Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship

For
postdoctoral researchers, experienced researchers
From
Germany
What
6–24-month research stay abroad

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Fellowship for researchers from Germany at all career levels and in all disciplines

Attention, researchers from Germany! The Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship supports you – postdoctoral and experienced researchers– with your research abroad.

As president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, biochemist and Nobel Laureate Feodor Lynen advocated opening up the international Humboldt Network to junior researchers from Germany. The fellowship named for him and granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research enables researchers with above-average qualifications from Germany at all career levels and in all disciplines to conduct research with members of the Humboldt Network around the world.

As a Feodor Lynen Research Fellow you will benefit from individual support from the Humboldt Foundation and our diverse sponsorship portfolio. If you would like to apply for a Lynen Fellowship, your first step is to choose one of the around 25,000 potential academic hosts worldwide. Your host must be either a member of the Humboldt Network abroad, or the recipient of one of a select range of international academic awards and working abroad. Feel free to use our search tool to find suitable hosts.

The Humboldt Foundation expects that academic hosts participate in funding this fellowship. Their contribution should amount to approximately one third of the fellowship amount. We waive the requirement for this financial contribution for hosts from certain countries (see list of countries). In the event of documented funding issues the Humboldt Foundation is also willing to explore individual solutions and potentially agree exceptions also with hosts in other countries.

What we offer

The Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship enables researchers at various stages of their career to conduct their research abroad in cooperation with a host of their choice from the Humboldt Network worldwide.

Postdocs may apply for a 6- to 24-month fellowship, experienced researchers for a 6- to 18-month fellowship that can be split into up to three stays over the course of three years.

The fellowship amount varies by target country and life situation. To calculate this amount individually please use our fellowship calculator. Travel expenses are reimbursed in addition.

General conditions and family allowances

In addition to the fellowship amount, you will also receive personal support throughout your sponsorship. You can set the start date of your fellowship flexibly.

We offer additional funding for academics from Germany who are accompanied by their family during their research stay abroad. As well as a family allowance for your accompanying marital partner, we also provide a child allowance if your children are staying with you. Furthermore, in such cases you can apply for childcare support such as a subsidy for childcare costs. For more information about these and other family benefits please see our fellowship calculator and the programme guidelines.

Alumni programmes

We will also assist you in reintegrating in Germany, e.g. with subsidies for job interviews or the possibility of a twelve-month return fellowship. We stay in contact even after your research stay has come to an end: Our alumni sponsorship measures flexibly support every Humboldtian’s individual journey through life, in both their career and their future collaborations.

You must meet the following criteria

The Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship addresses post-doctoral researchers with above-average qualifications from Germany – regardless of their research discipline.

Postdocs

Did you complete your doctorate during the last four years? Or are you within six months of submitting your doctoral thesis and can already provide a written summary of your findings? Have you been published in academic journals and by publishing houses that are reviewed according tointernational standards? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “General requirements” section, we invite you to apply for a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship for postdoctoral researchers.

Experienced researchers

Did you complete your doctorate during the last twelve years? Have you been published extensively in academic journals and by academic publishers peer reviewed to international standards, and does your prior work demonstrate a clearly evident, independent academic profile? If so, and if you fulfil the criteria under the “General requirements” section, we invite you to apply for a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship for experienced researchers.

General requirements

You must fulfil the following criteria to successfully apply for the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship:

You hold German citizenship. If you are currently not in Germany, please refer to our FAQ.

If you are a citizen of a country other than Germany, you are eligible to apply if you are working academically in Germany at the time of application. You should already be integrated into the German academic system and intend to come back into the German academic system after your planned stay abroad. For more information please see the FAQ.

Please note: To successfully apply, you must not have spent more than 6 months in total in the selected host country within the 18-month period prior to submitting your application.

An academic of your choice who is either a member of the Humboldt Network abroad or a recipient of a selected international science award working abroad must provide you with written confirmation that research facilities are available, submit a mentoring agreement and compile a detailed review for you. Feel free to use our search tool to find suitable hosts.

You can provide two expert reviews.

Postdocs: Your doctoral supervisor and one other researcher – from outside of your institute, if possible – should provide well-grounded information on your qualifications.

Experienced researchers: The reviews should be provided by important collaborative partners and/or researchers at your own institute as well as other institutes, including collaborators from outside Germany if possible.

You must have a good knowledge of the language of your host country, or at least an excellent command of English.

We expect you to abide by the rules of good scientific practice (PDF) and the principles of scientific ethics.

You may not apply for the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship if you have already received sponsorship from the Humboldt Foundation. In such cases, our alumni programmes are open to you.

How to apply

Before applying, you should discuss the details of your independently developed research outline with your chosen academic host.

Please apply to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online only.

If you have any doubts or questions, please contact us (info[at]avh.de). before submitting your application. We are happy to help.

What we need from you

Please note that you may only submit your application once you have uploaded the following documents in the application form:

  • curriculum vitae (two pages max)
  • research outline (five pages max)
  • complete list of your publications
  • list of key publications
  • key publications
  • doctoral certificate or proof that your doctorate has been completed successfully, or confirmation that this will be the case within the next six months
  • if required: Acceptance form and/or publisher’s acknowledgement of receipt and summaries/translations of key publications that are not available in English

  • In addition: Host’s statement and confirmation that research facilities are available, as well as two expert reviews. Please note that these documentscan only be uploaded in a protected area by the host(s) and expert reviewers personally. You can only submit your application once these documents have been uploaded. Further information and explanations can be found on the application form.

As soon as we have received your online application, we will send you written confirmation by email. After reviewing your documents, we will notify you of the expected selection date.

Deadlines

The Selection Committee responsible for reviewing applications to this programme meets every February, June and October. Please submit your completed application form, including any additional documents required, well in advance of the desired selection date. Applications are usually processed within four to seven months.

Incomplete or inaccurate applications take longer to process and often have to be postponed to a later Selection Committee meeting.

The deadline for meeting certain formal conditions – in particular those relating to limitations on career stages and previous stays in your host country – is the date on which we receive your application.

After the selection meeting we will inform you of the outcome as quickly aspossible by email.If your application is successful, you may begin your fellowship between two and twelve months after being selected.

If your application is unsuccessful, we may provide you with the reasons for our decision. Please request this information informally by email. You and your host will receive a letter with the outcome of your application approximately five weeks after the decision is made. Decisions cannot be appealed. You can, however, re-apply if you significantly improve crucial aspects of the rejected application.

The selection procedure

Icon Applicants
Applicants
Icon Foundation
Foundation
Icon Notification
Notification
Application Processing 4-6 weeks Review Process approx. 4 months Selection Feb/Mar, June/July, Oct/Nov
  • Online application
  • Host's statement
  • Expert reviews
  • Receipt of application
    • acknowledgement of receipt
  • Check eligibility
    • if not eligible: formal rejection to applicant and host
  • Check completeness
    • notification about selection date
    • reminder about missing items, if applicable
  • Request for independent peer reviews (usually two)
    • allowing for potential partiality issues
  • Reviewed applications forwarded to selection committee members
  • Selection committee meeting (3 times a year)
    • information about decision to applicant and host (1-3 working days after selection meeting)
  • Approval of application
    • delivery of award documents (approx. 4 weeks after selection meeting)
  • Rejection of application
    • upon request: information on factors that led to rejection to applicant and host (approx. 5 weeks after selection meeting)
  • Start of fellowship (if applicable: preceding language course) min 2 to max 12 months after meeting

The decision to award research fellowships is taken by a Selection Committee consisting approx. 20 researchers from various fields. The committee’s decisions are usually based on two independent peer reviews that evaluate your personal academic credentials. The selection is based on four criteria:

  • academic career and academic record to date (mobility, determination, thematic scope, academic productivity);
  • quality of the key publications named in the application (originality, innovativeness, evaluation of your own contribution to publications involving several authors);
  • originality and innovative potential of your proposed research (significance for the further development of the subject area, convincing selection of scientific methods, potential for scientific development, clear focus and feasibility within the requested sponsorship period, viability at the host institute);
  • your future potential (academic potential, personal development, career prospects)

In past years, an average of 40 percent of applicants received a fellowship.

All the best for your application!

Questions & Answers

You may apply if you will complete your doctorate within the next six months. If selected, you must complete your doctorate before commencing the research fellowship. Please note that your application will be rejected for formal reasons if your dissertation has not been published and you do not have any further academic publications at the time of application.

 

The relevant date is that of completing the final academic part of the doctoral process (e.g., defence of thesis, doctoral viva). This date will usually be included on your doctoral certificate alongside the date of issue. The key date for calculating the period following your doctorate is the date on which your application is received by the Humboldt Foundation.

 

In the case of multiple doctorates, the effective date is that of the first doctoral degree (PhD/CSc.).

 

Yes. You should, however, already have a clearly recognisable own research profile and, as a rule, be working at the level of at least assistant professor or junior research group leader, or have a record of several years of independent scientific work.

 

We cannot consider your application for a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers if your doctorate was completed more than four years ago. In case you already have a clearly recognisable own research profile and, as a rule working at the level of at least assistant professor or junior research group leader, or have a record of several years of independent scientific work, you can apply for a fellowship for experienced researchers. If you have passed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). Please send us your CV and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

 

We cannot consider your application if you obtained your doctorate more than twelve years ago. If you have missed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). Please send us your CV and a list of your publications before you apply so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

 

Periods in which you interrupted your academic activities after completing your doctorate in order to rear children may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such periods is also possible. Please always indicate child-rearing periods when filling in our application form.

Mothers can claim two extra years for each child born after their PhD plus any further verifiable parenting periods. Fathers and other persons responsible for raising children are only credited with verifiable parenting periods.

In general, postdoctoral researchers may apply up to four years, and experienced researchers up to twelve years after completing their doctorates. Recognized child-rearing periods may correspondingly extend these maximum timeframes during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Periods in which you interrupted your academic activities after completing your doctorate in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives, or due to long-term illness may be taken into account as career breaks after examination. The proportionate offsetting of such career breaks is also possible. Please always indicate career breaks when filling in our application form.

Job hunting, unemployment and non-academic employment do not count as career breaks.

In general, postdoctoral researchers may apply up to four years, and experienced researchers up to twelve years after completing their doctorates. Recognized career breaks may correspondingly extend these maximum timeframes during which the submission of applications is possible. The extension is limited to 6 years.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of academic achievements is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your academic activities after finishing your doctorate in order to rear children.

The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your academic achievements.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Yes, because the assessment of academic achievements is always made on an individual basis at the Humboldt Foundation. Therefore, when filling in the application form, please specify all periods in which you partially or completely interrupted your academic activities after finishing your doctorate in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives or due to long-term illness.

Job hunting, unemployment and non-academic employment do not count as career breaks.

The voluntary disclosure of private circumstances may help increase equal opportunities during the selection process. The consideration of your personal circumstances allows for a fairer assessment of your academic achievements.

Please contact info[at]avh.de if you have any questions.

Applicants should have their principal residence and place of work in Germany.

However, there are certain exceptions regarding stays abroad:

1. Stays in the prospective host country (currently or until recently):

You can apply if

  • you have been in the host country for less than six months within the last 18 months prior to submitting your application.

2. Stays abroad (except in the host country):
You can apply if

  • you have been living abroad for less than five years at the time the Humboldt Foundation receives your application or
  • you have spent more than five years abroad, but have now been living back in Germany for at least twelve months at the time the Humboldt Foundation receives your application.

In all other cases we regret that we cannot consider your application.

You can apply, provided that you are already integrated in the German science system, intend to come back into the German science system after your planned stay abroad and are in Germany at the time of application. As a rule, you are integrated if you

  • have been working in Germany in a scientific capacity for at least five years at the time of application or
  • completed your school education and a university degree, or a university degree and a doctorate, in Germany, and Germany is your principal country of residence and work at the time of application.

If you have only stayed in Germany up until this time for the purposes of your doctorate, or if you are integrated in a foreign science system, you are not eligible to apply.

You are eligible to apply if you hold a research doctorate or a comparable academic degree.

In addition, please read our Admission Questionnaire for Physicians (MD / Dr. med.) for detailed information.

If you have several research doctorates, the above mentioned FAQ on the subject of "several doctorates" applies.

Any member of the Humboldt Network who is firmly established abroad may act as an academic host under the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship Programme. These persons include:

  • Any scientists or scholars who have been sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation,
  • Any hosts who have already supervised scientists or scholars who were sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation,
  • Any (former) members of a Humboldt Foundation selection committee,
  • Any participants in the Frontiers of Research Symposia organised by the Humboldt Foundation.

Scientists or scholars who have been granted a specified international academic award may also act as hosts.

The Humboldt Foundation provides assistance with finding a host. You can search for hosts here.

On request, we can inform you whether the host you have chosen is eligible to act as such.

The purpose of the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship is to carry out research at a host institute abroad in cooperation with an academic host. Collaboration with other researchers at the intended host institute is possible at any time.

If your planned research necessitates collaboration with researchers outside the intended host institute, the following applies: Such collaboration that in total exceeds 25 per cent of the fellowship period can only be carried out with an additional host. This person also has to be eligible to act as a host under the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship Programme. In such cases, the Humboldt Foundation will need – already for the selection process – information regarding this host, an expert’s statement, and confirmation from the proposed host that research facilities will be made available. Detailed information on who may act as a host can be found in the programme information for postdoctoral researchers or the programme information for experienced researchers.

Further information can be found in our Guidelines and Advice for Feodor Lynen Research Fellows.

The Humboldt Foundation tries to involve the host in financing the research fellowship. For details please refer to the relevant programme information for postdoctoral and experienced academics.

 

The Humboldt Foundation expects a contribution of the host to financing the research fellowship. Host institutions in developing and transition countries and in other selected countries (c.f. list of countries, PDF) are exempt from making a financial contribution to the fellowship. If host institutes in other countries experience obvious difficulties in raising their contribution, the Humboldt Foundation will try to accommodate cases of this kind.

There are three Selection Committee Meetings each year: in February, June and October.

No, it is not possible to apply to several fellowship programmes or the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award programme concurrently. Should you be rejected by any of them, you may, however, apply to any other programme as long as you fulfil the formal requirements.

The first research stay in the context of a postdoctoral fellowship must last at least six months. Experienced researchers must also apply for a stay of at least six months, which can, however, be divided up into two blocks of three months.

It is not possible to break up the research stay.

Yes. It is not possible to deviate from the standard model.

You can embark on your fellowship about two months after the selection committee has made its decision.

You must start the fellowship period within twelve months of being selected. Otherwise you will have to submit a new application.

 

Please refer to our current programme information for details. Kindly understand that we cannot precalculate specific individual amounts prior to application. You may, however, consult our fellowship calculator.

No, the fellowship cannot be paid retroactively.

On principle, it is possible to file parallel applications. You must, however, indicate this on the application form and inform us immediately of any other applications you submit and any other sponsorship decisions that occur while we are considering your application.

There is no closing date for submitting applications. Applications are processed as part of an ongoing procedure. As soon as we have received your complete application we shall forward it to independent peer reviewers. Their written evaluations will then be presented to the selection committee at the next selection meeting at which a decision will be made.
Please note that you can submit your application only after your host and your expert reviewers have uploaded all necessary documents.
The date used to determine whether the applicant meets certain formal requirements, such as career stage limitations and stays in the host country, is the date on which the Humboldt Foundation receives the respective application.
Selection Committee Meetings take place three times a year: in February, June and October. Applications should be submitted at least four to seven months ahead of the prospective selection meeting.
A graphic display of the complete application process can be found under timeline of selection procedure.

Your host and expert reviewers upload the required documents in a secure area themselves, adding them to your application form. You can find the links to this area in the application form. Please send these links on a timely basis to your designated scientists/ academics. Once all the documents have been uploaded, you will automatically be notified by email and will then be able to submit your application. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete. Expert reviews should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

The expert review should assess your development as a researcher, your potential, and your academic accomplishments to date. It is, therefore, important that expert reviewers are well acquainted with your academic work to date. You must submit two expert reviews.
Postdocs must submit an expert review from their doctoral supervisor. Please note: The host's statement does not count as an expert review!
You are responsible for requesting all expert reviews and the host's statement.

Your application must contain one to five key publications (postdoctoral researchers: one to three key publications; experienced researchers: three to five key publications). Other publications will not be accepted (exception: you may optionally submit published reviews of your key publications by other authors).
If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for printing, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

No. Please only cite publications that are already in print, have been accepted for publication or have at least been submitted to a publishing house. Please cite submitted publications without naming the journal or publishing house on your publication list. In the latter case you must include the acknowledgement of receipt from the publisher; in the case of publications that have been accepted, please include the letter of acceptance from the publisher. Any other works cited on the list will be deleted.
Exception: Your dissertation may be cited as a key publication even if you have not yet submitted it to a publisher. If you wish to cite your dissertation as a key publication but have not yet submitted it for print, please upload the original manuscript of your doctoral thesis.

Yes. As soon as you complete your doctorate, we need at least official confirmation from your university. You will not be able to start the fellowship without this confirmation.

You yourself should choose the key publications from your publications. You should choose works which present your most important academic results. In cases of multiple authorship you should select those to which you have made a major contribution. When choosing key publications we recommend including works that reflect your more recent publication activity.
Please note that you cannot amend your selection of key publications once the selection process has begun.

If you are applying for a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers, one key publication is sufficient. You may cite a maximum of three.
If you are applying for a fellowship for experienced researchers you must choose at least three key publications. You may cite a maximum of five. Surplus key publications will be removed from the list without notifying the applicant.

Please address the particular academic relevance of the results contained in the key publication and briefly explain the significance of the publication for your academic profile (cf. sample key publications). In cases of multiple authorship please also indicate your own personal contribution to the publication.

Yes. Please cite all your publications in the complete list of publications, including your key publications.An unpublished dissertation, however, may not be listed in the complete list of publications. In this list the key publications should be cited without explanations (cf. sample publication list, PDF). Please note that the order of the authors on the publication list corresponds to the order of the authors on the submitted publication. Changing the order is against the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and may result in penalties (cf. Rules of Good Scientific Practice, PDF).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

No, a language certificate is not required.

As soon as we receive your application, we will notify you by email.

Your application will be checked upon receipt to ensure that it is complete and meets the formal requirements for eligibility. We shall only be able to inform you about the expected decision date when we have received all the required documents. Once the review process by independent reviewers has been initiated, it is not possible to submit or exchange any documentation. If any papers or books that have only been submitted for publication at the time of application should subsequently be accepted, you should send us the acceptance letter immediately by email. This information can be fed into the process prior to the selection meeting. It is not possible to add to the publication list once the procedure has started.

When all the documents have been received we shall notify you about the proposed date of the selection meeting. Should the peer review process of your application take longer than expected you will also be informed if it becomes unavoidable to postpone the date of the decision.

Your application will be reviewed by independent peer reviewers.

 

The final decision on all applications is made by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consists of researchers of all disciplines who decide on all applications by majority vote. The Humboldt Foundation has no vote on the Selection Committee.

We shall notify you and your academic host about the decision by email in the days immediately following the selection meeting. At larger selection meetings it may take a few days longer to contact all the applicants and academic hosts.

If your application is not approved, you may send an informal email requesting feedback to be sent to you and your host on the reasons for the rejection. This will usually follow approximately four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.

In recent years, roughly 40% of all applications have been successful.

The essential aspect of the application is the individual applicant's academic qualification. Please refer to the relevant programme information for more details on the selection criteria.

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, it makes sense to re-apply after developing one's academic profile, e.g. after academical publications have been accepted by internationally reviewed journals and publishing houses. Our experience shows that applicants should wait about two years before re-applying. Submitting a new application that differs little or not at all from the rejected original may result in a formal rejection of the new application.

 

This programme is financed by

All awards and grants