For Research. For Berlin.

Einstein Strategic Professorship


Einstein Strategic Professorships are recruitments of leading researchers from abroad who are of outstanding strategic importance to developing Berlin’s research environment. The programme’s aim is to help Berlin’s universities and publicly funded non-university research institutions to implement pioneering research strategies, build their research profiles, explore and advance new research areas, as well as nurture their strengths and appeal to outstanding talents. Einstein Strategic Professorships are a decisive contribution to sustainably enhancing Berlin’s international competitiveness.


Since 2018, the Einstein Foundation has been able to fund Einstein Strategic Professorships through a generous donation from the Damp Foundation with a total of €36m until 2030. The State of Berlin provides additional resources which can be accessed after the end of the initial five-year funding period to create permanent positions for Strategic Professorships through the Einstein Foundation.


The following institutions are eligible to apply: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Universität der Künste Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Applications may also be submitted jointly with publicly funded Berlin-based research institutions, e.g. the non-university institutes of the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association, and the Fraunhofer Society.


Eligible institutions nominate outstanding scientists and researchers who have built a strong international reputation underlined by highly visible awards and prizes. 


The Einstein Foundation provides funding for positions and additional staff and equipment. The eligible institutions submit their applications requesting funding to establish a professorship for an internationally leading researcher. Once funding has been approved, the host institution is responsible for employing or appointing the candidate (for example, by issuing a search waiver and appointing the candidate directly). The applying institution initiates (appointment) negotiations with the candidate and creates the prerequisites for appointing or employing them. Faculty or employment contracts should be signed within nine months after funding has been approved.

Should the host institution fail to appoint a candidate after funding has been approved, the Einstein Foundation’s Executive Board can choose to fund the candidate ranked next on its candidate list.

The number of funded professorships depends on the total volume of funding requested and the number of permanent professorships funded by the State of Berlin and appointed by the universities.


Einstein Strategic Professorships are generally funded for five years. Cost-neutral extensions are only possible if the professorship is privately funded, or if all of the programme’s professorships are secured via mixed funding. Selected Strategic Professorships may be funded permanently via the State of Berlin, and candidates thus be appointed for life, whereas non-university institutions with successful independent funding applications are responsible for specifying and arranging continued collaboration after the end of the funding period.

For the duration of their work in Berlin, the respective candidate will hold the title of “Einstein Professor”.


Application deadlines can be found on the Foundation’s website. Besides detailing the reasons for supporting the proposed candidate, applications must: 

  • specify how the candidate will nurture the university’s artistic/research profile and Berlin’s appeal as a science and research hub;
  • outline how the Einstein Strategic Professorship will shape the institution’s medium- term strategic development, including future appointments and research foci; 
  • list the incentives the institution intends to offer the candidate – in addition to a lifetime position funded by the State of Berlin through the Einstein Foundation – to ensure they remain in Berlin once the initial funding has expired.


Please note that applications must be submitted in English.


Grants can only be disbursed as third-party funding through the host university, Charité – Universitätsmedizin, or the publicly funded non-university institution.


Applications for Einstein BUA Strategic Professorships may only be submitted by the Berlin University Alliance as part of one of its Grand Challenges Initiatives. The programme was created through a partnership between the Berlin University Alliance and the Einstein Foundation Berlin. The Einstein Foundation will manage the review process and has set up a multi-stage process to monitor the quality of the programme’s scientific output.

Contrary to point I., it is possible to appoint candidates from Germany as Einstein BUA Strategic Professors. Contrary to point IV., the maximum funding period is tied to funding disbursed through the budget sub-item “Projects for Grand Challenge Initiatives/Excellence Strategy”. BUA partners will secure long-term funding for Einstein BUA Strategic Professorships. Funded candidates will hold the title of “Einstein BUA Professor” for the duration of their activities in Berlin.