Information on the application process

Are you planning to submit an application to the Einstein Foundation but still have questions about specific details? Below, we have compiled general FAQs, helpful answers, forms and documents.

Applications can only be submitted by the contact persons at the eligible institutions. Please get in touch with the respective contact person at an early stage.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Einstein Foundation Head Office, team grants advisory and processing.

From submission to decision

FAQs application process

Once the application has been submitted to the Einstein Foundation, the review and decision-making process takes about seven to eight months to be completed. After contacting the relevant person at your institution’s grants office, submit your application to them (please bear in mind that your university may have set internal deadlines). Your grants office will then forward your application to the Einstein Foundation (programme deadlines can be found on the Einstein Foundation’s website). The Foundation will check whether the application meets all formal criteria and then launch the review process. Based on the received reviews, the Foundation’s Research Board makes a funding recommendation. Finally, the Foundation’s Executive Board then reaches a funding decision drawing on the reviews, the Research Board’s recommendation, the Berlin Board’s discussion of the application’s contribution to nurturing Berlin’s appeal as a science and research hub, and the available funds. This funding decision requires about six to seven months after the Einstein Foundation’s deadline and is then officially communicated to the applicants.

The earliest realistic starting date is September 1 for applications submitted the previous November, and February 1 for applications submitted the previous May, allowing for the time required for the application process and for the usual preliminary tasks (e.g. staff recruitment). In our experience, a later start date is more realistic if there are positions that need to be advertised and filled at the start of the project.

No, all applications should be submitted via the Einstein Foundation’s contact persons at the eligible institutions.

Applications in all programmes must be submitted in English so that they can be reviewed by international experts. Please also ensure that all letters of support are submitted in English. 

It is not possible to resubmit applications – even in a revised – if they have previously been rejected, or if there was insufficient funding for an application approved by the Research Board, unless the rejection letter explicitly encourages the resubmission of a revised version. Rejected applications for personal funding cannot be resubmitted for the same candidate. 

Please use the relevant budget plan template file. In addition, please provide justification and explanation for all listed items; these justifications and explanations can be attached to the budget plan as free-form text on separate pages. Please also consult the respective programme’s Budget Plan Attachment (available under “Forms” on the Foundation’s website). The budget plan must clearly show the funding source for each item (e.g. an appointment financed through university funds). 

Publication costs (copyediting, distribution, etc.) can be covered in line with the rules of the DFG. You can apply for funds to cover publication costs of up to €2,000 per year per Principal Investigator. These funds can be used either for traditional or open-access publications. Funds can be carried over to later budget years, but may not be used for other purposes. 

In new applications, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers need to be allocated at least 75% FTE positions. Positions scheduled for less than 75% FTE or assigning funding to cover scholarship fees requires the explicit approval of the Einstein Foundation head office.

Where exceptions have been arranged, the upper limit for scholarship funding is €1.800 per month. For postdoctoral scholarships, this amount can be raised to €2,100 to include voluntary social and pension insurance contributions.

This depends on the respective regulations of the institution/university in question.  

A minimum of 50% + €0.01 of the approved funds (for the entire funding period) have to remain at the host institution. 

Basic equipment

The Einstein Foundation does not fund the purchase of basic equipment (including computers, laptops, phones, storage devices, small office furniture, computer screens, standard software, general office and laboratory equipment, etc.) if the individual items are not proven to be essential for the success of the project (for instance specific hard- or software, equipment for specific laboratory use, etc.).

Large devices valued at more than €500,000 (Einstein Professorships and Einstein Strategic Professorships)

The Einstein Foundation does not fund large devices exceeding €500,000 in value.

General expenses (overhead)

Overhead expenses cannot be reimbursed. Eligible institutions must provide proof that they will make available or have already earmarked funding for the project for which an application is being submitted.

Indirect costs

Funding may not be used to cover additional costs, such as premiums needed to insure scholarship holders.

Childcare expenses

A fixed rate per child to cover childcare cannot be reimbursed. This does not apply to childcare required during events (where several children may be cared for simultaneously), which are covered if other childcare services, offered for instance by the university, are not provided.

Moving expenses

The Einstein Foundation cannot reimburse moving expenses.

Career counseling

While the Einstein Foundation does not fund general career counseling services for individual researchers, it does support project-specific training and professional development (such as German language courses for scholars participating in the Academic Freedom program). In line with the policy of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, up to €2,000 in funding can be requested for German language courses for employees from abroad, provided they are involved in the respective project for a minimum of 12 months. Non-university courses can only be funded if comparable courses are not offered by the host university.

Translation of publications and indirect publishing costs

Publication costs (copyediting, distribution, etc.) can be covered in line with the rules of the DFG. You can apply for funds to cover publication costs of up to €2,000 per year per Principal Investigator. These funds can be used either for traditional or open-access publications. Funds can be carried over to later budget years, but may not be reallocated to cover other costs.

Funding for staff and equipment outside of Berlin

The Einstein Foundation does not provide funding for project-related staff and equipment based outside of Berlin, with the exception of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Travel and accommodation expenses can be reimbursed.