FAQ for women academics and families

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation campaigns for equal opportunities for men and women in research, particularly with regard to young families. We have bundled questions focusing on this area here.

The Humboldt Foundation handles its sponsorship as flexibly as possible. If you fail to find the answer to your question in the FAQ, please do not hesitate to approach your contact at the Foundation directly. It is often possible to find tailor-made solutions.

 

1. Questions relating to your application to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

I completed my doctorate more than four years ago. Can I apply for a postdoctoral fellowship none the less?

If you completed your doctorate more than four years ago, you are not eligible to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship. However, exceptions can be made if there are good reasons (e.g. recognition of absences due to child rearing). If you have a clearly recognisable profile of your own and have already gained experience at least at the level of an assistant professor or junior research group leader, or if you can prove that you have been working in research in an independent capacity for several years, we usually recommend you to apply to the programme for experienced researchers. Please send us your curriculum vitae and publication list so that we can advise you.

To what extent do you recognise periods spent on child-rearing and family care when evaluating academic performance?

On the application form please state any periods during which you had to interrupt your academic activity, wholly or partially, for purposes of child-rearing or family care so that these periods can be taken into account when assessing your academic record in relation to your career stage. As stated in the guidelines, the period of four or 12 years after completing your doctorate may, for example, be extended by a maximum of two years per child if you interrupted your academic activity after your doctorate for the period stated and claim for this period.

When applying for a German Chancellor Fellowship, please be sure to include all periods spent on child-rearing after completing your Bachelor’s degree on the application form. We will verify whether these periods can be recognised as child-related absences. It may be possible to extend the prescribed period after completion of your Bachelor’s.

Can I bring my family with me?

The Humboldt Foundation explicitly encourages fellows to bring their marital partners and children with them to Germany and grants family allowances in addition to the fellowship, provided that the family members accompany the fellow for more than three months.

We are happy to advise you if you have any other questions. Please initially contact info(at)avh.de.

 

2. Provisions for women academics and young families receiving sponsorship

QUESTIONS FROM FOREIGN FELLOWS COMING TO GERMANY

Will you grant an allowance for my marital partner if s/he accompanies me to Germany?

If your marital partner accompanies you to Germany for at least three months (without interruption) you will be eligible for a family allowance for marital partners of €276 per month during the sponsorship period. Please note: you may apply for parental allowance to care for infants under the age of 15 months. If you do so, it will not be possible to grant the family allowance for marital partners in addition. For further information please read the Information Sheet: Family allowance for marital partners.

Will I receive child benefit or substitutional payment by the Foundation for my children if they accompany me?

Under German law, members of the European Union (EU) as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are eligible to apply for child benefit from the Family Office of the “Bundesagentur für Arbeit” (German employment agency). The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grants research fellows from other countries a substitutional payment of €190 per month, provided that their children are minors (under the age of 18) who accompany them to Germany for at least three months (without interruption). Exception: If you come from other countries and your children accompany you for more than six months (without interruption) you must also apply for child benefit to the Family Office. We shall be pleased to advise you if these regulations affect you. For additional information please  read the  Information Sheet: Child benefit according to German law / Substitutional payment by the Foundation.

Which additional allowances can I apply for as a single-parent?

Single-parent research fellows may apply for a flat-rate child allowance, if they are accompanied by minors (under the age of 18) to Germany for a period of least 3 months (without interruption). For the first child a monthly child allowance of €400 and €100 per month for each additional child will be granted. For additional information please read the Information Sheet: Flat-rate child allowance for children of single-parent research fellows.

Will my family receive an allowance for health insurance during their stay?

The Humboldt Foundation may grant an allowance towards health and third party insurance of €50 per month during the sponsorship period for marital partners and underage children (under the age of 18), provided that they accompany you to Germany for at least three months (without interruption). For additional information please read the Information sheet: Subsidy towards the cost of medical and liability insurance.

Will it be possible for me and my family to attend a language course?

As the success of a research stay in Germany depends to a considerable extent on your knowledge of German, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation explicitly supports research fellows’ efforts to learn German. You and your marital partner may both attend an intensive language course in Germany (concurrently if required) lasting up to four months immediately before embarking on the fellowship. In the context of this language fellowship the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation bears the costs of the course fees as well as bed and breakfast. To cover other meals and additional costs the Foundation grants its research fellows an allowance of €610 per month. Language courses take place in Germany. At present, language courses for children can unfortunately not be subsidised.

Can my marital partner and I apply for parental allowance?

Under German law, members of the European Union (EU) as well as the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland are eligible to apply for parental allowance during the first 15 months of their child’s life. The same applies to the marital partners of research fellows from others countries who spend more than six months (without interruption) in Germany together with their children. If you do apply for parental allowance the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will not be able to grant an additional family allowance for marital partners - see above. For further information please read the Information Sheet: Family allowance for marital partners.

Can I extend my research fellowship in case of childbirth?

If you give birth during the sponsorship period it is possible, on principle, to extend the approved sponsorship period by up to three months in line with the periods stipulated under the German Maternity Protection Act. You are also eligible for an extension of the sponsorship period if the fellowship is due to end during statutory maternity leave (usually six weeks prior to and eight weeks after birth). For additional information please read the Information Sheet: Maternity protection and parenthood: Parenting support.

Can I extend my research fellowship in the context of parenting support?

An extension of the research fellowship of up to 12 months is possible, if at least one child of no more than twelve years of age when the fellowship begins (for research stays that are divided up into blocks: when the block begins) accompanies the research fellow to Germany during the sponsorship period. This also applies if the first child is born during the sponsorship period. In the event of a pregnancy during the sponsorship period, the research fellow is entitled to an extension if an entitlement to maternity protection according to the German Maternity Protection Act as amended on 20 June 2002 would begin during the sponsorship period.
If the research fellowship was granted for a sponsorship period of less than 12 months, the extension period may generally not exceed the granted sponsorship period.
The academic host’s confirmation of research facilities is required for an extension of the research fellowship to be granted. For further information please read the Information Sheet: Maternity protection and parenthood: Parenting support.

Can I interrupt my research fellowship due to childbirth or childcare leave?

If you give birth or are planning to care for a child under the age of 12 during the sponsorship period you can apply to interrupt your fellowship for up to 18 months. You will require confirmation from your academic host that this will not endanger the purpose of the fellowship.

Can the allowance for research costs be used to support families?

No, this is not possible: The allowance for research costs is a form of support for the collaboration between academic host and fellow. It ranges from €500 to €800 per month.

 

QUESTIONS FROM FELLOWS GOING ABROAD

Will you grant an allowance for my family if they accompany me abroad?

The Humboldt Foundation may grant support for families on application. You can discover more by consulting the following questions.

How is the monthly fellowship amount calculated?

The monthly fellowship amount takes account of your individual family circumstances. In addition to the basic amount you will receive a foreign allowance which is increased in accordance with the number of family members accompanying you. Furthermore, family allowances for marital partners and children may be granted:
  1. Family allowance for marital partners
    If you or your marital partner do/es not earn an income, or only an income below the lower earnings level for small earners (currently €400 per month gross) you may apply in writing for a monthly family allowance for marital partners of €205. The allowance will be granted irrespective of whether your marital partner accompanies you abroad. Please note: if you draw parental allowance in accordance with the legislation on parental allowance and parental leave (BEEG), no additional family allowance for marital partners can be granted.
  2. Family allowance for children
    The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation can grant you a family allowance for children. This comprises a child allowance plus, if necessary, an additional sum to equal the amount of child allowance stipulated in German income tax legislation (EStG). If you draw child allowance under EStG you will only receive the family allowance for children from the Humboldt Foundation. It will be paid in the form of a monthly lump sum for children up to the age of 18 on written application. The amount for the first child is €400 per month and €100 per month will be paid for every additional child. The allowance may apply to children of non-marital couples, provided that you can prove that they were living in the same household as the fellow prior to the fellowship (e.g. confirmation from the Residents’ Registration Office in Germany).

    You can use our fellowship calculator to calculate your fellowship amount, including the foreign allowance and family allowances.

Will I receive support for childcare if any children accompany me abroad?

If you are accompanied abroad by at least one child under the age of 12 at the beginning of the fellowship or part of a multi-part stay you can apply in writing for childcare support. This support can either be granted in the form of an extension of the research fellowship by up to 12 months or as reimbursement of costs incurred for childcare. A combination of the two forms is also possible.

Can I interrupt my research fellowship due to childbirth or childcare leave?

If you give birth or are planning to care for a child under the age of 12 during the sponsorship period you can apply to interrupt your fellowship for up to 18 months. You will require confirmation from your academic host that this will not endanger the purpose of the fellowship.

Can I extend my research fellowship in case of childbirth?

If you give birth during the sponsorship period it is possible, on principle, to extend the approved sponsorship period by up to three months along the lines of the periods stipulated under German maternity protection legislation. You are also eligible for an extension of the sponsorship period if the fellowship is due to end during the statutory period of maternity leave (usually six weeks prior to and eight weeks after birth).