FAQ for German Chancellor Fellows

Guidelines and Information for German Chancellor Fellowships (PDF, 663 KB) 

Where can I find relevant information about my fellowship?

The main and binding document for your fellowship are the Guidelines and Information for German Chancellor Fellows. Please read these Guidelines carefully and consult them for any questions you may have. By accepting the fellowship you confirm that you agree to be bound by the conditions of the German Chancellor Fellowship and undertake to devote yourself fully to the purpose of your fellowship for the duration of the sponsorship period.

Section A of the Guidelines contains in particular the contractually binding information on your fellowship; in section B you will find general conditions and important information; section C of the Guidelines comprises information on alumni sponsorship and the Humboldt Network. The last two pages of the Guidelines contain a checklist and the schedule for your fellowship.

What is the purpose of the fellowship?

The purpose of the fellowship is to carry out the project described in your application and agreed with your host at a host institute in Germany (cf. Guidelines A.1.). The fellowship grant is intended to cover your cost of living in Germany. If you fail to meet the purpose of the fellowship or its requirements – conducting the project, cooperation with your host, stay in Germany– you will not be entitled to the monthly fellowship grant.

May I postpone my fellowship?

No. Please also see the information on the time frame of the fellowship and on possibilities of a more flexible planning of the fellowship period below.

What is the time frame for the fellowship?

The German Chancellor Fellowship is intended as a one-year fellowship. If you are selected, you will be awarded twelve fellowship months, to start on 1 October of the selection year, and a three-month language fellowship right before the start of the German Chancellor Fellowship. The recommended standard timing is as follows:

July to September of the selection year Intensive German language course before the start of your fellowship: you attend an intensive language course in Bonn together with the other fellows of your year group. You will be expected to inform us of how many months of the awarded language fellowship you are willing and able to take up when you accept your German Chancellor Fellowship.
1 October You start your fellowship and begin to carry out your individual project at a host institute in Germany.
November Joint opening conference in Bonn (lasting approx. one week)
Spring Joint half-time conference (lasting approx. one week)
Summer Three-day meeting in Berlin with visits to the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Foreign Office.
30 September Your fellowship ends

Is it possible for me to plan my fellowship period in Germany more flexibly?

Yes. You can use the awarded twelve fellowship months for stays in Germany within a time window from 1 August of the selection year to 31 March of the year after next, enabling you to flexibly adapt your months in Germany to suit the demands of the project, meet existing work obligations or allow for family circumstances.

When do I have to decide how I distribute my fellowship months?

You use the online form “declaration of acceptance” to provide us with a binding schedule outlining how you will distribute your fellowship period. Two to three weeks after the selection you will be informed via email that this form is available in your personal account in the portal “My Humboldt”. You then have four weeks to accept your fellowship and determine the planning of your fellowship stay.
Please note that you must agree the scheduling of your fellowship months in Germany with your host, and the duration of each fellowship period must be planned in full months. We strongly recommend that you include the three joint programme events and a language fellowship in your intended schedule.

Can I change the distribution of the fellowship months later on?

If there is a compelling reason, you may change the planning of your fellowship period at a later date. To do so please enquire with your contact. We require at least six weeks’ notice to enable us to smoothly adjust your grant payments, otherwise payments may be delayed.

Can the fellowship period be reduced?

If it is apparent when you accept the fellowship that you will not be able to take advantage of the full twelve fellowship months due to professional or personal circumstances, you may submit an informal application to the Foundation to reduce the fellowship period in agreement with your host. Your altered schedule must include at least six months spent in Germany.

Can the fellowship period be extended?

No. Only within the scope of family benefits may extensions of up to three months be requested in accordance with the protection periods set out in the Maternity Protection Law or to provide parenting support.

What is the amount of my fellowship?

The amount of the fellowship is €2,200, €2,500 or €2,700 per month. Additional financial benefits include a mobility allowance, a subsidy towards the cost of medical and liability insurance and if necessary family allowances for accompanying family members.  Depending on the funds available, the size of the monthly fellowship reflects, in particular, the fellow's academic and professional qualification and status as well as the professional experience. Decisions on the amount are made by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Are the mobility allowance and the insurance subsidy paid in addition to the fellowship amount?

The fellowship amount includes a mobility allowance (cf. guidelines A.2.4.) and a subsidy towards the cost of medical and liability insurance (cf. guidelines A.2.5.).

Do I get financial support for the participation in conferences?

During the fellowship (not during the language course) you will receive a mobility allowance of 100 EUR per month together with each fellowship payment. The mobility allowance constitutes a supplement for expenses in connection with necessary conference attendance and/or research travel, archive and library visits, etc. in Germany and abroad. Additional travel and/or conference allowances cannot be granted. For further information, please refer to our guidelines A.2.4.

Am I allowed to have additional earnings?

You are required to inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of any additional earnings (salary or income from employment or self-employment in Germany, German or foreign fellowships). Any additional earnings exceeding the upper limit for "marginal" part-time employees (the so-called "Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte") will be offset against the instalment of the fellowship. For the determination of the additional earnings, the respective valid upper limit for "marginal" part-time employees applies, which can be set on a monthly basis (currently €538 gross) or on an annual basis (currently up to €6,456 gross) according to the funding period. Any type of employment yielding additional earnings which exceed the so-called "Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte" must be approved in advance by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation which will examine whether this additional employment endangers the objective of the fellowship (cf. A.1. and A.1.7. in our guidelines); in such cases the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation reserves the right to terminate or suspend the fellowship. Utilisation of other fellowships financed by German public funding is not allowed.

Which status do I have at my host institute as a fellow?

During your stay in Germany you carry out your project in cooperation with a self-chosen host. As a fellow, you are neither an employee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation nor of the host institute. However, you regularly make use of the facilities of the host institute, and are therefore subject to the rules and regulations that generally apply at your host institute.

In Germany, too, university institutes and other institutions often have staffing and financial problems. To avoid misunderstandings we urgently recommend that you reach a clear agreement with your host as soon as possible regarding the practicalities of cooperating with the other staff at the institute and the possibilities for using devices, PCs, telephones etc.. Host institutions are obliged to ensure the same levels of safety and occupational health for fellows as they do for other staff working at the institution (cf. guidelines B.11.).

Can I change my originally intended research project?

The German Chancellor Fellowship is awarded to enable you to conduct the research-based project you have described in your application and agreed with your host at a host institute in Germany. It is not possible to change the project on the basis of which the Selection Committee has awarded your fellowship. Necessary changes to the content of your project should be agreed with your host. Please enquire with your contact person in case of questions.

Does my host receive financial support for my stay?

Budget allowing, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is able to grant a subsidy towards research costs (cf. guidelines A.2.8.) to hosts of foreign fellows in Germany. The subsidy is intended as a contribution to covering project-related costs, including administrative costs directly ensuing from the project. During the sponsorship period, the subsidy amounts to €500 monthly. Before the start of the sponsorship period, your host can notify the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation via the online portal of the appropriate account details for the host institute.

Please note that the allowance for research costs can only be paid once the Foundation has been provided with the account details of the host institute.

Does the fellowship provide any funds toward expenses for my project that I can dispose of?

No. We recommend talking with your host in the beginning of the fellowship about the subsidy towards research costs for hosts in order to understand whether and how they can use this subsidy towards specific project expenses.


What rules must I observe in publishing the results of my project?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation considers it important that the results achieved by funded projects are published. Please see the information in our Guidelines A.4.

Do I have to reside at the location of the host institute?

The fellowship usually requires the project activities to be conducted at the host institute in Germany; the Foundation therefore generally expects that you will reside at or near your host town

If your project activities predominantly take place elsewhere in Germany or there are other reasons why you have to reside at a different location in Germany, please submit the following documents:

  • Statement giving reasons and brief explanation of the cooperation agreement made with your host;
  • Approval from your host.

If necessary, you may also conduct stays at institutions in other European countries (see Guidelines A.1.8.).

What do I have to bear in mind if I travel for my project?

Attendance at conferences and research trips as well as visits to archives and libraries etc., that are essential for carrying out the proposed project are considered project-related travel.

Please always coordinate any project-related travel with your host. Project-related travel within Germany and to other countries in Europe is fundamentally permitted, please however inform your contact at the Foundation of any travel to another European country in advance.

The fellowship does not cover project-related travel to your home country or to countries outside Europe (cf. Guidelines A.1.7.); if you wish to conduct such travel you may have to suspend your fellowship to do so. Please enquire with your contact if you have any questions about this.

When can I attend a language course?

If you are awarded a fellowship, you will also be awarded a language fellowship to attend an intensive language course of up to three months if you do not yet speak German fluently. You will be required to choose the duration and scope of your language fellowship (one, two or three months) when you accept your fellowship. You may additionally apply for subsidies to cover the cost of evening classes during your fellowship. Please note the more comprehensive information on language fellowships and German language courses.

Do I have to take part in a language course?

You are not obliged to take a language course. If you do not yet speak German fluently we however strongly recommend that you take this opportunity. German language skills will help you integrate at the location of your host institute and enable you to participate in social and cultural life in Germany. In addition, selected programme items of the programme events are held (exclusively) in German.

When can I attend joint events?

The joint events of the German Chancellor Fellowship allow you to network with other fellows and gain insights into issues that are currently relevant in Germany. The three joint programme events of the German Chancellor Fellowship are:

  • An opening conference in November (approx. one week)
  • A half-time conference in the spring (approx. one week)
  • A meeting in Berlin in July with a reception at the Federal Chancellery (three days).

These events are complemented by a series of online meetings. These events are important components of the fellowship and fundamental to the network of the German Chancellor Fellowship (for more information: Network and events for German Chancellor Fellows). You will have the opportunity to contribute your specific skills, support each other in small groups and independently organise further network activities.

In addition, you will be invited to attend the annual meeting of the Humboldt Foundation and take part in a study tour together with fellows of other fellowship programmes.

Do I have to attend the events?

You are not obliged to attend the events. In order to make full use of the potential of the German Chancellor Fellowship and its network we however strongly recommend that you take part in the three joint programme events (opening conference, half-time conference, meeting in Berlin).

Are there further opportunities for network activities?

Yes. In addition to these events there are opportunities to independently collaborate in peer groups. You are moreover encouraged to independently organise smaller network formats and events during the sponsorship period.

Do I get financial support for my family, if accompanying me during my stay in Germany?

If corresponding budgetary funds are available, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation may grant supplements and/or an allowance for health and liability insurance for partners and children under the age of 18 who accompany you for at least three (uninterrupted) months during the sponsorship period. We moreover offer a range of options for parenting support. For further conditions and details please see the application form and further information on our respective website.

Is my partner allowed to participate on events organised by the Humboldt Foundation?

If your partner and your children have accompanied you to Germany during your fellowship stay, they are included in your invitation to the annual meeting of the Humboldt Foundation.

Your partner is included in your invitation to the study tour (if s/he accompanies you during the fellowship stay); children unfortunately cannot take part.

The other programme events (opening conference, half-time conference, meeting in Berlin) are work meetings intended exclusively for German Chancellor Fellows; we ask for your understanding that neither your partner nor your children may attend.

Is my marital partner permitted to work in Germany during my fellowship stay?

Those intending to engage in regular employment need a work permit (exceptions: EU citizens from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Great Britain and Cyprus, as well as EEA citizens (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and Swiss citizens). Marital partners of fellows who wish to take up employment must inform the German consulate of this prior to departure for Germany and apply for the respective residence permit (indicating "employment permitted"). The actual work permit must be applied for at the Employment Office.

We further refer you to the Dual career page in the EURAXESS Germany portal, which is aimed in particular at academics.

How do I find a kindergarten for my children?

Information on this topic is available under Childcare and schools in the EURAXESS Germany portal. You must cover accommodation and childcare costs for your child yourself.

How can I find a place at school for my kids?

You will find the respective information under Childcare and schools in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

Which things have to be done prior to the stay in Germany?

Our guidelines (PDF) offer a checklist with important steps.

We should also like to draw your attention to the web portal EURAXESS Germany. Under Daily life you will find general information regarding your stay in Germany.

What do I have to do after my arrival to Germany?

Our guidelines (PDF) offer a checklist with important steps.

How do I find an apartment in Germany?

Finding accommodation in Germany is often difficult and time-consuming. The housing situation varies considerably according to region and the availability of accommodation is very limited in some areas. Thus the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation strongly recommends fellows to address the question of accommodation, preferably in writing, with host institutions in Germany and the Foreign Students’ Advisory Offices, International Offices or Welcome Centres directly, well before arrival. The appropriate form (DOC) is available on the Foundation's website.

Fellows must state clearly how many family members will accompany them to Germany and during which period of time. Fellows should take into account that up to 40% of the monthly fellowship goes toward renting accommodation in Germany. To make it easier for Fellows to find accommodation, particularly during the initial period of the stay in Germany, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation strongly recommends that fellows who wish to come to Germany with their families should first travel alone and only send for their families when they have found adequate accommodation.

Please also see the information under Accommodation in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

Do I have to take out a health insurance for Germany?

From the very first day, German Chancellor Fellows and accompanying family members must be covered by medical insurance providing adequate coverage in Germany for the entire duration of their stay in Germany. For detailed information, please refer to our guidelines (B.5.) and to the information on our website.

Please also see the information under Health insurance in the the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

Do I have to pay taxes and social security deductions in Germany?

Since German Chancellor Fellows are not employees, carrying out the project is not classified as gainful employment under the terms of German Income Tax Law. Consequently, the monthly fellowship payments are not considered as earned income and are not subject to social insurance deductions. Fellowships of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation are exempt from taxation under Article 3, No. 44 of the German Income Tax Law. The laws in the fellows’ own countries may include special regulations on taxing fellowships. If in doubt, you should consult a tax accountant in your own country (cf. guidelines A.1.2.).