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Promoting Early Career Researchers within the Collaborative Research Centre Programme

Early career Support is a key goal of the DFG and is, therefore, also an important review criterion in assessing Collaborative Research Centres. The main aim of early career support is to provide young scientists and academics with early opportunities to independently carry out research. The programme further takes care to closely integrate early career researchers into an academic network, ensuring appropriate equipment and administrative structures.

Options for Integration into a CRC

Early career researchers may get involved in a CRC in numerous ways:

Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researchers in CRCs

Working in CRC projects, Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers achieve additional qualifications. As research assistants in CRC projects, they contribute to the CRC’s success. They are closely involved with the projects and have access to the entire project infrastructure. The university may also offer further opportunities for training its doctoral researchers, for example within the framework of a Research Training Group, integrated Research Training Group (see below), graduate school or other institution. The CRC or CRC project leader in question is responsible for announcing and appointing project staff. Applications may not be submitted directly to the DFG Head Office.

Project Leadership Opportunities in CRCs

Highly qualified and renowned postdoctoral researchers may also act as project leaders within a CRC. In addition to achieving further scientific qualifications, these researchers also assume leadership responsibilities, provided they occupy these positions for the duration of at least one funding period (four years) at the respective institution. It is not possible for postdoctoral researchers to apply for funding for their own positions within the framework of a CRC or CRC project.

Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Groups in CRCs

It is possible to associate Emmy Noether independent junior research groups with a CRC in order to enable these early career researchers to benefit from the excellent academic environment provided by the centre. Members of the independent junior research group make use of the opportunities funded through the centre’s central funds (such as hosting visiting scholars and attending conferences). The leaders of the independent junior research may also attract additional projects to the Collaborative Research Centre. Collaborative Research Centres are encouraged to approach suitably qualified early career researchers and to make them aware of the benefits integrating an Emmy Noether independent junior research group exhibits. One important incentive is the attractive career prospects (tenure track) available to independent junior research group leaders who have successfully passed an interim evaluation. These opportunities are offered with the aim of building up local research structures.

Integrated Research Training Group for Doctoral Researchers

Doctoral researchers in a Collaborative Research Centre should be integrated into a structured doctoral training programme. If there is no suitable programme (such as a Research Training Group, graduate school or similar university programme) at the host institution, an integrated Research Training Group is expected to take on this task. The CRC may request extra funds specifically for this purpose. Integrated Research Training Groups may attract even more and better qualified early career researchers to Collaborative Research Centres.

Student Participation in CRCs

Students may be employed as student assistants in Collaborative Research Centres. This provides them with the opportunity to learn more about academic work, to make their own contributions to research and to travel to conferences. Each CRC or CRC project leader is responsible for announcing projects and employing their own project team members. Applications are not accepted by the DFG’s Head Office.

RISE: North American and British Students Support Dissertation Projects in CRCs

Within the RISE programme, doctoral researchers may invite students from North America and Great Britain to collaborate on dissertation projects for up to three months..

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