Press Release No. 26 | 8 June 2015
DFG Increases Research Fellowship Amounts for Recent Postdoctoral Researchers
More money to conduct first independent research project outside of Germany
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is increasing its research fellowships for recent postdoctoral researchers conducting their first research projects abroad to offer them better opportunities in international competition. A resolution concerning these fellowships made last year by the Joint Committee of Germany's biggest research funding organisation and the central self-governing organisation for research has now been implemented following approval by the federal government and the states in the Joint Science Conference (GWK). The increase with retroactive effect from 1 January 2015 means that fellowship holders will now get a basic monthly sum of 1,750 euros and a monthly fixed allowance for direct project costs of 250 euros.
The research fellowship programme, which was established many years ago and has been in demand ever since, enables DFG researchers to conduct a clearly defined research project outside of Germany. After gaining a doctorate, this kind of project is usually undertaken either independently or under the supervision of a qualified researcher at a well-established foreign research institution. For a period of up to 24 months, the benefits approved within the framework of this programme include the increased basic monthly sum, an allowance for direct project costs, travel and publication expenses, and a foreign allowance. Additional funds can also be allocated to fellowship holders with children. The foreign allowance is calculated on an individual basis and depends on the fellowship holder's personal life situation.
The research fellowship programme is one of the DFG's many measures to fund researchers in their postdoctoral phase. The aim is for researchers receiving funding through the programme to be able to establish or even expand on their contacts in the German research community during their time abroad, which means that they are still able to take part in scientific events in Germany during their time away. The DFG provides travel grants for this purpose. Return grants also make it easier to reintegrate into the German research system. They help fellowship holders to present the results of their project shortly after their return and to prepare them for their academic work in Germany going forward.
In 2014, the DFG funded a total of 706 research fellowship holders at foreign research institutions. Researchers who receive funding opt for a wide range of destinations. The majority of funded research visits (over 54 percent) see researchers head to the USA, followed by around 15 percent to the UK and 5 percent to Canada. The research fellowship is most frequently used in the life sciences. In 2014, a total of 434 fellowships receiving ongoing funding abroad derived from this scientific discipline, in addition to 169 from the natural sciences, 69 from the humanities and social sciences and 34 from engineering sciences.