Promoting Early Career Researchers within the Collaborative Research Centre Programme

Early career support is a key goal of the DFG. Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) offer numerous opportunities for Early Career Researchers to get involved in the research programme and to further their academic careers.

Doctoral and Postdoctoral Researchers in CRCs

Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers may gain further qualifications by working in CRC projects. As research assistants, 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 act as project leaders within a CRC. In addition to achieving further academic qualifications, these researchers also assume leadership responsibilities. Project leaders need to be employed at the respective home institution for at least the duration of the funding period applied for (four years) or have the option for extending their contracts to cover for said period. 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 Early Career Researchers to benefit from the academic environment provided by the centre. Emmy Noether group members make use of the opportunities funded through the centre’s central funds (such as hosting visiting scholars and attending conferences). Emmy Noether group leaders are further eligible to apply for an additional, distinct project within the Collaborative Research Centre. Collaborative Research Centres are encouraged to approach suitably qualified Early Career Researchers and to make them aware of the benefits Emmy Noether groups gain from being integrated into a CRC. One important incentive could be the career prospects available to independent junior research group leaders who have successfully passed an interim evaluation: Universities hosting a CRC may wish to further enhance their research structures and might be able to offer attractive positions to successful candidates. Junior Research Groups hosted by other research institutions (such as Max Planck, Helmholtz, Leibniz institutes etc.) and research organisations (foundations, state funded) as well as scholars funded under the Heisenberg scheme may be integrated into CRCs and apply for extra projects.

Integrated Research Training Group for Doctoral Researchers

Doctoral researchers in a Collaborative Research Centre should be integrated into a doctoral training programme. If there is no suitable programme (such as a Research Training Group, graduate school or similar university programme) available 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.