Frequently Asked Questions


What's the application deadline for the Fellowship programme?
The application phase tor the Fellowship programme 2020/2021 is set to be from  8th June 2020 to 2nd August 2020. 

When will I get informed, whether I was selected as a Fellow?
We will get back to every candidate latest by October 2020. In case of a positive reply, we will provide our future Fellows with a detailled onboarding and an invitation to our Kick-Off Summit in September 2020. 

When does the programme officially start?
The research year starts with the official Kick-Off Summit. By then, the grant agreements should be signed and the research projects specified. Also mentoring and hosting institution should be defined, just so you can start your research immediately, inspired by the discussions of the Summit.

Do I have to attend the Kick-Off Summit?
Yes. You will receive a special invitation for the Summit with your grant agreement. The Summit will provide you with the first opportunity to meet the other Fellows, to engage with European descision-makers and to discuss relevant topics and questions of your research project. The day will end with a festive fellowship award ceremony, in the presence of the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

Are Think Tanks or Institutes egliable to apply?
We can not support Institutions, Associations, NGO's or Think Tanks, though our Fellowship is addressed at their employees, junior researchers, research assistants, founders or volunteers. The organisation can thereby be named as the hosting institution for the Fellowship programme. 

Do I need a hosting institution?
We strongly recommend to conduct the research project in cooperation with a scientific or political institution, though it is not compulsory for your application. 

Do I need to propose a mentor during my application?
If you wish to propose a specific person that already knows your research project, or from who you think could help you a lot by supervising your research, you are welcome to do so. In other cases, we might recommend you a scientific mentor to ensure that you will receive professional feedback on a regular base. Your scientific mentor might be chosen by your hosting institution, though you're free to choose a mentor from an other institution or university. 

Which documents should I attach as 'certificates and references'?
Labelled as “Supporting documents” this section will give you the possibility to attach letters of recommendation, previous awards or validations of your experience in the specific research field, which would be a beneficial addition to your general application documents. While the main selection criteria will focus on your previous experiences and the quality of the research proposal, as well as on the academic relevance of your proposed research question, you can use this section to add aspects that you think should also be considered during the selection procedure. It is not compulsory to attach your academic diplomas yet, though they will be requested in case of your selection as a Fellow. 

Which information should be stated within the Cover Letter and which information should be stated in the Research Proposal?
The Cover Letter is a formal document, which can be attached to your application in order to introduce yourself and your motivation to apply for this specific programme. The research proposal, indeed, should focus on your research question, your timeframe, your milestones and your plan to implement your research project, which will leave no space for an individual presentation of yourself. Generally, your application should be conclusive and all documents together should picture a clear presentation of who you are and what you would like to achieve. 

Do I need a language certificate?
A language certificate is not compulsory for your application. However, english language skills will be indispensable for this programme. Therefore, we will assess your language skills based on the quality of your proposal. 

Do I have to be a citizen of an EU member state in order to apply for the Fellowship?
The Fellowship is open to all Postgraduates with a citizenship of an EU member state, as well as to everyone with a permanent residence in Europe. This includes citizens from the EU27 and the UK, EFTA-states,  EU candidate countries and countries fully located on the European continent. 

For example:
You are eligable to apply,

  • if you have a German citizenship, living and conducting your research in Germany,
  • if you have a Spanish citizenship, living and conducting your research in the USA,
  • if you have a French citizenship, working at the University of Oxford in the UK,
  • ‚Äčif you have British citizenship, living and conducting your research in Norway.

You are not eligable to apply,

  • if you have a British citizenship, living and conducting your research in China. 

I am 35 at the time of my application. Am I still eligable to apply?
While the programme is directed at young academics and junior researchers, we set the limit up to 35, though the main selection criteria remains the quality and the relevance of the research proposal, as well as your previous career path. In this sense, individual decisions would have to be made in case you wouldn't meet the critieria of being under the age of 35 by the start of the programme.  

I did not graduate, yet. Am I still eligable to apply?
You will need a completed Masters-Degree or equivalent by the day the Fellowship starts. This means that you can already apply if you haven't received your diploma yet, though you need to ensure that you have finished your studies by October. 

I have a different postgraduate degree than a Master. Am I eligable to apply?
The main criteria is that you have knowledge about research and you have finished another degree after your first educational path (Bachelor, apprenticeship, ...) . This could also comprise postgraduate studies following vocational trainings or technical education. If you're unsure, whether your degree will be sufficiant, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. 

Is the full research grant payed out by the beginning of the year?
The payment of the grant is linked to the achievement of personal milestones. This results in a corresponding payment after each research quarter. 

Is there a gender balance respected during the selection process?
Yes. We attach great importance to reflecting diversity in Europe, also with a view to origin, career, political attitude, interests and gender. Since young women are still underrepresented in Academia, we particularly encourage women to apply.