The Leopoldina Fellowship Programme is an initiative by the National Academy of Sciences to encourage future generations of exceptional young scientists. It was set up by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 1997 and has been organised by the Leopoldina since then. Since 2009, the programme has been a fixture in the Academy’s institutional budget and is funded jointly by the BMBF and the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
The programme has four elements:
The Leopoldina Postdoc Scholarship is awarded to outstanding postdoctoral scientists in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is aimed at up-and-coming young scientists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland who have already begun conducting independent research in natural science or medicine. Those awarded the scholarship are given the opportunity to carry out a postdoctoral research project at a renowned research institute, usually abroad. Austrian and Swiss scholarship recipients may only conduct their funded projects in Germany.
Successful candidates usually spend two years at the host institute, but this may be extended to three years in certain cases. Once the funding comes to an end, they are expected to return to their home country and implement their newly acquired knowledge and skills there.
The follow-up funding starts once the postdoc funding has come to an end and may run for up to five years. During this period, former research fellows will receive a limited amount of support in the form of, for example, equipment and travel grants to allow them to present the results of the research funded by the Leopoldina Postdoc Scholarship.
The Returning Fellow Scholarship is aimed at selected outstanding scientists who have received Leopoldina funding and is intended to help them reintegrate into the German scientific community after returning from carrying out their research project abroad. If necessary, returning scientists may be awarded a grant for a limited period of time as they search for long-term employment.
The Mentoring Programme teams up scholarship research fellows in Germany and abroad with Academy members who have similar research interests. These mentors can provide the young researchers with appropriate, tailored advice and suggest useful contacts at institutes and in industry.
The funding budget allows the Academy to finance about 35 Leopoldina Postdoc Scholarships every year. Around 20 new scholarships are awarded each year.
Leopoldina Meeting “Ergebnisse des Leopoldina-Förderprogramms X”
Friday, 26 February 2016, Halle (Saale)
Coordinator of the Fellowship Programme
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