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Dahlem Research School Post-doctoral HONORS Fellowships 2018, Germany

Free University of Berlin


January 31, 2018

Opportunity Cover Image - Dahlem Research School Post-doctoral HONORS Fellowships 2018, Germany

Call for Applications for HONORS Fellowships 2018

The HONORS fellowships are aimed at candidates who have submitted their doctoral thesis in one of the DRS doctoral programs. To apply, candidates are expected to propose an independently developed research project that will be supported by their prospective scientific advisors at Freie Universität Berlin. Applications that involve collaborative research with existing or potential partner institutions are strongly encouraged.

The Dahlem Research School is calling for applications for 

5 post-doctoral HONORS fellowships

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates may apply if they are a member of one of the doctoral programs of Dahlem Research School and

  • they have submitted their dissertation
  • the date of the defense lies within 12 months of the application deadline (if the dissertation has already been defended)
  • they completed their doctoral studies within 3.5 years (time between begin of studies and submission of dissertation). In exceptional circumstances a duration of up to 4.5 years may be accepted.
  • they have developed and propose an interdisciplinary and innovative research project
  • they are supported by a professor of Freie Universität Berlin who provides a letter of recommendation with an evaluation on the candidate’s proposed HONORS project and confirmation that he/she agrees to act as scientific advisor during the time of the fellowship
  • their PhD supervisor provides a reference letter in which the quality of the dissertation is evaluated. 

(In the case that the PhD supervisor will act as the future academic advisor, only one letter of recommendation with all the aspects mentioned above is needed.)

In order to strengthen the academic networks of Freie Universität Berlin, collaborative research projects with existing or potential partner institutions are highly welcome.

Application Procedure & Required Documents

Once registered, please fill out the online application and upload all required documents. Please note that as part of the application you need to ask your prospective advisor to nominate two external experts (not from Freie Universität Berlin) to review your application.

Due to the international compositon of the peer review and the interview panels, the application form has to be filled out in English and the interviews will take place in English.

Data to be entered online:

  • Personal data
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Academic Profile
  • Proposed Research Project (working title and abstract)
  • Time Schedule
  • Details of PhD supervisor and future academic advisor

Documents to be uploaded:

  • Project proposal (max. of 5 A4 pages) including the following points:
    - Summary of no more than one page
    - Context, scientific questions and objectives of your research project
    - Current state of research and most relevant literature
    - Theoretical framework and research methods
    - Bibliography/ References
  • Proof of submission of the doctoral thesis
  • or proof of defense of the doctoral thesis
  • MA/ MSc or equivalent certificate/ certified translation
  • BA / BSc or equivalent certificate/ certified translation
  • List of publications, presentations, prizes and awards

Documents to be uploaded by referees:

  • Letter of recommendation provided by the future academic supervisor
  • Letter of recommendation provided by supervisor of the doctoral thesis

(In the case that the PhD supervisor will act as the future academic advisor, only one letter of recommendation with all the aspects mentioned overleaf is needed.)

Selection Procedure

I. Eligibility check

The eligibility check is conducted by the DRS fellowship team.

Only complete applications that meet all eligibility criteria will be passed on to the next phase of the selection process.

II. Peer review

The DRS invites an external review from one of the experts who were nominated by the scientific advisor as part of the candidate's application. The external review will be based on the following criteria:

Quality and innovation of the research proposal (60%)

Convincing statement of motivation with regard to future career aspirations in academia (20%)

Proof of scientific excellence as evidenced by the previous career track, publications, awards, successful funding applications, etc. (20%)

Applications will be scored and the ten highest ranking candidates will be invited for a short interview.

III. Structured interviews

The structured interviews are conducted by an interdisciplinary selection board recruited from Freie Universität’s junior professors, junior group leaders and DRS postdoctoral fellows. Based on the interview scores, the panel prepares a ranking list.

Process: Each interview will last 10 minutes.

Candidates give a presentation of their project. The presentation should be clear and understandable to non-specialists. Although notes may be used, the presentation should not be read from a script. (5 min.)

The panel will ask questions relating to the project and the future career plans of the candidate. (5 min.)

The five top-listed candidates will be approved by the steering committee of DRS and will be recommended to the Executive Board of Freie Universität. Criteria in the interview are:

Clarity of research idea and convincing defense of the proposed research project (60%)

Convincing statement of motivation with regard to future career aspirations (20%)

Overall quality of candidate’s presentation (20%)

The steering committee (Ständige Kommission - SK) of DRS will approve all recommended applications.

IV. Final assessment

The final selection is conducted by the Executive Board of Freie Universität Berlin. The assessment is made on the basis of the external peer reviews and the structured interviews. Up to five fellowships can be offered in each round (up to 10 per year). The most important criterion is scientific excellence.


Financial Support in accordance with the DFG stipend rates

Monthly base amount: 1,750 €

Monthly research contribution: 103 €

Monthly child allowance

For the first child: 400 €

For each additional child: 100 €

Professional Development

HONORS Fellows are entitled to take part in the DRS Qualification Programs and may attend courses in the areas Academic Performance, Management Competencies und Career Development, as appropriate to their career phase.

The Researcher Development Program is aimed mainly at PhD holders while the Professional Development Program addresses PhD candidates as well as postdocs. 


Each fellow will have a scientific advisor who will provide subject-specific advice during regular meetings and support their professional development through integration into department/ institute courses and activities.

For more information click "Further official information" below.

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Study Levels
Publish Date
November 29, 2017


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