FAQ: Emmy Noether Programme
Frequently asked questions
Which date is used to calculate the four-year period: the oral examination or the date on the doctoral diploma?
The date used to determine the four-year period, either the date on the diploma or the date of the viva voce, depends on the individual timing of your doctorate. The date on the diploma is the determining date if no more than one year passed between when you were presented with the diploma and when you took the viva voce examination. Otherwise, it is the date of the oral examination.
Which date is used to calculate the eligibility period if you have a joint doctorate (e.g. Dr. med. and PhD)?
The date of the first doctorate is normally used to calculate the eligibility period. A second doctorate can only be taken into account if you have changed subjects and your current research depends on the second doctorate because it cannot be carried out on the basis of the first.
To determine whether this situation applies to you, please contact the DFG department responsible for your subject area before submitting a proposal.
If the second doctorate can be used as the relevant date, another postdoctoral phase is required following this.
Periods of childcare during a regular or previously extended proposal period give rise to a fixed 2-year extension per child for women, and a fixed 1-year extension per child for men. This applies regardless of parental leave actually taken. If evidence can be provided of periods of childcare extending beyond one year, an extension of up to two years per child is also possible for men. The maximum extension allowed for proposal periods due to childcare is limited to six years for both women and men.
To calculate the extension, children under the age of 12 when the period begins who live permanently in the same household as the applicant are included.
Example 1: Doctorate awarded on 1 September 2014, regular funding period expires on 1 September 2018. For the first child, born on 2 December 2013, for women the period is extended by a fixed 2 years to 1 September 2020 and for men by a fixed 1 year to 1 September 2019. For the birth of the second child on 3 May 2017, for women the period is extended by another 2 years to 1 September 2022 and for men by another year to 1 September 2020.
Example 2: Date of doctorate and funding period as above. For the birth of the first child, born on 1 December 2016, for women the period is extended by a fixed 2 years to 1 September 2020 and for men by a fixed 1 year to 1 September 2019. However, for the birth of the second child on 1 December 2020, no extension is offered because the (extended) period had already expired.
Example 3: Date of doctorate and funding period as above. The birth of a child on 4 November 2017 results in the period being extended for women by a fixed 2 years. A man took one year's parental leave for childcare and worked part-time (50%) for a further year. His period is extended by a fixed 1 year plus an additional 6 months (due to part-time employment, 12*50% months), e.g. it will now expire on 1 March 2020.
- Documents accepted as evidence of periods of childcare exceeding one year include, for example, a signed confirmation from the employer of periods of full or partial parental leave taken or a reduction in working hours, or an official document relating to the claiming of parental allowance (Elterngeld or ElterngeldPlus). Part-time employment due to childcare will be taken into account proportionally. The reason for the reduction in hours must be clear from the document presented. If in doubt, please contact Head Office.
Can an independent junior research group within the Emmy Noether Programme be based outside Germany?
No, independent junior research groups within the Emmy Noether Programme must be based at universities or research institutions in Germany.
There is no financial upper limit for funding from the Emmy Noether Programme. In addition to your own position as group leader, you can apply for all the staff funding and direct project funding required to carry out your project.
Can I apply for funding from the Emmy Noether Programme without requesting a position as group leader for myself?
Normally, requests for funding from the Emmy Noether Programme must include the group leader position. An exception is only made in the case of junior professors or those at a similar qualifying stage, to whom the Emmy Noether Programme is open as group funding.
For researchers in clinical roles, it is possible to apply for a "rotation position" (which allows you to be temporarily replaced) instead of a group leader position, so that you can retain your clinical employment on a full-time or part-time basis (at least 49% of a full-time post) to carry out research for the Emmy Noether Programme.
Please do not attach any endorsements from third parties to your proposal. Only the information provided in the proposal will be reviewed and evaluated. To make sure all applicants receive equal treatment, endorsements are not passed on to reviewers or decision-making bodies.
The current average processing time for the Emmy Noether Programme is approximately eight months. For more details, please contact the DFG department responsible for your subject area.
Can I submit a proposal for a research grant with a PI position in addition to an Emmy Noether Programme proposal?
It is not possible to request a research grant with a PI position in addition to a proposal in the Emmy Noether Programme.
In the DFG’s view, leaders of junior research groups in the Emmy Noether Programme satisfy the prerequisites for classification within salary group 15 TV-L. However, the decision on classification is a matter for the employing university or research institution in each particular case.
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 conduct 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 junior research group leader. 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.
In individual cases, 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 leaders of junior research groups 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.
To prepare your interim report for the Emmy Noether Programme, please refer to the guidelines for final reports in the general guidelines for use (DFG form 2.00, C Annex I).
If you submitted your proposal before 31 December 2017, the interim report should be submitted no later than 6 months before the end of the second funding stage (of the fourth year) to ensure the third stage is approved in good time.
If you submitted your proposal on or after 1 January 2018, please note that submission of the interim report is essential for approval of the second stage of funding. It should therefore be submitted to the DFG 6 months before the end of the third year.
If you hold a DFG-funded post as a junior research group leader (or have applied for a rotation position) and are offered a professorship at a German university during the funding period, the project funding remains available for the remainder of the funding period; however, the funds approved for your position as group leader (or for the rotation position) are no longer applicable and no substitute is offered.
If you leave the German research system, the funding provided from the Emmy Noether Programme will come to an end.
I submitted my proposal before the changes to the Emmy Noether Programme implemented on 1 January 2018. Can I submit a separate proposal for a sixth funding year and the family allowance?
Yes, funding recipients from the Emmy Noether Programme who have not yet been offered a permanent professorship can submit a renewal proposal for a sixth year. The proposal may be submitted at the earliest after the third year of funding, in a separate document together with the interim report, and no later than six months before the end of the fifth year. The proposal should comply with the Proposal Preparation Instructions – Project Proposals (form 54.01) and requires an up-to-date employer’s declaration (form 53.12) from your university or research institution.
You can also apply informally to the DFG for the family allowance for the remainder of the funding period using form 41.46.
The department responsible for the relevant specialist area at DFG Head Office will be happy to answer your questions about submitting a proposal.
Procedural questions can be directed to