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FAQ: Emmy Noether Programme

Proposal Process

Where I can find the guidelines for submitting a proposal to the Emmy Noether Programme?

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.

Whom can I contact if I have questions on the Emmy Noether Programme?

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.

May I also submit my proposal in English?

Proposals may be submitted either in German or in English.

Which date is relevant for calculating the 4-year deadline: the oral examination or the date on the doctoral degree?

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.

Can an independent junior research group within the scope of the Emmy Noether Programme be based abroad?

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

What funds can I apply for in the Emmy Noether Programme? Are there upper limits?

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.

Can I receive funding through the Emmy Noether Programme without applying for funding for my own position as group leader?

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)

Who should sign the employer’s statement and/or contract? Who else should be involved?

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.

How long is the processing time?

The current processing time is approximately six months.

What are the chances that my proposal will be approved?

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


When does funding start?

Funding must be taken up within six months following approval.

How will I be remunerated as the Head of a Junior Research Group?

In the DFG's view, Heads of Junior Research Groups in the Emmy Noether Programme satisfy the prerequisites for classification within Salary Group 15 TV-L. The decision on classification is a matter for the employing university or research institution in the particular case, however.

What are the arguments in favour of my classification within Salary Group 15 TV-L, in the DFG’s view?

Your classification is performed on the basis of the work assigned to you, and is governed by the work characteristics in the salary schedule. Accordingly, the following persons are to be classified in Salary Group 15: “Employees who have completed their academic higher education and corresponding work in research, whose work is distinguished from Salary Group 14 Case Group 1 by requiring high-level performance when completing difficult research tasks.” According to the case law of the Federal Labour Court, the concept of “high-level performance” refers to the academic value of the work, which in consequence demands special academic qualifications, which must also be required for the particular research work.

In the DFG's view, these prerequisites are regularly satisfied in the project work of a Head of a Junior Research Group. A project in the Emmy Noether Programme is only funded if the academic standard is excellent and the applicant is in a position to carry out the research work successfully, thanks to his or her special academic qualifications. This is also assessed as part of DFG’s review, evaluation and decision-making processes.

Points to note about classification within Salary Group 15

In a specific case, the level within Salary Group 15 determined by the university may result in your income being lower than it was previously.

Example: An applicant in the Emmy Noether Programme has previously been employed within Salary Group 14, Level 3. After approval has been granted, the host institution agrees to employ her in Salary Group 15, but only at Salary Level 1. This results in a lower income than previously.

In order to understand this seemingly contradictory result, it is necessary to briefly explain how collective bargaining law functions. The system distinguishes between salary groups and salary levels. The salary group depends on the nature of the work assigned, and not on professional experience. More professional experience does not in itself justify a higher classification. Professional experience is taken into account within the framework of the salary levels. The more professional experience one acquires in a particular position, the higher the level assigned in the relevant group. This is where overlaps do occur. The high levels of a lower salary group can result in a higher income than the low levels of a higher salary group (as in the example). The higher classification does not in itself necessarily result in an immediate increase in salary; however salary prospects are better with the corresponding professional experience. In order to prevent the salary level from dropping despite a higher classification, collective bargaining law specifies that for higher classifications with the same employer, the level must be assigned in such a way as to ensure that income does not drop as a result. In principle, this “protective provision” does not apply when changing employer.

A further consideration is that professional experience is judged according to the subject matter of the work. Professional experience with another employer is only counted if it is “relevant”. Hence, professional experience in one salary group is not necessarily professional experience for a higher salary group, because from an abstract point of view, this involves performing a different, higher-value task, for which no job experience exists at present.

If this involves a move to another institution, and classification into a higher salary group, the level assigned will generally be the first level, since “relevant” job experience as defined by collective bargaining law is not present. It is a matter for the employing university to determine whether the professional experience gained, is relevant in the specific case.

However it should be noted at this point that when assigning a level, Section 16(2)(6) of the TV-L (Research) provides the option of taking into account in individual cases professional experience that is not relevant when assigning a level, if it is “beneficial to the proposed work”. It is likely that this will often be the case for Heads of Junior Research Teams in the Emmy Noether Programme. However, this option only applies to new appointments to cover personnel requirements. In this instance, also, the binding assessment is a matter for the employing university.

The TV-L (Research) also provides the option to award performance-based allowances or bonuses.

We strongly urge you to contact the host institution as soon as possible with respect to your specific level.

Are there any formal requirements for structuring the interim report? I’m aware that the report must be submitted following the third year of funding, but when is it due exactly?

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.


Proposal Process

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

Queries on programme eligibility can be addressed to

  • Anita Benner
  • 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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