German Chancellor Fellowship

Country
university graduates with initial leadership experience
Residence
Brazil, China, India, Russia, USA
Country
12-month project in Germany

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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 2021. If you register for the next application round 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 the USA, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, Brazil or India? Would you like to implement your own project that is societally relevant, will have lasting public impact and aid you in your professional development? 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 50 German Chancellor Fellowships are awarded each year – up to ten per country.

From March 2021 young professionals from South Africa will be able to apply for a German Chancellor Fellowship as well.

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
  • a mandatory intensive language course over approximately two or three months, depending on your prior language skills
  • individual support during your stay in Germany
  • additional financial support, e.g. for accompanying family members, for travel expenses or for an additional German language course
  • 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.

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 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 when you start your fellowship
  • 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 September 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 (Extension)
  • Programme announcement 15 March
  • Application deadline 15 September
  • Selection meeting April
  • Intensive German course in Bonn Juli/August to September
    • may be preceded by German courses in own country
  • Introduction meeting in Bonn and Berlin End of September/October
  • Official start of the fellowship: 1 October
  • Individual project work November - September
  • Up to three months maximum extension on application

FAQ

You may apply if you graduate from your Bachelor's programme before the fellowship starts. 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 start date of your fellowship in case of a successful application (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 beginning of the fellowship. 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, 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 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 the beginning of the fellowship. 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).

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 September) or
  • you have returned from an extended stay in Germany (more than twelve months) and have been in a programme country (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil) for more than twelve months at the time of the application deadline (15 September).


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 (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil), 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 calculating the period after your first university degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) is the start date of your fellowship. Please send us your CV so we can advise you (info[at]avh.de).

 

Anyone working at a public or private institution in Germany (for example businesses, associations, administrations, 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/mentor's principal task is to create the conditions that are essential to carry out your project in Germany and to mediate the necessary contacts (e.g. providing access to institutions in Germany). The role of the host/mentor can range from regular contacts to close cooperation, depending on the requirements of the project.

 

You are required to choose your own host/mentor. We do not provide any direct support in finding a host. Applicants often turn to existing contacts from their professional or private sphere to identify a host, e.g. their professional or academic supervisors.

 

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, the German Chancellor Fellowship is granted exclusively to permit fellows to carry out the project arranged with their host. By accepting the fellowship, fellows agree to devote themselves fully to the purpose of their fellowship for the duration of the sponsorship period.

 

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 September of each year.

 

There is one selection committee meeting in the respective programme country (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil) per year.

 

Yes. In order to assess the viability of your project, the Selection Committee must know if a German mentor has agreed to provide you with adequate professional support during your stay in Germany. The host's/mentor's statement confirming his/her willingness to support you in carrying out your project must be submitted along with your application. Please direct your host's attention to the form for the prospective host's 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. German Chancellor Fellowships must begin according to the predetermined time schedule in the year the fellowship is awarded.

 

The following time schedule is mandatory for all German Chancellor Fellows:

 

August to September Intensive German language course in Bonn: fellows with no knowledge or only a basic knowledge of German come to Germany before the official start of the fellowship to attend an intensive language course. This course is mandatory and lasts from one to two months depending on existing language skills.
October Four-week introductory seminar in Bonn and Berlin
November to September of the following year Eleven-month period spent working on an individual project at a host institution in Germany
June of the following year Two-day Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Annual Meeting in Berlin
summer of the following year Three-day final meeting in Berlin with visits to the German Chancellery and the Federal Foreign Office

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 grant depends mainly on the fellow's 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:

  • Host's statement including confirmation of support*
  • Two letters of recommendation*
  • Certificate of your first academic degree and, if applicable, further degrees, including certified translations
  • Transcripts of grades
  • Where appropriate German or English language certificate

*The 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.

 

Your host’s statement including the confirmation of support must be uploaded by your host her-/himself 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 it is not possible for the statement and the confirmation of support from the host to be uploaded by the application deadline (15 September), the application can exceptionally be submitted 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 September), 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 will invite about 15 pre-selected candidates from each of the five countries for an interview and a group discussion in the respective country (USA, Russia, China, India or Brazil). 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 on site.

 

The aim of the German Chancellor Fellowship Programme is to recruit young leaders as future mediators between Germany and their respective countries of origin. In this context, your academic and professional development to date are the central aspects of the assessment.

 

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 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 for basic information. We have created a brief overview of the German Chancellor Fellowship in German, English, Russian, Portuguese and Chinese 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

Curated Tweets

@AvHStiftung on Twitter

The first ever @TEDx KanzlerPark Conference brings together 14 #ChancellorFellow|s of the Humboldt Foundation. Join them and share ideas and discussions in 3 sessions: #Climate Action, The Future, Societal Changes.

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