Scholarship (formally known as NaFöG) issues scholarships or special grants to particularly qualified young researchers and artist for up to three years.


Volkswagen Foundation: Freigeist-Fellowship

Deadline: 10 Oct 2019


A great opportunity for junior researchers in all disciplines: The ‘Freigeist’ initiative is directed toward enthusiastic and charismatic scientists and scholars with an outstanding record. Through a highly flexible funding scheme junior researchers are given the opportunity to enjoy maximum freedom in their early scientific career. A ‘Freigeist’ fellow discovers 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 ‘Freigeist’ scheme is deliberately left open to all disciplines and topics. The main focus is on junior researchers (up to 5 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 the opportunity to establish a career within a scientific research organization or university in Germany in the longer run. The initiative even incorporates the possibility to apply for additional components during the funding period (e.g. funding of staff positions, travel expenses etc.).


Perspectives Programme "Plus 3" for independent young group leaders

Deadline: 15 Mar/Sept


With its perspectives programme, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation wishes to give outstanding young group leaders in the fields of medicine, biology and chemistry the chance to sharpen their reseach profile and gain suitable career opportunities. The initiative also seeks to provide impulses for the improvement of basic medical research in Germany. Candidates can submit an application for between 200,000 and 300,000 € annually for up to three years to conduct their research. The support not only covers the salary for the scientist's own position but also includes personnel expenses for a post-doctoral researcher and/or two post-graduate students, a technical assistant, as well as equipment, consumables, and travel allowances.


Exploration Grants for new lines of research

Deadline: 15 Mar/Sept


Exploration Grants are intended to enable outstanding independent research group leaders to investigate innovative ideas and new lines of research quickly, with a minimum of bureaucracy, and thus, for example, to undertake the preparatory work necessary for research proposals to the DFG. The grants are not available for projects that are planned or in progress under other funding arrangements, or for projects that constitute a continuation of existing work. You can apply for a one-off grant of € 60,000 to € 80,000. The grant can be used flexibly for personnel and direct project costs (e.g. consumables, minor equipment) as needed. Applications for the group leader’s salary as well as applications solely for the purpose of procuring equipment and/or consumables will not be considered.


Human Frontier Science Program - Postdoctoral Fellowships

Next Competition: to be announced (registration for 2019 is closed)


HFSP Postdoctoral fellowships enable the most talented early career scientists, trained in the life sciences or in the physical sciences, to extend their scientific repertoire in laboratories abroad.

Long-Term Fellowships (LTF) are reserved for applicants with a Ph.D. in a biological discipline to embark on a new project in a different field of the life sciences. Preference is given to applicants who propose an original study in biology that marks a departure from their previous Ph.D. or postdoctoral work so as to learn new methods or change study system.

Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships (CDF) are open to applicants with a Ph.D. from outside the life sciences e.g. in physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering or computer sciences who have had limited exposure to biology during their previous training. Applicants for the CDF should propose a significant departure from their past research by changing e.g. from material science or physics to cell biology, from chemistry to molecular biology, or from computer science to neuroscience.


EMBO Short-Term Fellowships

Deadline: open


Short-Term Fellowships fund research visits of up to three months to laboratories in Europe and elsewhere in the world. 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 receiving institute or the applicant's nationality must be from one of the EMBC Member States.



Open Calls for Proposals


Volkswagen Foundation: Experiment! – In search of bold research ideas

Deadline: 1 Aug 2019 / 5 Aug 2020


The exploration of exceptionally daring new ideas is not yet really subject of the established research agenda in Germany, as far as facing challenges and 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 is indefinite. A concept failure as well as unexpected findings is an acceptable result. The initiative addresses researchers in science and engineering as well as in the life sciences including behavioral biology and experimental psychology, who want to put a potentially transformative 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 100,000 Euro.


Einstein Foundation

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. Please check the website for detaild information on the differetn funding schemes:

- Einstein Circle

- Einstein Research Project

- Einstein Junior Fellow

- Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellow (for Junior Groups)

- Einstein Visiting Fellow

- Einstein Research Fellowship