Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience

The DAAD PRIME programme funds temporary positions at German universities to support the international mobility of postdoctoral researchers with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Postdoctoral researchers who see their long-term career perspectives in Germany receive funding for a research stay abroad based on a temporary position at a German university.
In addition to the stay abroad, the funding also includes a mandatory return phase for subsequent reintegration into the German science system.

Who can apply?
Applicants with above-average qualifications from all faculties can apply. They must have completed their doctorate with very good results before the start of funding.
There are no restrictions regarding nationality and current residency. However, depending on nationality and place of residence, restrictions may apply when choosing the destination country for the stay abroad (see application requirements).

What can be funded?
We provide funding for an 18-month employment contract at a German university to conduct a 12-month research stay abroad with a subsequent return phase to Germany.
During your 12 months abroad, you may combine stays at several research institutions in one or several countries. Please indicate all host institutions in the application form.

Duration of funding
We provide support for 18 months: the first 12 months are spent abroad and the remaining 6 months of the return phase are spent in Germany (funding cycle 12+6).
Integration into the German social security system is a prerequisite for the research stay abroad, therefore funding may have to begin with a 1-month starting phase in Germany (funding cycle 1+12+5). The respective local statutory insurance determines your status.

The DAAD will conclude a grant agreement with the respective German university covering the costs for the regular salary and the monthly expatriate allowance.

  • temporary 18-month employment contract at a German university according to pay scale TV-L EG 13. Your exact pay is determined by the universities based on your previous work experience.
  • Expatriate allowance: A monthly expatriate allowance for the research stay abroad is based on an area classification of the destination and the gross income of the fellows.
  • Travel allowance:
    PRIME Fellows receive the DAAD lump sum travel subsidy for postdoctoral scientists. Spouses (either by marriage or according to the German law on civil partnerships) and children are also eligible if they accompany the fellow for at least one month during the research stay abroad. The travel allowance is not part of the grant agreement with the German university but is paid directly by DAAD.

Application requirements
Eligibility requirements

  • Only candidates with an above-average scientific record will be considered. You must have completed your doctorate before the start of funding with very good marks (at least magna cum laude / very good for a doctorate in Germany). If the doctorate is not graded, the decision lies with the DAAD selection committee.
  • While not recommended, it is possible to apply in the final stages of the doctorate.
  • Applicants must comply with the programme’s mobility rule, i.e., they are free to choose any country (except Germany) as destination for their research stay abroad, provided they have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country for more than 12 months in total during the three years preceding the application deadline of 31 August 2022. Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention will not be taken into account.
  • Applicants who are EU nationals, resident citizens, or have been continuously active in research for three years’ full-time equivalent in the EU prior to the time of recruitment may spend their research stay outside of the EU. All other applicants must stay in the European Union for their 12-months “abroad” phase.
  • To be considered for funding, applicants living abroad are expected to state their intent to continue their research careers in Germany upon completion of the return phase.
  • Applicants who are already permanently employed by the research milieu where the research training activities are planned to take place and that is recruiting them may not be supported.
  • Applicants must accept that the research stay abroad and the return phase to Germany are both mandatory parts of the programme.
  • With your application, you agree to the “Rules of good scientific practice” and the ethical guidelines of the programme.
  • Additional requirements
  • Appropriate host institutions in Germany and abroad must have been identified at the time of application. The contact with these institutions and the agreement on modalities are the responsibility of the applicant.
  • The employing host institution in Germany must be a university.
  • The German host university must confirm in writing that the postdoc will be employed for the entire funding period, should the application be successful. The necessary funds will be made available to  the university through separate DAAD project funding. The university will nominate a mentor/scientific host for the fellow. In the invitation, the German university should comment on the prospect for a sustained research career at the institution. Universities are not required to provide a legally binding financial commitment beyond the DAAD funding period, but hosts are expected to demonstrate a sustained commitment to the candidate’s career development. o The foreign host institution must be selected according to the scientific preferences/needs of the research project. It can be a university, a non-university research institute, or an industrial research entity. It must be willing to support the postdoc in the implementation of her/his research project and provide the necessary infrastructure. The type of support (office space, access to equipment, laboratories, libraries etc.) must be described in the invitation letter. DAAD cannot make funding available to the foreign host institution.
  • The starting date of the fellowship must be between 1 June 2023 and 1 November 2023. Postponement is possible only in exceptional circumstances (e.g., pregnancy, motherhood, parental leave) and must be approved by DAAD.

Documents to be uploaded in the DAAD-Portal:

  • completed application form
  • curriculum vitae without chronological gaps and in tabular form (please specify the month and duration, e.g., MM / YY – MM / YY); e.g., EU standard
    • short summary/abstract of the research project (not to exceed half a page8) with
    • a clearly recognizable working title and
    • an indication of keywords. The summary must enable the allocation to a specific subject area and be suitable as preliminary information for potential reviewers.
  • a detailed and independently prepared research proposal coordinated with the German and foreign host. In the evaluation of the proposal particular emphasis will be put on the quality of the research plan. It should detail your own preparatory work, explain the relevance of the subject area for research and why the selected host institute is particularly suitable for carrying out the project. The strategy for examining the scientific problem should be understandable and the choice of methods and work equipment be adequately explained. Please provide a precise description and a clear presentation. The total length of the research project should not exceed 7–8 pages (without references). Bibliographical references may be included as an annex.
  • time schedule for the realization of the planned work abroad and in Germany (e.g., Gantt chart)
  • binding declaration from the German host university (form 1, word/pdf) to provide a temporary position for the funding period according to TV-L E13 within the framework of DAAD project funding, should the application be successful.
  • invitation letter from the German host (form 2, word/pdf). This letter should detail why the university is particularly suitable for the implementation of the research project, the support to be provided, the name(s) of the mentor/scientific host, and the longer-term research and career perspectives at the institution.
  • invitation letter from the foreign host. This letter should detail why the institution is particularly suitable for carrying out the research project, the support to be provided and the name(s) of the mentor/scientific host.
  • certificates of the two most recent academic degrees (usually doctorate and master or comparable degree) with a transcript of records/marksheet. If there is no transcript available for the respective degree certificate, you must explain why. If the document is not available in German or English, a German or English translation is required.
  • If the doctorate has not yet been completed, a statement from the PhD supervisor is required, in which she/he explains when successful completion of the doctorate is expected.
  • In the application process, a pdf version of the degree certificates will suffice. However, successful candidates must provide a certified copy of the PhD certificate before starting their fellowship.
  • publication list categorized according to publications in peer-reviewed journals, books, and conference proceedings, and indicating the type of publication (original paper, review etc.). For each publication the state of publication (published, in print, accepted, submitted) and complete bibliographical information (including the first and last page number) must be provided. Please include electronic links if available.
  • list of the most important publications (min. 1, max. 3) and reasons for their selection (importance of the scientific results, significance for the research project, new methodological approach etc., max. 1 page). Please comment on your specific contribution if several authors are involved. For each of the max. 3 publications the electronic link (URL) must be provided. If the publications are not available online, single articles can also be uploaded. However, please strictly refrain from uploading entire monographs/volumes as part of the application.
  • short summary of the doctoral thesis (1-2 pages)
  • supplementary information (optional) on other scientific, professional, and social activities, or on your personal situation, as far as you consider this information relevant for the assessment of your proposal and want to make the selection committee aware of it.
  • completed and signed ethics issues checklist (form 3, word/pdf)9 for checking whether ethical standards of scientific research might be affected by the planned research project. This document is a mandatory declaration and must be submitted by every applicant.
  • language certificate for the period abroad: For postdoctoral research stays we generally assume that English is the working language at the host institute. Confirmation by the host institute and a proof of language proficiency are not required. If knowledge of other languages is required to carry out the project, e.g., for fieldwork, the following regulations apply:

A proof of language proficiency is not required in the following cases:

  • The respective language is the applicant’s mother tongue.
  • The applicant has studied / completed a degree programme in the respective language (proof required).
  • The applicant has lived consecutively for at least one year in a country in which the respective language is the official language.
  • The applicant has worked continuously for at least one year in an environment in which the respective language was used as the permanent working language.

Please indicate if one of the exceptions mentioned here applies to you and briefly explain how language proficiency may be verified by other documents in your application (e.g., curriculum vitae). This will facilitate the formal examination of the application.
If none of the exceptions above apply, proof of language proficiency is required. An official language certificate for the respective language will be accepted, which should not be older than three years and must describe all four aspects of language proficiency (speaking, listening, reading, writing).10 Certificates of participation in language courses will not be accepted if they do not rate the above-mentioned aspects of language proficiency.

  • A German certificate 11 is required unless one of the following exceptions applies:
    • The applicant originates from a country where German is the official language;
    • The applicant has lived consecutively in a German-speaking country for at least one year;
  • knowledge of English is sufficient to implement the planned project, please commentchecklist of the application documents (form 4, word/pdf)
  • one confidential letter of recommendation from a university professor and the corresponding recommendation form. The recommendation form is available in the DAAD portal’s section “Personal Funding”; after registering, the document can be generated. The letter of recommendation should refer to the applicant’s personal and scientific suitability for the planned project. It should usually be submitted by the supervisor of the doctoral thesis. If this is not the case, please explain. The recommendation letter must be sent by post to DAAD, Section ST43/PRIME, either by the author or the applicant.

Schedule/Application deadline
Announcement of the call: May 2022
Application deadline: 31 August 2022
Selection result: early March 2023
Orientation seminar for new fellows: March/April 2023
Earliest starting date: 1 June 2023
Latest starting date: 1 November 2023

further information