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External Funding Opportunities

Many external funding organizations are targeting young scientists with special funding programs. From the abundance of offers, we have compiled the most important grants and funding programs for you.

EU-Horizon 2020

As part of the Framework Program for Research and Innovation (HORIZON 2020), the European Union supports both the career development and the establishment and consolidation of scientific independence of promising and excellent young researchers at postdoc level.


 The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Individual Fellowships (IF) serve the individual career development of experienced researchers through training, research and international or intersectoral mobility. Extensions of competence on a broad basis are intended to pave the way for a successful career. "Experienced researchers" who already have completed, either a first doctorate, or at least 4 years of full-time research experience are entitled to apply.

Der ERC is the EU's excellence program for individual, excellent researchers and their research teams. It supports innovative basic research and pioneering research on the edge of scientific knowledge. Funded projects are characterized by breakthrough, high-risk research that promises a high scientific yield. The ERC is divided into several sections whereby young scientists can be supported either through starting grants (2-7 years after graduation) or consolidator grants (7-12 years after graduation).

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

The DFG supports young scientists at all stages of their scientific careers. On the one hand this is done through direct support; on the other hand, DFG-supported programs offer room for further qualification.

Founding Opportunities

The acquisition of your own DFG funded project is of great importance for your scientific career. With first applicants, the application assessment places particular weight on the personal potential and the quality of the proposed project, whereas project-specific preparatory work or project-specific publications are less heavily weighted. Please consult the DFG Programs for young scientists from the Referat Forschungsförderung (Research Promotion Department). For more information on the internal procedures, click here.

Scientific Career: Prior to Appointment


To give outstanding young scientists the opportunity to quickly qualify for a position of scientific leadership, especially as a university lecturer, through autonomous management of a junior research group, combined with skill-related teaching assignments.


The Heisenberg program is primarily aimed at scientists who have gained their employability through the Emmy Noether program, DFG project sites, research activities in the business world, or by holding a mid-level faculty position. The target group also includes positively evaluated junior professors, persons who qualified as a professor, or had such qualification equivalent, and German returnees from abroad, as well as foreign scholars who wish to work in Germany and are appropriately qualified.


NRW-State Programes


Excellently qualified young researchers are the foundation for top research in NRW. For this reason, the country supports the academic career of young scientists through various programs and programs:

 Foundation and other Funding Agencies



A large number of foundations support young scientists in the course of their careers. Through the Foundation for German Science you will find specific foundations that offer funding in your area.

Additionally, you will find here a selection of the most important foundations:


The AvH promotes scientific co-operation between excellent foreign and German researchers through research grants and research awards. These funds can either be used for research abroad or by foreign applicants for research projects in Germany.


Der DAAD funds the international exchange of students and scholars. In the DAAD scholarship bank you will find DAAD-scholar DAAD scholarships for stays abroad during the doctoral studies, but also international scholarships from other sponsors.



The Daimler und Benz FoundationStiftungsupports annually selected postdoctoral candidates, junior professors or heads of young research groups with 10 scholarships. The annual grant is EUR 20,000 per scholarship awarded for a period of two years: to finance scientific assistants, technical equipment, research trips or to attend meetings.


The Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation is active in the fields of history, language and culture, "Image and Imagery", state, economy & society, international relations and medicine and natural sciences. In these areas, applications for project funding, conferences, scholarships, travel, printing and library grants can be submitted. Additionally, funds can be used in international scholarship and exchange programs. The Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation promote the translation of outstanding works in the humanities and social sciences into English with the "Geisteswissenschaften International – Prize for the promotion of translation of works in the humanities".


The Hans Böckler Foundation supports junior professors (junior professorships, younger university graduates with completed German Habilitation, and private lecturers as well as university lecturers) by the promotion and organization of young researcher groups and the establishment of doctoral colleges.


The Heinrich Hertz-Foundation promotes scientific exchange by awarding scholarships for international research stays. Possible recipients of a Heinrich Hertz fellowship are scientists who are active in North Rhine-Westphalia and are planning a research project abroad, and scientists who are working abroad and are planning a research project in North Rhine-Westphalia.



The Robert Bosch Foundation offers a wide range of scholarship programs to promote the exchange and training of international junior executives. The majority of the programs are aimed at university graduates and postgraduates from America and Europe. The scholarships are only awarded within the framework of tenders.



In addition to the promotion of people and structures, the VW-Foundation's portfolio also contains the funding area challenges – for science and society, international affairs, open to the extraordinary, and knowledge transfer and communication. Especially the "Freigeist Fellowship" program as well as the program "Lichtenberg Professorships" (funding with the tenure track option) could be of interest. But also the funding initiative "Original – isn’t it?" for humanities and cultural studies, as well as "Experiment!" for new research projects from the natural sciences, engineering and life sciences offer a funding perspective to original and risky research ideas:

Here you find more selected foundations.

Internet Portals and job exchanges for young researchers

Die Deutsche Gesellschaft Juniorprofessur e.V. is the interest representation of junior professors in Germany. The goal of the non - profit organization is to promote networking and the exchange of information among junior professors, to be a communication platform for junior professors and to provide ideas and financial support.


Academics is a career portal for science and research, providing job offers, advice on application and career paths, as well as scientific practice.


KISSWIN is an information and communication platform supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for young academics on the Internet. KISSWIN provides information and advice on scientific career paths, funding opportunities and funding organizations, as well as workshops on career-promoting topics and databases for job promotion and foundation research.


EURAXESS is an information and counseling center for scientists who wish to come to Germany, or others, who want to go abroad, to implement a scientific activity.