Funding for postdoctoral researchers and habilitation candidates

Funding for postdoctoral researchers and habilitation candidates

FAU supports young researchers with their work and professional development through a variety of measures.

The University has recently launched the FAU’s Emerging Talents Initiative (ETI)

Emerging Talents Initiative (ETI)

The Emerging Talents Initiative seeks to develop the careers of young researchers at FAU. Young researchers at FAU can apply up to six years after completing a doctoral degree if they have not yet completed a habilitation or an intermediary evaluation on the pathway towards a junior professorship. ETI particularly supports first-time applicants and female candidates. Young researchers from the Faculty of Medicine are not eligible for the ETI initiative and may instead apply for funding through the ELAN programme run by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research (IZKF).

ETI funding supports outstanding postdoctoral researchers by enabling them to apply to an external funding provider (e.g. Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) or European Research Council (ERC)) during the funding period (12 months). The maximum amount of funding that may be awarded is 15,000 euros.

Emerging Talents Initiative logo

Image: FAU

Within this budget, postdoctoral researchers may apply for any measures required to prepare their application for third-party funding, such as staff costs, consumables, publication costs or travel expenses. In addition, all recipients of ETI funding are offered supporting measures such as mentoring, courses on third-party applications and a network of young researchers.

Calls for applications are issued twice a year (next: June 2017).

More information on the programme is available on the Emerging Talents Initiative page.

Bridging scholarships for postdoctoral researchers from funds of the Ilse-und-Dr.-Alexander-Mayer Stiftung are a new funding option provided by FAU which facilitate the transition of outstanding young researchers from the doctoral to the postdoctoral phase of their careers.

Promising young researchers can apply for a scholarship of 2200 euros per month for a period of six months. In order to be eligible for such funding, applicants must be already assigned to a planned research project and have received an offer for a research associate position at FAU or they must have submitted an application for a postdoctoral scholarship.

More information on the requirements for an application is provided in the Scholarship guidelines.


Applications for these scholarships can be submitted to F4 – Office of Research Career Development and Graduate Centre at any time.

Application form

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Christian Schmitt-Engel.

Other research funding that can be applied for

FAU’s Emerging Fields Initiative (EFI)

aims to promote outstanding, preferably interdisciplinary research projects at an early stage and in a flexible and non-bureaucratic way. By applying for EFI funding, renowned FAU researchers can put visionary ideas into practice, allowing them to react more effectively to upcoming research challenges.

The first two rounds of EFI resulted in 18 ambitious projects from all five of the University’s faculties. FAU is currently funding these projects with a total of 12.4 million euros in funding.

It is possible to apply to the German Research Foundation (DFG) (German) for individual funding for specific purposes.

  • grants
  • academic networks
  • research scholarships
  • Emmy Noether programme
  • Reinhart Koselleck projects
  • clinical trials
  • young researchers academy

The research representatives at the faculties are happy to advise you on this subject.

The European Commission’s Marie-Curie-Maßnahmen (German) provide a range of opportunities for postdoctoral researchers to apply for funding for international projects.

Detailed information is available from FAU’s Office of Third-party Funding and Related Legal Affairs (German), which is responsible for EU research funding.

Vacancies for postdoctoral researchers and habilitation candidates

Information on positions for postdoctoral researchers is available on the FAU job portal. From here, you can look for suitable positions in UnivIS by selecting the category Wissenschaftlicher Dienst and the appropriate faculty.

Please note that vacancies are often posted directly on chairs’ website and therefore may not be listed in UnivIS. You can find an overview of the chairs on each faculty’s website (partly in German):

Akademische Rat auf Zeit

Many chairs offer postdoctoral researchers positions as ‘Akademischer Rat/Akademische Rätin auf Zeit’ or ‘Akademischer Oberrat/Akademische Oberrätin auf Zeit’. These are fixed-term public service contracts which are initially restricted to three years. A doctoral degree or the Second State Examination (Zweite Staatsprüfung) must be obtained to qualify for an appointment as Akademischer Rat. The only exceptions to this are for engineering subjects and Catholic and Protestant theology. For more information, see FAU’s human resources handbook.

These positions have both advantages and disadvantages.

The salary is generally higher than for research associate positions. However, these positions require employees to have private health insurance. Once you have switched from statutory to private health insurance, it can be difficult to switch back, which may be necessary if you are later employed under different conditions. It is also important to note that after the end of a fixed-term contract as Akademischer Rat you are not entitled to Arbeitslosengeld II unemployment benefit. If you did not have a new job after the fixed-term contract ended, you would be dependent on this unemployment benefit.

Erasmus+ teaching mobility (German) provides funding for guest lecturers at European partner universities in programme countries which have a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and some universities in specific partner countries.

This is an opportunity for some FAU professors to gain initial experience teaching in another country while working on their own research.

The position as a guest lecturer is usually filled by the co-ordinator named in the inter-institutional agreement as part of this programme. If they do not wish to carry out the stay as a guest lecturer themselves, another person from the same subject may take their place, provided the partner university agrees, and may then apply for funding with the co-ordinator’s consent.

The DAAD offers a return fellowship for postdoctoral researchers who would like to return to Germany after spending time in another country.

Postdoctoral researchers should also take a look at euraxess Germany (German) which provides information for international researchers who would like to come to Germany for a research project or German researchers who are planning a research stay in another European country.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (German) and the DAAD offer fellowships for international postdoctoral researchers who are coming to Germany and researchers based in Germany who want to go abroad.

FAU’s Welcome Centre supports international postdoctoral researchers with all organisational questions before they arrive and during their stay in Erlangen or Nuremberg. In addition, FAU’s Dual Career Service can provide assistance for partners of international postdoctoral researchers when looking for work.

Further information on research funding

FAU’s pages on services for researchers also provide comprehensive information on research funding. The Faculty of Medicine has its own website on research funding at the Faculty (German).

It is also worth taking a look at the funding databases that we have listed for you.