Study Abroad: STEM Exchanges, Scholarships, and Fellowships in Germany for Postdocs

The Heidelberg Laureate Forum connects highly talented young researchers with the top scientists in mathematics and computer science. For your chance to gain support for travel, boarding and lodging for the event, apply for funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

Agencies involved: National Science Foundation (NSF), Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

Learn more by visiting the Heidelberg Laureate Forum site. 

The Biomedical Sciences Exchange Program (BMEP) promotes the exchange of technology between academia and industry. Industry-university relationships in the area of post-graduate training are fostered and encouraged. It works by matching individual students and young research scientists in Biomedicine and affiliated professions with selected senior professionals sharing compatible interests in their exchange country. The Academic Year Program gives students the possibility of taking part in projects in their field of research (4-6 months), and of participating in internships or clinical rotations (3-4 months). The Technology Transfer Trainee Program gives graduates and postgraduates, as well as research fellows, the possibility to spend time in their respective field in R&D of industry and in biomedical research institutions of academia. Medical students, students in biomedicine and allied professions from USA, Europe and globally are eligible to apply.

Agencies Involved: International Academy of Life Sciences (IALS)

The DLR (Germany´s national research center for aeronautics and space) partners with DAAD to offer this unique award. The DLR-DAAD Research Fellowships is open to doctoral, post-doctoral students, and senior scientists. DLR-DAAD Fellowships offer the opportunity for academics to conduct research at the DLR in Germany. DLR-DAAD Fellowships are defined and awarded on an individual basis. Each individual fellowship carries different requirements and terms. The length of the fellowship for doctoral students is 36 months, for post-doctoral students 6-24 months; and for senior scientists, 1-3 months

Agencies Involved: Deutsches Zentrum fÜr Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Key Dates: Programs vary. Check website to select your program of interest.

Max Planck Society Independent Junior Research Groups (MPRG)

max planck institute logo

The Max Planck Society Independent Junior Research Groups (MPRG) is open to young, post-doctoral researchers in "Independent Research Groups". The Program makes a call for proposal 2-3 times per year, after which awarded groups can commence research projects for a period of up to 60 months. Leaders of the groups are appointed by the President of the Max Planck Society and enjoy an independent status within the Institute. After research period closes, an evaluation can be made by the Board in order for consideration of extension. Research topics are either assigned by the agency or left open. MPRGs can be established in two forms:

(1) The Institute-Specific Group functions in conjunction with the MPI, in terms of research interests and group position appointment.

(2) The Centrally Announced Group, in which research topics are left open, and group members may apply to an MPI of his/her choice

Agencies Involved: The Max Planck Society

Key Dates: Check website for updated information.

The Helmholtz Postdoctoral Programme is awarded every year to 20 young, post-doctoral academics. The Programme is designed to help selected young academics continue to develop their scientific excellence by performing research in an individually-assigned discipline, and thereafter producing relevant publications. Candidates must have gained doctoral qualification within the past year, or be current degree candidates. The part of the application receiving the most weight is the candidate’s PhD thesis. Applications must be submitted in the form of third party nominations. Direct applications not accepted.

Agencies Involved: Helmholtz Association

Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowships (IIF)

european commission logo

The Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowships (IIF) is awarded to researchers currently working in a non-European country. Applicants must have completed doctorate within 6 years of the time of application submission. Proof of 4 of more years of research experience can sometimes supplant doctoral degree requirement. Program supports 1-2 years of research at a European institution. A subsequent 1 year return phase in the home country can also be considered for researchers from an ICPC (International Cooperation Partner Countries) country.

Agencies Involved: European Union (EU)

Check open call website for all open calls.

Sofja Kovalevskaja Awards are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in order for junior researchers to finance their own working group at a German university or research institution. Candidates must be published and have completed doctorates within 6 years of the time of application submission.

Agencies Involved: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Emmy Noether-Programme supports 50 young researchers annually by providing them a platform to lead their own Independent Junior Research Group after which a university teaching career can become a possibility. Researchers must have 2-4 years of post-doctoral research experience; medical academics must have up to 6 years of international post-doctoral research experience. The program runs for 5 years, after which candidate can apply for extension.

Agencies Involved: The German Research Foundation (DFG) 

Key Dates: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Association's objective in founding the Helmholtz Young Investigators Groups is to offer academic independence and first-rate research conditions to 20 young, post-doctoral researchers per year. Candidates must have received doctoral degrees within 2 - 6 years of applying, and must have completed a 6-month research period abroad during the doctoral or post-doctoral program. Program runs for 3-4 years, after which an evaluation takes place for the candidacy of the leader of the Young Investigators Group to be given a permanent employment contract.

Agencies Involved: Helmholtz Association

Key Dates: The application deadline for the 2014 groups has passed. Check the website for individual group information.

Lindau Meetings

lindau logo

The Lindau Meeting brings young scientists together with Nobel Laureates from all over the world. The meetings, held in Lindau, Germany, focus alternately on the three different disciplines of the Nobel Prize, which are: Physiology or Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry. Candidates must be younger than 35 at the time of nomination submission.

Agencies Involved: Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Key Dates: Nomination is open every October-November for the following summer.

The Re-invitation Programme for Former Scholarship Holders was created with the aim of giving former DAAD awardees a way to maintain scientific contact with Germany. Re-invitations are open to former DAAD Research Grant or Study Scholarship holders who received funding for more than 6 months, and former DDR (East German) Scholarship holders who studied in Germany for at least 1 year. Former awardees must have been back in their home country for at least three years in order to qualify for the Programme. The Re-Invitation awards funding for research and working projects taking place at German universities and research institutions under the guidance of German host supervisors.

Agencies Involved: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Key Dates: Programme available for periods of 1-3 months, with country-specific timetables listed on the DAAD website.

The target candidate for the Lichtenberg Professorship is the young, published, post-doctoral academic. The program lasts for a maximum of eight years, and is given each year to 10 academics with a focus on research in the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Medicine. The Program commences with a 5-year sponsorship, after which an evaluation is made, and the winner is instructed on how to proceed. Candidates should have doctorate degrees and 2-3 years of research experience by the time of grant application. Academics returning from abroad are preferred.

Agencies Involved: Volkswagen Foundation

Key Dates: Professorship can last for up to 8 years Application deadline is January 11 of each year.

The primary aim of both the Heisenberg Programme and the Heisenberg Professorship is to support young academics who are already eligible for professorships and who have additionally distinguished themselves through particularly outstanding academic achievements. Both programs are awarded annually to young academics interdisciplinarily and internationality, and are available for a maximum of five years per winner. Candidates must provide proof of eligibility for appointment to professorship by means of qualification to teach in higher education institutions. Age limit for applicants is 40 years. Winners of the award will be expected to aim for a subsequent scientific career in Germany.

Agencies Involved: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Key Dates: Applications accepted year-round

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship enables award winners to carry out long-term research at universities and research institutions in Germany. Nominations can be made by German universities and research institutions. Applications must be submitted in the form of third party nominations. Direct applications not accepted.

Agencies Involved: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Key Dates: The closing dates for submitting applications are 15 April and 15 October annually.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation’s Plus 3 program aims to support junior researchers working in the fields of medicine, biology and chemistry. The program is lasts between 36-60 months, after which the candidate can apply for extension, rendering them eligible for professorial appointment.

Agencies Involved: Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

Key Dates: No later than April 30 or October 30 annually.

The German Cancer Aid offers post-doctoral fellowships for young doctors and scientists carrying out research projects in the fields of oncology and clinical cancer at research institutions abroad. The Program potentially paves the way to tenure-track positions: when funding concludes, for example, long-term prospects can potentially culminate in tenured professorship. Candidates must have a working knowledge of German.

Agencies Involved: The German Cancer Aid

Key Dates:  Four deadlines annually. Visit site for more information (German). 

The Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award is granted to 20 young, foreign academics annually. Candidates must have received a doctoral degree within the past 18 years. Award winners carry out projects with German research teams for periods of 6 months to 1 year.

Agencies Involved: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Key Dates: Applications are accepted year-round, and are reviewed twice a year for six months.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation administers the Humboldt Research Award to 100 researchers annually. Winners of the award are invited to cooperating on a long-term research project at local institutions for periods of 6 months to 1 year in Germany. The award agency particularly encourages the nomination of female academics. Applications must be submitted in the form of third party nominations. Direct applications not accepted.

Agencies Involved: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Key Dates: Applications are accepted year-round, and are reviewed twice a year (spring and autumn) for six months.

The Max Eder Young Investigator Programme is offered to post-doctoral and professional young oncologists either returning from abroad, or already in Germany but changing career track. The program is developed to establish scientific working groups within German research institutions. Each award is to be taken at a 5-10 year length, with phase 1 lasting up to 4 years, phase 2 up to 3 years. Applicants should be no older than 25, with a working knowledge of the German language.

Agencies Involved: The German Cancer Aid

Key Dates:  Applications are accepted throughout the year. Visit the site for more information (German).


The Reinhart Koselleck Project aims to provide research abilities in Germany to researchers of all nationalities and disciplines in the form of funding for projects of particular innovation or high risk. Scientists and scholars at institutions of education and non-university research institutions eligible to apply. 

Agencies Involved: The German Research Foundation (DFG) 

Key Dates: Program runs 5 years. No submission deadlines apply.

Every year, the Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society grant two research awards to one researcher working abroad and one researcher working in Germany. Awards go to exceptionally highly-qualified German and foreign scientists and scholars who have already achieved international recognition and who are in pursuit of academic achievements in international collaboration. Call for nominations rotate on an annually-alternating basis between the natural and engineering sciences, the life sciences, and the social sciences and humanities. The Max Planck Research Award 2015 focuses on the subject of Religion and Modernity: Secularisation and Social and Religious Pluralism

Agencies Involved: The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society

Key Dates: Application deadline is generally in January of each year.

250 ERC Starting Grants are provided each year in support for researchers who are located or moving to the EU and associated countries and are at the stage of establishing a research team or program. Grant support projects done between individual teams and respective institutions. The Grant Agreement will be concluded between the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) and the host institution of the team’s Private Investigator (PI). The PI must have been awarded his/her first PhD between 2-7 years prior to commencement of the award. 

Agencies Involved: European Research Council (ERC)

Key Dates:  Check the site for current open calls for proposals. 

The Research Stays for University Academics and Scientists Program awards grants and scholarships to foreign academics and scientists working in higher education institutions or at research institutes. Chosen candidates execute research projects in Germany at state (public) or state-recognized higher education institutions or non-university research institutes. Applicants must be working in higher education institutions or research institutes in their home country.

Agencies Involved: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Key Dates: Program runs 1-3 months. Dates for respective countries listed on DAAD websites

The Lecture and Research Program awards 35 grants each year to junior and senior faculty members sponsors lecturing and/or completing research stays for a duration of 1-2 semesters (or 2-10 months). Applicants are required to have established contacts and solicited invitations to host institutions in Germany in anticipation of awards.

Agencies Involved: Fulbright Commission

Key Dates: Application deadline is August 1 annually for the following September

Marie Curie Action "Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways" (IAPP) 

european commission logo

The Marie Curie Action is an action for young researchers, enabling research to be done with institutions in small groups between countries, within which projects are carried out for a length of up to 4 years. At least 2 EU countries must be represented in the partnership.

Agencies Involved: European Commission (EU)

Key Dates: Awards are issued in response to calls for proposals. 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation was established by Germany in order to promote international cooperation in research. The Humboldt Research Fellowship Program supports highly qualified post-doctoral scholars of all nationalities and disciplines so that they may carry out long-term research projects in Germany. There are no quotas with respect to country of origin or academic discipline. Applicants must have completed their first doctorate within the past four years. If you completed your first doctorate more than four but less than 12 years ago, you may apply to the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. Scholars in the humanities should have sufficient German proficiency to conduct the proposed research. Scholars in the sciences must have sufficient proficiency in English. The Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers provides for a stay of six to 24 months in Germany for research.

Agencies Involved: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Key Dates: Applications may be submitted at any time.

Launched in 2011 by the Leibniz Association (Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), The "Leibniz-DAAD Research Fellowship" offers highly-qualified recent foreign postdocs the opportunity to conduct special research at institutes of the Leibniz Association in Germany. Leibniz-DAAD Research Fellows can do their research at one of the Leibniz-Institutes which are covered in the following (five) sections: Humanities and Educational Research, Economics, Social and Spatial Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Environmental Research. Grants for postdocs can be awarded for up to a maximum of 12 months. Applicants should be able to prove their outstanding study or research achievements,have completed their studies with a PhD or equivalent degree (no more than two years should have passed since graduation) and have an excellent knowledge of English. Knowledge of German is very welcome.

Agencies Involved: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Leibniz Association

Key Dates: Application deadline occurs annually in March. Check program site for most recent update.