FAQ for Feodor Lynen Research Fellows

What do I have to do before the start of my stay abroad?

Please find a list of some important "to dos" below:
 
  • Immediately fill in, sign and return the declaration of acceptance to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation so that the Foundation can initiate the next steps.
  • Apply for family support, if applicable (see FAQ Family).
  • Depending on the host country: apply for a visa for the host country – also for your accompanying spouse and children, if applicable (see guidelines B.2). Further information is also available from the EURAXESS service portal.
  • Clarify the issue of accommodation (possibly also with the host institution).
  • Take out health and liability insurance valid from your date of entry to the host country (see guidelines B.3.1 and B.3.4).
  • Clarify your situation with regard to pension and long-term care insurance (and any other insurances) in Germany during your stay abroad (see guidelines B.3.3 and B.3.2). More information can also be found in the EURAXESS service portal.
  • The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation generally invites its fellows to a network meeting before the start of the sponsorship period (and after their return to Germany) which aims to promote the exchange of experiences between departing and returned Feodor Lynen research fellows. These network meetings usually take place in March/April and in October/November; attendance is strongly recommended.

What should I do if I have also received a fellowship offer from another organisation?

If you are offered another fellowship, you must inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation immediately. Please note that the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship is awarded subject to the condition that the fellow has neither taken up any other fellowship financed through German public funds at the time the fellowship is granted nor plans to take up any such fellowship before the start of the sponsorship period.

May I postpone my fellowship?

Research fellowships can only be postponed for urgent reasons and not for an unlimited amount of time. If you are unable to begin your research fellowship on the date you originally intended, please inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation immediately so that a new start date can be arranged.
A decision on a postponement is dependent on a new research outline coordinated with the academic host, proof of further academic qualifications, the research fellow having reached a certain career stage (date of doctorate) and the Foundation's financial planning.

It is not generally possible to postpone the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship in order to take up another fellowship. More information is available in the guidelines (A.1.11).

What do I have to do after I have arrived in my host country?

  • Please inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation immediately of your address at your research location, including your telephone number and email address. Please also immediately inform the Humboldt Foundation of any later change of address abroad (see guidelines B.4).
  • Discuss the modalities for payment of the host contribution with your host/host institution. You will usually have to open a bank account in your host country.
  • We recommend that you present yourself to the administration of the host university (e.g. the office of the dean, provost, president), taking the opportunity to explain the aims of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (see also guidelines B.5).

How do I find accommodation in my host country?

The housing market can vary strongly depending on your location. We recommend that you contact your host/host institution well in advance in order to gain more detailed information and possibly assistance in seeking accommodation.

How do I find a kindergarten for my children?

As the situation may vary strongly depending on your host location, we recommend identifying and contacting someone qualified to assist in such matters at the host institution well in advance. You can also use the Humboldt Network Online to find possible other fellows with the same host location who may be willing to share their experiences.

How do I find a school for my children?

You can find some information on this issue at the following link: https://www.euraxess.de/.../schools

Do I have to take out health insurance for my host country?

Feodor Lynen fellows and their accompanying family members must be insured with a health insurance company that provides adequate coverage in their host country from the first day and for the entire duration of their stay. You can find more detailed information in the guidelines (B.3.1).

What is the amount of my fellowship?

The monthly fellowship amount is calculated from a base fellowship, a foreign allowance, an allowance for direct project costs and, if applicable, other family-related allowances (see guidelines A.1.5).
Together with the grant documents, fellows will receive an account sheet showing the preliminary fellowship calculation by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It does not include possible family allowances; these should be applied for immediately after accepting the fellowship.
The foreign allowance included in the fellowship grant varies, which means that reductions are possible. Any payments made in advance are therefore conditional.
You can use the fellowship calculator to calculate for yourself what the amount is likely to be if your application is successful.

Can I receive financial support for my family during my fellowship?

On application, the Humboldt Foundation can grant family allowances for your marital partner and children. Please see the application form and the guidelines (A.1.5.2 to A.1.5.4 and A.3.3) for further conditions and details.
 
  • Fellows whose marital partners have no income or an income below the limit for "marginal" part-time employees (the so called “Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte”, currently €450 gross per month) are eligible for a monthly family allowance for marital partners of €205. This allowance is paid regardless of whether the marital partner accompanies the research fellow abroad. If your marital partner receives a parental allowance ("Elterngeld") according to German law (Federal Parental Allowances and Parental Leave Act, "BEEG"), no family allowance for marital partners can be granted.
  • If the research fellow is accompanied abroad by his/her marital partner for an uninterrupted period of at least three months, the foreign allowance may be increased.
  • Child allowance at a monthly flat rate can be awarded for children up to the age of 18. It amounts to €400 a month for the first child and €100 a month for each additional child.
  • A compensatory payment for child benefit according to the German Income Tax Act (Einkommensteuergesetz, EStG) can be awarded if neither the fellow nor his/her marital partner are eligible to claim child benefit in Germany according to the EStG.
  • Maternity protection: If a research fellow gives birth during the sponsorship period, the period granted for sponsorship can be extended for up to three months in line with statutory maternity rights.
  • A research fellow who is accompanied abroad by at least one child who is no more than twelve years of age when the fellowship begins (for research stays that are divided up into blocks: when the block begins) can receive parenting support. This support can be claimed either in the form of an extension of the research fellowship or in the form of reimbursement for childcare costs.

What do I do if the host contribution I actually receive differs from the amount on which the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has based its fellowship calculation?

If the host contribution differs from the fellowship calculation, please inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation immediately. See also guidelines A.1.10 on taxes/deductions.

Am I allowed to have additional earnings?

Research fellows are obliged to inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of any additional earnings (salary or income from employment or self-employment in Germany, German or foreign fellowships). Any additional earnings exceeding €600 gross income a month will be deducted from the monthly fellowship grant. Any type of employment yielding additional earnings must be approved in advance by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which will examine whether this additional employment endangers the objective of the fellowship (cf. A.1 and A.1.12 of the guidelines); in such cases the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation reserves the right to terminate or suspend the fellowship. Utilisation of other fellowships financed by German public funding is not allowed.

Income resulting from a previous or ongoing employment contract will not be offset against the monthly fellowship instalment if the contiguous funded stays abroad do not exceed a period of six months in each case.

Is my marital partner allowed to work during my fellowship stay?

As conditions vary strongly between host countries, we recommend contacting the appropriate authorities well in advance of your departure to enquire and apply for the appropriate visa.

Income of the marital partner that exceeds the upper limit for "marginal" part-time employees (“Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte”, currently €450 gross per month) affects the monthly fellowship grant and family allowances. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation must therefore always be informed of any such income.

Do I have to pay income tax and social security contributions in my host country or in Germany?

In the Federal Republic of Germany, Feodor Lynen research fellowships are exempt from taxation under Article 3, No. 44 of the German Income Tax Law. They are not subject to social security deductions.

In their host country, fellows are required to create the conditions necessary for tax exemption or reimbursement. If this is not possible, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation must be informed immediately.

(See also guidelines A.1.10)

Which status do I have as a research fellow at my host institution?

During their research stay, fellows carry out their research in cooperation with an academic host they have selected themselves. Fellows are neither employees of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation nor of the host institution. As they however regularly make use of the facilities of the academic host and the host institution, fellows are subject to the general rules and regulations that apply at this institution.
To avoid misunderstandings, we recommend making clear arrangements with your host about the specifics of practical collaboration; this includes collaboration with the (academic and technical) personnel at the institution and the use of scientific equipment, computers, phone, fax etc.

Is it possible to interrupt the fellowship?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation requires fellows to pursue their academic research in the host country for the duration of their research fellowship and not to be absent from the host institute for more than 14 days (continuous or accumulative) in total.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation must be given immediate written notification of any circumstances demanding a longer period of absence from the host institute (also due to illness). Prolonged periods of absence from the host institute require the approval of both the academic host and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is interested in keeping interruptions in research fellowships as short-term as possible (12 months at most). A decision on long-term interruption is dependent on a new research outline coordinated with the academic host, proof of further academic qualifications, the research fellow having reached a certain career stage (date of doctorate) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s financial planning. Interruption to take advantage of another fellowship is usually not possible. For further details, please refer to the guidelines (A.1.12).

When and under which circumstances may I request an extension of my fellowship?

If the envisaged research proposal cannot be completed within the time available and the period the research fellowship was awarded for is shorter than the maximum sponsorship period, application may be made for an extension of the fellowship, stating the reasons. The maximum sponsorship period is 24 months (for post-doctoral researchers) or 18 months (for experienced researchers). Extensions can neither be granted for work on a new research proposal nor for work on a new theme which has developed from the original research proposal. Applications for extension should be submitted to the Foundation 3 to 4 months prior to the end of the fellowship. More information is available in the guidelines (A.1.4).

Under certain circumstances, an extension of the research fellowship may also be applied for in the context of further benefits for families (cf. A.3.3.1. and A.3.3.2.1.).

Is it possible to change my host institution and my academic host?

Transfer from one university or host institute to another is possible if there are important professional or personal reasons for doing so. Detailed applications to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for transfer must be approved in writing by both the current and the prospective host institutes, including a statement evaluating the research outline by the prospective host. It should, however, be noted that a change of host institute may lead to considerable delay and expense caused by searching for accommodation, moving, re-registering etc.

If you change host institutions, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation expects your new academic host to contribute to your monthly grant at the originally agreed level.

You can find more information in the guidelines (A.1.13).

Is it possible to change the originally planned research outline?

The research fellowship is awarded in order to carry out the proposed research, which has been chosen by the research fellow and agreed upon with the host. On principle, it is not possible to make changes to the research proposal on the basis of which the Selection Committee has made its decision.

Do I get financial support for the participation in conferences?

During the research fellowship research fellows receive an allowance for direct project costs of €250 per month with each fellowship payment. The allowance for direct project costs constitutes a supplement for expenses in connection with necessary scientific equipment, material and publications as well as conference attendance and/or research travel. Additional travel and/or conference allowances cannot be granted.

Which rules do I have to observe concerning the exploitation of research results?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation considers it important that research results achieved in the framework of sponsorship be published. Please refer to our guidelines (A.5) for further information.

Does the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation provide information on equal opportunities for female researchers?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation campaigns for equal opportunities for men and women in research, particularly with regard to young families. We have compiled our FAQs concerning this subject under Information for women academics and families.

Contact

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Sponsorship and Network Department
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn
Germany

info(at)avh.de