FAQ for applicants to the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship

 

 
Application requirements

Can I apply before I have completed my doctorate?

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.

What determines the date of a doctorate?

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. If you already held an academic position equivalent to or higher than an Associate Professor / Senior Lecturer / Reader before completing your PhD/C.Sc. the relevant date is the one on which you assumed this position.

Which date is valid if I have several doctorates?

If you hold several doctorates, the doctorate that is closest related to the topic of your research outline is relevant. Please list both doctorate dates with the associated disciplines in your CV on the application form. We would also ask that you submit both doctorate certificates and list both theses in the complete list of publications.

My doctorate was completed less than four years ago. Can I apply for a fellowship for experienced researchers?

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.

My doctorate was completed more than four years ago. Can I apply for a fellowship for postdoctoral researchers?

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).

I obtained my doctorate more than twelve years ago. Can I still apply for a fellowship for experienced researchers?

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).

Will you take into consideration the time I devoted to bringing up my children?

If you have ever interrupted your academic career for child-rearing purposes, either partially or completely, please list all periods of leave on the application form. We will assess whether these periods can be taken into account in calculating your eligibility in relation to your career stage. The time limit set by the programme for the period after completing a doctorate may be extended by a maximum of two years per child if you did indeed interrupt your academic career after completing your doctorate for the periods stated and claim for these periods. If you have any further questions please contact info(at)avh.de.

I am a German citizen and am already living abroad. Can I apply?

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.

I am not a German national. Can I apply?

You can apply, provided that you are already integrated in the German science system and intend to come back into the German science system after your planned stay abroad. 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.

I'm a physician (MD / Dr. med.). Are there any special admission requirements?

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.
 
Academic host

Who can be my academic host?

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.

Can I collaborate with additional researchers within the framework of my planned research (in addition to my intended host)?

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.

What contribution is expected from the host?

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.

My host cannot make any financial contribution to the fellowship. Will you still consider my application?

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) 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.
 
Preparation/Planning

When and how often do Selection Committee Meetings take place?

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

Can I apply to several Humboldt Foundation fellowship programmes at the same time, or can I apply for a Humboldt Fellowship and the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award at the same time if I fulfil the formal requirements?

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.

Can I apply for a research fellowship for a period of less than six months?

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.

I am a postdoctoral researcher. Can I divide up my research stay?

It is not possible to break up the research stay.

As an experienced researcher do I have to divide up my research stays strictly according to the model specified by the programme?

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

How soon can I begin the fellowship period?

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

When do I have to start the fellowship period at the latest?

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

What is the value of the fellowship?

Please refer to our current programme information for details. Kindly understand that we cannot precalculate specific individual amounts prior to application.

Will you pay the fellowship retroactively if I am already at the host institute at the time of being selected?

No, the fellowship cannot be paid retroactively.

Can I apply for a fellowship from another institution at the same time I submit my application to the Humboldt Foundation?

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. It is not possible to apply for or pursue an existing application for a Feodor Lynen Fellowship if a DAAD or DFG fellowship is accepted for the same period.

Are there deadlines for submitting applications?

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.
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. If there is any delay in submitting the host’s statement and the expert reviews, the entire application will take longer to process.
A graphic display of the complete application process can be found under timeline of selection procedure.
 
Application documents

Should my expert reviews be sent directly to the Humboldt Foundation or enclosed with the application?

Expert reviewers should submit their expert reviews by email or post to the Selection Department at the Humboldt Foundation directly. Please ask your expert reviewers to use the form for expert reviews. Expert reviews should not be more than 24 months old at the time of application.

What happens if expert reviews are submitted before the application is received?

Expert reviews and host's statements that cannot be immediately matched to an application will be kept on file for up to six months and matched with the corresponding application when it is received.

Who should provide expert reviews for my application and how many expert reviews are required?

Expert reviews should address your development as a researcher, your potential, and your academic accomplishments to date. Therefore it is important that expert reviewers are really familiar with your academic work. You must submit two expert reviews. Please note: The host's statement does not count as an expert review!

Which publications should I submit with my application?

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: 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.

May I include works that have not yet been submitted for publication in the list of key publications and the complete list of publications?

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. 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.

I have not yet completed my doctorate. Do I have to hand in my doctoral certificate later?

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.

What are key publications?

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.

How many key publications should I cite?

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.

How should I explain why I have chosen a key publication?

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.

Should my key publications also be cited in the complete list of publications?

Yes. Please cite all your publications in the complete list of publications, including your key publications. In this list they should be cited without explanations (cf. sample publication list).
Please note that it is not possible to amend the list of publications submitted to the Humboldt Foundation once the selection process has begun.

Do I have to submit a language certificate?

No, a language certificate is not required.
 
Selection procedure

Will you confirm receipt of my application, as well as other documents, expert reviews and the host's statement?

As soon as we receive your application, we will notify you by email. Due to the number of applications, we cannot confirm the receipt of the expert reviews and the host's statement separately. If, however, important documents or information should be missing from your application, we will notify you.

How much time do I have to submit further documents or update my application?

Your expert reviews and the statement from your academic host should reach us about the same time as your application. 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.

Will I be notified of the date the Selection Committee will decide on my application?

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.

Who will review my application?

Your application will be reviewed by independent peer reviewers.

Who will decide on my application?

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.

When will I be informed about the decision?

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.

Will I be notified of the reasons for a rejection?

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.
 
Selection

How high is the success rate?

In the last few years, the success rate was roughly 40 per cent.

What are the most important selection criteria?

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.

Can I re-apply after being rejected?

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.

Contact

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Jean-Paul-Straße 12
53173 Bonn

info(at)avh.de