Funding your doctoral degree

Financial matters

Finding funding for your doctoral degree can be a challenge, but there are a range of different options. The following are possible:

  1. A fixed-term position at the University financed by the FAU budget. Calls for applications (German) can be found under the job listings on UnivIS in the category ‘Wissenschaftlicher Dienst’.
  2. A position financed by third-party funding (German). These positions are usually fixed-term and are part of a particular project or research area.
  3. A position at a DFG Research Training Group or similar
  4. Financial support in the form of a scholarship; these are provided for example by various organisations for the promotion of young talent, e.g. stipendiumplus.
  5. Funding through collaborative projects with industry

Are you looking for a funding programme that is suitable for your subject? We have summarised some useful databases to assist you:

The Electronic Research Funding Information System (ELFI) offers registered users a comprehensive database of over 6000 national and international funding programmes. It is mainly aimed at researchers who are looking for third-party funding for their research project but also provides information about scholarships for all levels.

Access to ELFI is free of charge from inside the FAU network.

There are many scholarship opportunities in Germany. The following two databases contain information on scholarships from various funding institutions:

Additional calls for applications for scholarships are published regularly on the Graduate Centre’s blog.

The Deutsches Stiftungszentrum database provides an overview of over 450 foundations in Germany that provide funding for academic purposes.

Foundations at FAU

There are also a large number of foundations at FAU, some of which provide funding for young researchers at the University. We recommend you take a look at the individual foundations and their aims.

Scholarships for outstanding doctoral candidates

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) provides funding for political and church scholarship organisations that award scholarships to outstanding doctoral candidates who are actively involved in society. Most organisations also accept applications from non-German doctoral candidates.

Further information: StipendiumPlus

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has two funding databases for students and researchers at all levels (partly in German):

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation provides funding for international doctoral candidates to spend time researching in Germany and for German doctoral candidates to spend time researching abroad.

The following faculties and departments of FAU also provide information on funding opportunities (partly in German):

Further information:

It is important to attend national and international conferences to network and to stay informed of the latest research developments. We have listed a few tips on where to find funding for conference trips below.

The following options are available for doctoral candidates looking for funding to attend conferences as guests or speakers:

Funding from the chair’s budget: chairs have a small amount of funds reserved for travel expenses. If the chair considers it necessary for you to participate in a conference the costs may be covered by the chair or by third-party funding upon application. In the former case the trip will be classified as an official journey. Please read and ensure you adhere to the notes on travel authorisation form (German); in particular, please be aware that trips to conferences in which you are not an active participant can only be approved as training journeys.

Third-party projects: if you take part in a conference as part of a third-party project your costs may be covered by the funding provider, provided that you submit an application and it is accepted. The notes on travel authorisation form (German) also apply in this case.

Scholarship holders: some scholarships include funding for travel expenses. Please ask the scholarship organisation for information.

Women: funding for travel to conferences is available as part of FAU’s equality measures.

Graduate schools: some externally funded graduate schools and research training groups provide funding for their members (scholarship holders) and outstanding doctoral candidates to attend conferences.

Full or partial grants from the conference organiser: many conferences and summer schools offer grants for doctoral candidates to attend upon application. Please see the information provided on the conference website for details.

• In addition, for trips abroad: you can apply to the DAAD for funding to attend the conference.

It is not possible to provide general information for all doctoral candidates on health insurance, as ‘doctoral candidate’ is not a status recognised by insurance providers. Your status depends on your employment situation and income:

  • Low-income employment (total income below 450 euros per month): exempt from statutory insurance [Section 7 (1)(1) SGB V]. If you are in low-income employment you may choose to take our statutory or private insurance or to be added to your spouse’s statutory insurance.
  • Employee with an annual gross income of over 56,250 euros (2016) (equivalent to 4350 euros or more per month): exempt from statutory insurance [Section 6 (1)(1) SGB V]. You may choose to take out statutory or private insurance.
  • Other forms of employment with an income over over 450 euros per month: insurance obligatory [Section 5 (1)(1) SGB V]. You will normally have statutory insurance.
  • Employed in a position in which you are working on a qualification or a position that is part of a specific project: insurance obligatory [Section 5 (1)(1) SGB V]. You will normally have statutory insurance.
  • Employees: insurance is obligatory if your earn between 450.01 and 4462.50 euros per month (2016):
  • Not in any form of employment (e.g. receiving a scholarship, enrolled as a student or no income): exempt from statutory insurance [Section 6 (1)(1) SGB V]. If you are a doctoral candidate but not an employee you may choose to take out statutory or private insurance or to be added to your spouse’s insurance. If you are not in any form of employment the following applies:

Your health insurance provider is responsible for assessing your particular case.

Further links on health insurance

Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB) Fünftes Buch (V) – Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – (Artikel 1 des Gesetzes v. 20. Dezember 1988, BGBl. I S. 2477)