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FAQ: Emmy Noether Programme

Proposal Process

The guidelines for submitting a proposal to the Emmy Noether Programme can be found in form 50.02e in combination with Proposal Preparation Instructions 54.01e.

The DFG’s website contains links to programme information and contacts.

Please clarify detailed questions on proposal submission, subject-specific questions or review status with the respective division.

Yes, details on your research project may also be submitted in English.

Sometimes other parts of the proposal (summary, funding statement, etc.) must also be composed in German. Whether and to what extent this is necessary varies according to subject area. Please clarify this with the respective division.

The date depends on the individual timing of your doctorate. The date on the doctoral degree is the determining date if less than one year has passed between when you were presented with the certificate and when you took the viva voce examination. Otherwise, it is the date of the oral examination. If in doubt, please contact the DFG staff members listed for Emmy Noether procedural issues.

No, Emmy Noether independent junior research groups may only be based at universities or research institutions in Germany.

There is no upper financial limit for funding in the Emmy Noether Programme. In addition to your position as the leader of an independent junior research group according to salary level BAT Ia/TV-L 15, you may also apply for funding for staff and direct project costs necessary for carrying out your project.

No, proposals to the Emmy Noether Programme must generally include a request to cover your own position as group leader. Only junior professors are exempt from this rule; in this case, the Emmy Noether Programme is available to fund the independent junior research group.

Employer statement/sample contract (see Emmy Noether Programme guidelines under section IV, item 3)

You must include an employer’s statement in the proposal. If the institution is willing, this statement should be in the form of the sample contract (see DFG form 41.025).

The contract must be signed by the president, chancellor or personnel department of the university or by the director of the non-university research institution (with an official stamp) as well as by the leader of the independent junior research group.

Provided the contract grants you the right to act as a supervisor for doctoral researchers, you should also contact the responsible department as early as possible to clarify the details.

The current processing time is approximately six months.

At present, the funding rate for proposals in the Emmy Noether Programme is approximately 20%. This applies for all subject areas.


Funding must be taken up within six months following approval.

From the DFG’s standpoint, heads of Emmy Noether independent junior research groups fulfil the salary requirements according to BAT Ia/TV-L 15. Your actual salary level is decided upon by the hiring university or research institution.

The classification is made according to the activity that you are to perform. Until further notice, the job descriptions that apply under BAT also apply to the TV-L. These descriptions stipulate that employees who have completed their academic education and hold corresponding positions in research must be paid according to salary level Ia (E15) group 2. This description differs from positions classified as Ib group 6 in that the Ia (E15) group 2 position requires high-quality performance on difficult research tasks. The Federal Labour Court has ruled that the term “high-quality performance” applies to the scientific value of the activity, whereby appropriate, specific academic qualifications are required on the part of the applicant that must be necessary for the respective research work.

From the DFG’s viewpoint, these requirements are met regularly during the course of the project work performed by the head of an independent junior research group. A project is only funded in the Emmy Noether Programme if the scientific standards are outstanding and the applicant is capable of successfully performing the research work given his or her special academic qualifications. This is also given consideration in the review, assessment and decision-making process of the DFG.

In some cases, classification by the university into salary level 15 may result in a lower income than what you had previously earned.

Example: An Emmy Noether applicant currently receives salary level 14, step 3. Following approval, the hiring institution declares its willingness to hire that person at salary level 15, but only at step 1. This would result in a lower income than what he/she had previously earned.

To understand this seemingly contradictory result, the systematics of the collective bargaining law must first be briefly explained. A distinction is made between salary levels and steps. The salary level is based on the activity to be performed, not on professional experience. More professional experience alone does not justify classification into a higher salary level. However, professional experience is taken into consideration within the scope of the salary steps. The more professional experience one acquires within the scope of a specific activity, the higher the classification in the respective level. There is some overlapping here. High step numbers in a lower salary level may result in more income than low step numbers in a higher salary level (as in the example). Thus, classification into a higher level as such does not necessarily lead to an immediate salary increase. However, the salary prospects are better with appropriate professional experience. To prevent a drop in salary despite classification into a higher level, the collective bargaining law stipulates that when classified into a higher level by the same employer, step classification is to be such that the salary does not decrease as a result. This "protective regulation" does not apply when changing employers.

In addition, professional experience can only be recognised if it directly relates to the activity to be performed. Professional experience acquired with a different employer is only taken into account if it is "relevant". Thus, professional experience acquired in one salary level is not necessarily professional experience for a higher salary level because here—considered abstractly—a different, higher-value activity is to be fulfilled for which one does not yet have any professional experience.

Thus, if you change to a different institution and are classified in a higher salary level, you are usually classified in the first step, since there is not yet any "relevant" professional experience in the spirit of the collective bargaining law. The hiring university determines whether the acquired professional experience is relevant in individual cases.

Section 16, paragraph 2, clause 6 of the TV-L (research) enables employers to individually consider non-relevant professional experience when determining the step classification if it "is beneficial to the designated activity". For leaders of independent junior research groups in the Emmy Noether Programme, this is often the case. This possibility, however, applies only to new hires for covering the staffing requirements. Here, too, the binding assessment of the hiring university applies.

In addition, TV-L (research) offers the possibility of awarding performance-based bonuses or awards.

We strongly recommend that you contact the hiring university as soon as possible with regard to your individual salary classification.

For questions concerning how to structure your Emmy Noether interim report, please refer to the guidelines for final reports included in DFG form 2.01 (section II.) as a reference point. The interim report must be submitted no later than six months prior to the end of the fourth year of funding. Please note that funding for the fifth year cannot be released until the report has been received.

Additional Information

Further Information

Additional information on the proposal process can be obtained from the relevant programme staff

- DFG Programme Contacts

Queries on programme eligibility can be addressed to

- Birgit Gemein
- Marco Steffes

by e-mail:,
by telephone: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 am to noon, at 0228/885-3008

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