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Fellowship Program

FAQ – Leopoldina Postdoc Scholarship

Application requirements

Can I apply before I have completed my doctoral degree?

You can apply as soon as the doctoral procedure has officially been opened (examination office receipt). However, you should submit comments from the reviewers of the dissertation or copies of the reviews so that we can assess your performance. In addition, a manuscript of your dissertation (pdf file) or the publications containing the results of your dissertation must be submitted. In case of admission, the research fellowship can only be started after completion of the doctorate (after receipt of the certificate).

When is a doctoral qualification considered to be completed?

You can apply as soon as the doctoral procedure has officially been opened (examination office receipt). However, you should submit comments from the reviewers of the dissertation or copies of the reviews so that we can assess your performance. In addition, a manuscript of your dissertation (pdf file) or the publications containing the results of your dissertation must be submitted. In case of admission, the research fellowship can only be started after completion of the doctorate (after receipt of the certificate).

More than seven years have passed since I was awarded my doctoral degree. Can I still apply for a postdoctoral scholarship?

You can apply as soon as the doctoral procedure has officially been opened (examination office receipt). However, you should submit comments from the reviewers of the dissertation or copies of the reviews so that we can assess your performance. In addition, a manuscript of your dissertation (pdf file) or the publications containing the results of your dissertation must be submitted. In case of admission, the research fellowship can only be started after completion of the doctorate (after receipt of the certificate).

Is parental leave taken into account when evaluating scientific achievement?

You can apply as soon as the doctoral procedure has officially been opened (examination office receipt). However, you should submit comments from the reviewers of the dissertation or copies of the reviews so that we can assess your performance. In addition, a manuscript of your dissertation (pdf file) or the publications containing the results of your dissertation must be submitted. In case of admission, the research fellowship can only be started after completion of the doctorate (after receipt of the certificate).

I am already or have recently been in the designated host country. Do any formal reasons speak against an application?

You can apply if:

  • You were in Germany when you first applied to the Leopoldina.
  • You do not spend more than two months in the host country after the Leopoldina receives your application and do not work on the proposed project.
  • You have pursued your scientific career in Germany for more than six months after a longer stay (twelve months or more) in the host country at the time the Leopoldina receives your application.
  • You completed your doctoral degree in the host country and have received your doctoral certificate at the time the Leopoldina receives your application.
  • A change of academic environment (place of work, working group) is a prerequisite for applications to be considered.

Can I apply if I’m not a German citizen?

An application is possible if you have continuously lived in Germany for at least five years at the time of application and if Germany can be proven to be your long-term center of residence and work. Applicants from Switzerland and Austria may only apply for funding grants in Germany.

I’m a German citizen but have been living abroad for several years. Can I apply?

Your life should clearly be centered in Germany. Therefore, you cannot apply if you have been living abroad continuously for more than five years. This also applies if you have completed your studies and doctorate abroad.

I have an MD / Dr med. degree. Do special admission requirements apply to me?

An application is possible if a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree is available. Purely clinical work without any research experience does not correspond to the target profile of the program.

Host institute

Who can be my academic host?

Scientists working abroad at universities and research institutes that are outstanding in the respective subject can act as hosts.

Can two academic hosts accompany my research project?

Yes, if the hosts are working at different research institutions, separate host statements and placing confirmations are required.

What is expected from the host?

The Leopoldina will finance the scholarship in order for you to remain largely independent. The host must, however, guarantee the basis for the implementation of the project, the workplace, and other necessary working conditions. If the funding period is extended, the Leopoldina aims to involve the host.

Preparation/planning

Are there deadlines for the submission of applications?

No, applications are processed in an ongoing process and presented to the committee at the subsequent selection meeting. Complete applications should be submitted in good time before each meeting since processing an application takes between three and six months.

When and how often do selection meetings take place?

Four selection meetings are scheduled each year at intervals of roughly three months.

Can I apply for a scholarship for less than six months?

No, the program is designed for contiguous projects with a duration of one to two years, and where appropriate three years.

Can I divide my stay at the host research institute into separate chunks?

No, the research period must be continuous.

When is the earliest time I can start my scholarship?

Once the allocation committee has made its decision and you have received your letter of approval, you can usually begin your scholarship on the first day of the following month. There are exceptions if the doctorate has not yet been completed or visa formalities are still required.

When do I have to start my scholarship at the latest?

The scholarship should be started no later than six months after the positive selection decision. Any exceptions to this rule will be decided individually upon application and after evaluation of the reasons.

How much is my scholarship?

You will be informed of the scholarship amount once your application has been approved. In general, the same rules apply as for the research scholarships at the German Research Foundation. You can find model calculations on the DFG’s website.

Will the scholarship money be paid retroactively if I am already working at the host institute at the time of the decision?

No, the scholarship money is not paid retroactively. The first payment is made during the first month.

Can I apply for a scholarship to another institution at the same time?

Parallel applications to another institution are generally possible. You must state this and the date of the application in your letter of application and inform us immediately of any further parallel applications and decisions during the application procedure. An application for a Leopoldina scholarship is not possible or cannot be maintained if a scholarship from another funding organization has already been accepted for the same period and the same project.

I have received a scholarship from another institution, but only for a certain period of time. Can I apply to the Leopoldina in order to continue the project?

No, a follow-up grant is not possible. Please note that if you arrive at the host institute before the beginning of your scholarship period, this may lead the Leopoldina to reject your application for a scholarship as it will be regarded as follow-up funding. It can not be regarded as a familiarization period if the recipient stays at the host institution for more than two months prior to the beginning of the Leopoldina sponsorship.

Application formalities

Where should I send my application?

Please send your application directly to the President of the Leopoldina in Halle, at the following address:

Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
- Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften -
Der Präsident
Postfach 110543
06019 Halle (Saale)
Germany

Can I send my application via e-mail only?

No, this is not yet possible. Please always send a hard copy of your application documents by postal mail.

How should I present my application?

Please present single copies of all documents as loose sheets, but held together by e.g. spring binders or paper clips. Only attach hard copies of your publications if an electronic copy is not available. For easier processing of your application please send us as much as you can electronically (in *.pdf or *.doc format), preferably via e-mail or as a CD-ROM.

Should reference letters be sent directly to the Leopoldina or should they be attached to the application?

Both are possible. Reference letters can either be submitted with the application or sent by the reviewers directly to the President of the Academy under the password “Förderprogramm”. In order to be accepted, all references must be current.

What happens if reference letters are submitted before the application?

Reference letters not immediately attributable to an application are kept for up to six months and then destroyed without notification.

Is one reference letter by a Leopoldina member or head of an institute etc. enough?

Formally, this meets the requirements and makes sense if the reference provider knows and is able to evaluate your scientific career and your previous scientific achievements. If he or she is not familiar with you and your previous scientific work, at least one further letter of reference is very useful.

Who should write a reference letter for my application and how many do I need?

Reference assessors are scientists with a relevant academic background who are to assess your scientific career and potential as well as your previous scientific achievements. It is therefore important that reference reviewers are well acquainted with your previous scientific activities. In total, there should be no less than two letters of reference. Please note: The host's declaration does not count as a reference letter!

Which publications should I attach to my application?

You should enclose copies of about three publications, at least one of them dating back to the last two years. Please select the most important and most current publications to which you have contributed the most. If the number of publications is lower, please attach your dissertation if necessary (only as an electronic version!).

My publications are not yet finished, can I still apply?

No, unfortunately not! Among other things, the publications should prove that you have already made important scientific contributions in your field. This is hardly possible without published work. An application submitted would, if necessary, be postponed until at least one publication in the first authorship is out. The quality of the publishing journal is an additional criterion.

What should be included in the list of publications?

Include all the publications you have authored or co-authored. Also, include lectures and poster presentations and, if applicable, their publication as abstracts.

Should I include articles currently under review or planned publications in my publications list?

Please, only list publications already submitted for review (please include the name of the journal!). You should notify us as soon as the publication has been accepted by sending us a copy of the confirmation letter, as publications that have been rejected cannot be considered in the assessment of your publication achievements.

I have not yet completed my doctoral degree. Do I hand in my doctoral certificate later?

Yes. As soon as you finish your doctoral degree we need at least a (preliminary) official confirmation by the university. You may not begin the scholarship without a copy of this document.

Selection procedure

Will you confirm receipt of my application and of further documents and references?

You will be notified (usually by e-mail) as soon as we receive your application. Due to the large numbers of applications we receive, we cannot always separately confirm receipt of further documents and letters of reference. We will, however, get in touch if we require further documents for your application.

How much time do I have to send further documents or to update what I have already sent?

Submitted applications should be complete. Letters of reference should either be handed in together with the application or shortly afterward in order to avoid unnecessary application processing delays. If any of your publications that were under review at the time of application are subsequently accepted, please immediately send us a copy of the letter of confirmation. Updates to your list of publications can be considered up to the day of the selection meeting. Please send us any updates via e-mail as a separate attachment to your list of publications.

Will I be informed of the date when my application will be decided on?

If the formal examination of your application has been completed positively, the expert review will begin. You will be notified if the pre-selection committee sees a need for clarification or rejects the application. In the meantime, you can obtain information about the status of the procedure or the planned decision date by e-mail or telephone. Should the expert assessment of your application take longer than expected, you will also be informed of any necessary postponement of the decision date. We will inform you by e-mail about the decision of the selection committee as soon as possible after the selection meeting. As a rule, you will receive the official notification by postal mail a few days later.

Who will be evaluating my application?

The evaluation of your application is carried out independently.

Who makes the decision on my application?

The final decision on all applications is made by the allocation committee. The allocation committee is composed of Leopoldina members representing all disciplines for which applications have been submitted.

If my application is rejected, will I be informed of the reasons?

In each selection round, the best 20 to 25 percent of applicants are chosen for direct allocation of a research grant. Whether an application is accepted or rejected always depends on the merits of the competing applicants. This means it is often not possible to give specific reasons why a certain application has been rejected. If the selection committee basically rates a particular applicant’s qualifications as being among the top 25 percent, but there are other specific reasons for rejecting the application, the decision can be a “rejection with advice”. In such cases, the letter of rejection will point out which aspects, in the committee’s opinion, are in need of further improvement (e.g., publication achievements or the research proposal). A renewed application at a later date may be possible in such cases.

Will my application documents be returned to me after the selection process has been completed?

No. If necessary, the documents you submit will be archived, the rest will be destroyed. Therefore, please do not submit any originals, but only copies (not even certified copies). Books, monographs or dissertations should only be submitted upon request; we will return them to you after the procedure has been completed. If you send a stamped envelope, we will return all documents in case of rejection

Selection

What percentage of applications are successful?

On a long-term average, about a quarter of applications are successful.

What are the most important criteria for selection?

The evaluation focuses on the individual scientific qualifications of the applicants. Information on the selection criteria and overall requirements can be found in the program information.

May I apply again if my application is rejected?

It is possible to apply again. However, the application must differ substantially from the rejected first application. A new application usually only makes sense after further scientific development, e.g. if new scientific publications have appeared in journals and publishing houses reviewed according to international standards. Experience has shown that a new application should therefore be submitted at the earliest after one year, rather two. If a new application is not significantly different from the rejected first application, it may be a reason for the formal rejection. As an exception, the allocation committee may recommend submitting an identical project proposal after submitting amendments.

CONTACT

Leopoldina

PD Dr. Andreas Clausing

Coordinator of the Fellowship Programme

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 150
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 139
E-Mail andreas.clausing @leopoldina.org