Walter Benjamin Programme

The Walter Benjamin Programme enables researchers in the postdoctoral training phase to independently conduct their own research project at a location of their choice.

The project can be carried out at a research institution in Germany or abroad, with the host institution providing support for the project.

Special note on Walter Benjamin fellowships

Due to the legal situation in France, postdoctoral researchers in France can stay a maximum of 12 months on a fellowship. Please bear this in mind when planning your stay in France as part of the Walter Benjamin Programme!


By securing funding for their own research project, particularly qualified postdoctoral researchers pave the way for the next stages of their increasingly independent research career and exercise autonomy. The programme thus promotes early research careers with the aim of fostering the mobility and thematic development that are crucial in this career phase; therefore, the programme generally requires that the applicant change his or her research institution.

Eligibility Requirements

Only postdoctoral researchers at an early career phase are eligible to apply to this programme. The project may not be based at an entity that is for-profit or that does not permit the publication of findings in a generally accessible form.

Special provisions apply for individuals applying for a Walter Benjamin fellowship (abroad):

Funding abroad can only be provided if researchers are integrated into Germany’s academic research system. This is the case if, immediately prior to submitting a proposal, they have worked as a researcher in Germany for a continuous period of at least three years during their doctoral and/or postdoctoral phase.

If researchers are already based abroad, funding can be provided abroad if they have completed the majority of their schooling and higher education in Germany and, as of proposal time, have not spent more than three years abroad for research purposes after completing their doctorate in Germany or abroad.

Furthermore, they must not have worked longer than one year at the host institution selected for the Walter Benjamin fellowship as of proposal time.

Type and Extent of Funding

This depends on the choice of module. Abroad, funding is provided as a fellowship, whereas in Germany, as a position under the staff category “postdoctoral researcher and comparable” (or temporary substitute position usually under the staff category “medical research assistant”). Combining both is also possible. Regardless of your choice of module, an allowance will be provided for direct project costs, travel expenses and publication costs and, where applicable, increased publication costs (literature).

The fellowship comprises a monthly basic amount and, where applicable, foreign allowances, cost-of-living allowance, travel allowance as well as benefits for fellowship recipients with children.

It is expected that further requirements are covered by the institution at which the project is based. In particular for the project implementation in Germany, the host researchers are expected to support the project and the career development.

Funding Duration

As a rule, up to two years

Forms and Guidelines

Proposals may be submitted at any time.

Fellows located abroad can exchange information on all aspects of their fellowship via a mailing list.

Refugee researchers can submit a proposal for their own project to be carried out in Germany under the Walter Benjamin Programme (Walter Benjamin post).


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

Procedural questions can be directed to

Please also have a look at the detailed information on the

During Your Fellowship (Contact Persons at the Fellowship Office)

In case of questions or for further information on financial management, please contact the Fellowship Office through the following channels:

Further Information