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German Chancellor Fellowship

For
university graduates with initial leadership experience
From
Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa, USA
What
12-month project in Germany
Brandenburg gate in Berlin, symbolic image for the German Chancellor Fellowship

Register here for the next round of applications!

Register
Hint

The closing date for applications has elapsed. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to apply for this programme. The next application round is scheduled to begin on 15 March 2022. If you register now, we will send you an email informing you when the next application round opens.

Fellowship for prospective leaders

We are searching the leaders of tomorrow. Are you a graduate with initial leadership experience? Do you come from Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Russian Federation, South Africa or the USA? Would you like to implement a self-chosen project that supports your career development, is societally relevant and has a lasting public impact? Are you interested in actively participating in an international network of dedicated leaders? Then come to Germany with a German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to take the next step of your career.

The fellowship programme is under the patronage of the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. Up to 60 German Chancellor Fellowships are awarded each year – up to ten per country.

12 months in Germany for your own project - German Chancellor Fellowship (Trailer)
I'm a fan of this programme! - Ramon Luz from Brazil about the Chancellor Fellowship

Our sponsorship

This fellowship for prospective leaders brings you to Germany for one year to implement a project idea you have developed yourself. We will help you network with international future leaders here to find new answers to the global issues of our time. We offer you

  • a monthly fellowship grant of 2,170 euros, 2,470 euros or 2,770 euros – depending on your training and career level
  • an intensive language course before you begin your fellowship and funding for German courses during your fellowship,
  • individual support during your stay in Germany
  • additional financial support, e.g. for accompanying family members, for travel expenses, for full private health insurance or for an additional German language course
  • joint events where you experience professional and personal intercultural exchange with other fellows from your year group and gain insights into German culture and society,
  • networking activities that enable you to collaborate in peer groups and independently organise smaller network formats with other fellows,
  • a two-week study tour through Germany as well as a number of events where you can connect with other fellows and meet representatives of German businesses and institutions
  • extensive alumni sponsorship, in particular to support long-term connections with your cooperation partners in Germany over the duration of your entire professional career

Your host institution will receive a monthly allowance for research costs of 500 euros.

Hint

This page contains information about the German Chancellor Fellowship for the application round 2021, e.g. for the fellowship year 2022/23 and further. Fellows selected in the spring of 2021 find here the relevant sponsorship information for the fellowship year 2021/22.

You must meet the following criteria/What is required of you

The German Chancellor Fellowship sponsors future decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders – regardless of industry. We invite you to apply if you

  • hold Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, Russian, South African or American citizenship
  • work in a field such as politics, business, media, administration, society or culture and have demonstrable initial leadership experience
  • will have completed your first academic degree (Bachelor or comparable degree) no more than twelve years ago. The  key date  for  calculating  this  twelve-year  period  is  1  October  of  the  year  in  which  the  selection  is  made.
  • want to conduct an independently developed project with a host of your choice in Germany
  • have good knowledge of English and/or German

How to apply

Before applying, you should discuss the details of your project with your chosen host.

Please submit the necessary application documents to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation online only.

  • letter of motivation: Tell us what drives you, what leadership experience you already have and what your career goals are
  • project plan: Outline the project you have developed yourself and agreed with your intended host prior to applying. Why is your project of societal significance, and how will you be able to build bridges between Germany and your home country in the future?
  • extensive statement including mentoring agreement from your host in Germany
  • two letters of recommendation (not more than 12 months old) from individuals who can provide information on your professional, personal and/or academic background

The online application form contains links where the letters of recommendation and statements can be uploaded. Please forward these links to the relevant individuals as soon as possible. We will send you a confirmation e-mail as soon as we have received all the required documents.

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

Please note

We accept applications from 15 March to 15 October of each year. Outside this period you may register for the next round of applications; you will then be automatically notified by e-mail when the next round of applications begins.

The most promising candidates among all formally eligible applicants will be selected and invited to a selection meeting in their respective country of origin, where they will have the opportunity to present themselves and their project.

In recent years, 25 to 30 percent of applicants have received a fellowship on average.

All the best for your application!

Timeframe: application, selection, fellowship

Icon Applicants
Applicants
Icon Foundation
Foundation
Icon Notification
Notification
Application procedure Fellowship Use the advantages of the network - for a lifetime!
  • Programme announcement March 2021
  • Application deadline 15 October 2021
  • Selection meeting April 2022
  • Intensive German course in Bonn for max. 3 months July to September (recommended)
    • Alternative: Intensive language courses at the location of your host institute
    • Alternative: German language courses during the fellowship period
  • Opening conference in Bonn November 2022
    • Half-time conference Spring 2023
    • Meeting in Berlin Summer 2023
  • Regular starting date of the fellowship: 1 October 2022
  • Individual project work 12 months (flexible split possible between August 2022 and March 2024)
  • Extensive alumni sponsorship following successful completion of the fellowship
  • Fellows can take advantage of their new contacts and network

FAQ

You may apply if you graduate from your Bachelor's programme before the 1 October of the year following your application. If you take part in an intensive German language course prior to the start of the fellowship, you will have to graduate from your Bachelor’s Programme before the intensive language course starts.

 

The relevant date is that of completing the final requirement for your Bachelor’s degree (e.g. final examination, defence of thesis, oral final examination). This date will usually be included on your certificate alongside the date of issue.

The key date for calculating the eligibility period after the Bachelor's degree is the 1 October of the year following the application.

 

In the case of multiple degrees, the valid date is the completion date of the first Bachelor's (or comparable) degree.

 

Periods in which you interrupted your professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) 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 your application form.

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

In general, you may apply if you completed your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) less than 12 years before the 1 October of the year following the application. Recognized child-rearing periods may correspondingly extend this maximum timeframe 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 professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives, due to long-term illness or, for example, to care for children or due to the closure of institutes during a lockdown imposed to control an epidemic 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 your application form.

Job hunting and unemployment do not count as career breaks.

In general, you may apply if you completed your first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) less than 12 years before 1 October of the year following your application. Recognized career breaks may correspondingly extend this maximum timeframe 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 the previous career 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 professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent).

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 previous career.

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

 

Yes, because the assessment of the previous career 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 professional activities or your further studies following your first academic degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) in order to perform military or alternative service, to care for close relatives, due to long-term illness, or, for example, to care for children or due to the closure of institutes during a lockdown imposed to control an epidemic.

Job hunting and unemployment 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 previous career.

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

 

You can apply

  • if you have been in Germany for less than six months at the time of the application deadline (15 October) or
  • you have been resident in one of the programme countries (Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Russian Federation, South Africa, United States) for at least 12 months after spending a period of more than 12 months in Germany

In all other cases we regret that we cannot consider your application. If in doubt, please direct any questions to info[at]avh.de.

No, an application for a German Chancellor Fellowship is not possible. If in doubt, send us a seamless CV so that we can then advise you info[at]avh.de.

 

You may apply if you are only staying temporarily (up to 12 months) in a third country and the actual focus of your life and work is still in your country of origin. Exceptions:

  • If you are a citizen of a programme country (Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Russian Federation, South Africa, USA), you may also apply if you are staying in another programme country for a longer period of time.
  • Provided that your connection with your country of origin is assured (e.g. if you have been sent on a posting abroad by an institution of your country of origin), you may be able to apply even if you have been abroad for longer.

In case of doubt, please contact us (info[at]avh.de) before you apply so we can advise you.

If this is documented on your diploma, you do not need to submit any additional documentation proving your proficiency in English or German.

 

No, a language certificate is not required.

 

We cannot consider your application if you completed your first university degree (Bachelor's or comparable) more than twelve years ago. If you have just passed the deadline, an exception may be made in well-founded cases (e.g. recognition of parental leave). The key date for the twelve-year limit is 1 October of the year following your application. Please initially send us your CV so we can advise you. (info[at]avh.de).

 

Anyone working at a public or private institution in Germany (e.g. businesses, associations, public administration, NGOs) can serve as a host. To ensure adequate support, there must be some relation between your host's/mentor's field of professional expertise and your proposed project in Germany.

 

The host’s principal task is to create the conditions essential to carrying out your project in Germany and aid you in establishing any necessary contacts (e.g. to gain access to institutions in Germany). Depending on the requirements of the project, your collaboration with your host or mentor may take various forms – from regular contact to close cooperation.

 

You choose your host/mentor yourself. We cannot provide any direct assistance in searching for a host or mentor. Applicants often turn to existing contacts from their professional or private sphere to identify a host, e.g. their professional or academic supervisors. More tips for finding a host are available on our website.

Only one person can be your official host. But this does not mean that you are not permitted to also collaborate with other people during your project.

 

In general the host institute will receive a monthly allowance for research costs of €500.

 

No, the fellowship is not meant to support company employees who intend to work at German headquarters or branches. Applicants suggesting a project that includes an inhouse-training have a rather low chance of success.

 

The German Chancellor Fellowship is not a traditional doctoral fellowship programme. As a doctoral candidate you are however welcome to apply if:

  • You have initial leadership experience beyond your research activities;
  • Your project is relevant to the social dialogue;
  • You will be able to successfully complete your project within the specified fellowship period.


If you are interested in a traditional doctoral fellowship, we recommend applying to the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD) or other funding organisations. In case of doubt, please contact us (info[at]avh.de) before you apply so we can advise you.

No, it is not possible to apply to several fellowship programmes 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.

No, a German Chancellor Fellowship is granted exclusively for the purpose of carrying out the project described in your application and agreed with your host.

 

During the sponsorship period, fellows may conduct short-term study or research visits to institutions elsewhere in Europe (except the fellows' home countries), if this is essential for the execution of the project. The maximum duration should be 1 to 2 months. Further information: stays in Europe.

 

Yes. The application deadline is 15 Oktober of each year.

 

Selection meetings are held once a year in each programme country (Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Russian Federation, South Africa, USA). The selection year is the year following the application.

Yes. In order to assess the feasibility of your project, the Selection Committee must know whether a mentor in Germany has agreed to provide appropriate supervision during your visit to Germany. Your host is required to submit a statement agreeing to support you in conducting your project. This confidential statement must be submitted together with the application documents; please draw your host’s attention to the form for the confidential statement.

 

In 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.

 

No. Please also see the information provided below regarding the programme’s time frame and the flexibility of the fellowship period.

 

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 to be taken up directly 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 immediately 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

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.

No. Please create a project plan covering twelve months in Germany for your application. If you are selected for a fellowship, you will be required to notify the Foundation of how you intend to distribute your fellowship months
when you accept the fellowship.  Please note that you must agree the scheduling of your visits to Germany with your host, and the duration of your visits 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.

 

No. The German Chancellor Fellowship aims to establish a vibrant, continuously expanding network of international decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders who maintain lasting ties with Germany. The Foundation expects candidates to be open to conducting an extended stay in Germany and willing to plan a twelve-month project within a time window from 1 August of the selection year to 31 March of the year after next.
Following a positive selection decision, you will be required to specify how you wish to distribute your fellowship period when you accept your fellowship. If it is apparent at that time 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.

 

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. The language fellowship must take place directly before the start of your German Chancellor Fellowship and may not be interrupted. 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.

 

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.

 

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).

You will be notified of the exact dates if you are awarded a fellowship. These three 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.

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).

 

The Humboldt Foundation welcomes the idea that fellows' partners and children should accompany them and encourages this by paying family allowances in addition to the fellowship, provided that the family members accompany the fellow for more than three months.

 

If the fellow's own institution does not cover travel expenses, the Humboldt Foundation will pay a single lump sum for return travel. The Humboldt Foundation will only pay travel expenses for family members in exceptional circumstances.The lump sum for travel expenses will only be paid once, even if you plan multiple partial stays.

 

The grant depends mainly on your academic and professional qualifications, position and professional experience, and may amount to €2,170, €2,470 or €2,770. In each case, this sum includes a flat-rate mobility fee and a subsidy to help meet healthcare and liability insurance costs. The level of the grant is determined by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Examples of grants awarded to Federal Chancellor fellows:

A fellow with a bachelor's degree in international relations, who graduated a year before the beginning of the fellowship; voluntary work and practicals with leading national and international political institutions while at university; since graduating, she has completed work experience placements at a national foundation and with a diplomatic mission of her home country abroad. Grant: €2,170.

A fellow with a master's degree in communication and public relations, who graduated three years before the beginning of the fellowship; since graduating, he has gained professional experience as an employee at a public relations agency. Grant: €2,4570.

A fellow with a law degree, who graduated five years before the beginning of the fellowship; after graduating, she gained professional experience first at a lawyer's office, then in a management role at a non-governmental organisation. Grant: €2,770.

You must apply online. If you wish to submit an application you must register first. Click here to register. After registering you will receive an email with a link which will allow you to log-on and access the application form using your user name and password.

 

Should you experience any problems with the online application, please send an email to info[at]avh.de.

 

To be able to submit your application successfully, the application form has to be filled out completely and your curriculum vitae has to be enclosed.

 

The following documents must be submitted in order to complete the application:

  • Extensive statement including confirmation of support from a host in Germany
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can provide information on your professional, personal and/or academic background*
  • Certificate of your first academic degree and, if applicable, further degrees, including certified translations
  • Transcripts of grades
  • Where appropriate German or English language certificate

*Host and referees upload the required documents in a secure area themselves. The application form contains further instructions and information.

Please note that your complete application must reach the Humboldt Foundation by the application deadline at the latest. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

After the application deadline it is, unfortunately, not possible anymore to submit an application online. In this programme applications by email, post or fax are not permitted.

 

You can only submit your application once. It is, however, possible to save your application and return to it as often as you like prior to submission.

 

Hosts must upload their statements, including confirmation of support, to a protected area for the application form themselves to a secure area adding them to your application form. You can find the link to this area in the application form. Please send this link on a timely basis to your designated host and submit the application only after all documents have been completely uploaded. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

If for compelling reasons the statement and the confirmation of support cannot be provided by the application deadline (15 October), you may exceptionally also submit your application without these documents. In this case, the host is requested to send the missing documents promptly by email to the Humboldt Foundation (info[at]avh.de). If we should not receive the documents in a timely manner, we reserve the right to formally reject your application.

Letters of recommendation must be uploaded by the referees themselves to a secure area adding them to your application form. You can find the link to this area in the application form. Please send this link on a timely basis to both of your referees and submit your application only after all documents have been completely uploaded. You are responsible for ensuring that your documents are complete.

If for compelling reasons it is not possible for the letters of recommendation to be uploaded by the application deadline (15 October), the application can exceptionally be submitted without these documents. In this case, the referees are requested to send the missing documents promptly by email to the Humboldt Foundation (info[at]avh.de). If we should not receive the documents in a timely manner, we reserve the right to formally reject your application.

Letters of recommendation should not be more than 12 months old at the time of application.

 

Ask for letters of recommendation from two different persons who are able to give well-founded accounts of your academic, professional and/or personal background as well as your leadership skills, among them for example

  • your current supervisor / mentor
  • previous supervisors / mentors

You may submit language course or language test certificates, or a certificate issued by your language teacher.

 

Yes. As soon as you complete your Bachelor's degree, we need to receive official confirmation from your university. You will not be able to start the fellowship without this confirmation.

 

No. Certificates and transcripts in German, English or Portuguese do not have to be certified. If your documents are in any other language, you must provide certified translations. A translation agency, for example, can assist you with certified translations.

 

Yes, as soon as you have submitted your application online you will receive a short confirmation of reception by email.

 

The Humboldt Foundation invites approximately18 pre-selected candidates from each of the six countries to an interview and a group discussion in the respective country (Brazil, People’s Republic of China, India, Russian Federation, South Africa, USA). The Selection Committee is composed of well-respected leaders from various areas of society and will select up to ten candidates per country by majority vote.

 

The interview lasts about 20 minutes and will be conducted in German or English. The Selection Committee's questions may refer to your motivation, your professional or academic background, your interest in Germany, your career plans, your project as well as the impact that a one-year stay in Germany might have on your future professional career.
Each group discussion lasts approximately 60 minutes. Several candidates are given a task right before the start of the group discussion to which they are expected to jointly develop a solution. The task includes an appropriate presentation of that solution at the end of the group discussion. The selection committee observes the debate, but will not ask any questions.

 

In every selection round the best applicants are selected to receive fellowships. Whether your application is granted or refused is thus always also directly dependent on the qualification of your fellow applicants.

If you are not invited to the selection meeting, you may send an informal email requesting feedback on the reasons for the rejection. This feedback notification will be sent both to you and your host. In light of the large number of applications it will usually take us between four and six weeks to respond to such enquiries. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.

If you are rejected at the selection meeting, you may request an individual feedback meeting held via video call. Please contact us informally by email if you wish to take advantage of this option.

The aim of the German Chancellor Fellowship programme is to recruit prospective leaders as future mediators between Germany and the respective programme countries.

 

It is possible to re-apply. The new application should, however, differ significantly from the original, rejected application. Generally, a new application makes sense only after you have entered a new phase of your professional development. 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. .

 

Help publicise the German Chancellor Fellowship!

The German Chancellor Fellowship offers young prospective leaders the opportunity to take an important step in their careers. Let suitable candidates and interested hosts know about this programme.

  • As an alumna or alumnus of the fellowship programme you can discuss your own experience and give specific advice to potential applicants. 
  • Tell your colleagues about the idea and the benefits of having brought an international guest to Germany to expand your team. 
  • Make use of your professional ties to Brazil, China, India, Russia, South Africa or the USA to act as a multiplier and inform prospective leaders of the fellowship programme.

Whether in personal conversations with colleagues or at an event with a large audience – the German Chancellor Fellowship is worth mentioning. Feel free to use our PowerPoint presentation (PPT) for basic information. We have created a brief overview of the German Chancellor Fellowship in German (PDF), English (PDF), Russian (PDF), Portuguese (PDF) and Chinese (PDF) for you.

This programme is financed by

Sadaf Fatima

“It is simply great that I can focus completely on my project. There is always someone at the Humboldt Foundation who can help you.”

Sadaf Fatima
Architect

Dandan Wang

“Misunderstandings can be created through the images conveyed by the media. Thus, the German Chancellor Fellowship is very necessary in order to promote understanding between peoples.“

Dandan Wang
German language and culture

Jason Mannix

“I loved the idea of a programme that encouraged curiosity and growth and would give me the creative freedom to pursue a project I was passionate about.”

Jason Mannix
Graphic designer

Suzana Velasco

“I’m very pleased about the confidence that the Foundation has in us and the freedom we have as a result of this.”

Suzana Velasco
International Relations

Sergey Volchenkov

“I really got a lot of information about the German mentality and how to work together with Germans.”

Sergey Volchenkov
Financial analyst

Curated Tweets

@AvHStiftung on Twitter

"Germany gives a lot of possibilities to those who want to connect countries in order to exchange knowledge." says #ChancellorFellow Elizaveta Fakirova. The next application round of the German Chancellor Fellowship starts on 22 March!

@AvHStiftung on Twitter

"I am not only a former German #ChancellorFellow - I am also a fan of this programme." Ramon Luz, video journalist from Brazil, about the Humboldt Foundation's fellowship for young professionals. Apply now!

All awards and grants