For Research. For Berlin.

Questions and answers

Are you planning to submit an application to the Einstein Foundation but still have questions about specific details?

Below, we have compiled general as well as programme-specific FAQs and helpful answers. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Einstein Foundation Head Office.

- Information on the current application cycle

General questions about the application process 

Frequently asked questions about the programme ‘Einstein Research Project’ 

Frequently asked questions about the programme ‘Einstein Circle’ 

Frequently asked questions about the programme ‘Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellow’ 

Frequently asked questions about the programme ‘Einstein Junior Fellow’

Frequently asked questions about the programme ‘Einstein Visiting Fellow’

Information on the current application cycle

When is the earliest possible start for my project if approved?
Approved projects submitted end of November may not start before 1 September of the following year; applications submitted in may should plan to start not before 1 February of the next year. In our experience a later commencement is more realistic if vacancies have to be filled first.

General questions about the application process

Where do I submit my final application?
All applications must be submitted via the contact persons (see right box here) at the eligible institutions.

How long will it take to make a decision after I have submitted my application at my university?

After you submit your application to the department in charge at your institution, and it successfully passes any internal procedures that may apply at your institution, the application will be forwarded to the Einstein Foundation. From the time of submission at the eligible institution it usually takes six to seven months until the selection committees at the foundation make a decision.

May I submit an application in English?

In the programmes ‘Einstein Professorship’ and ‘Einstein Centre’ we require an English-language application to enable international reviewers to evaluate the application. In the other programmes, English-language applications are optional but welcomed. Please pay attention that you only use one language throughout the application (application form, budget plan, applications).

Is it possible to re-submit applications that have been rejected?

Applications that were either rejected or could not be approved due to insufficient funding cannot, unfortunately, be re-submitted, even if they have been revised. Applications that have been rejected for individual funding cannot be re-submitted for the same candidate.

Which aspects are important with regard to the budget plan?
Each budget plan (please use the templates in the box to the right of each project information) should have explanations attached; you do not have to follow a specific model here, just explain any fund you apply for with regard to your proposal. The source of money must be clear from the plan (e.g. university's own budget, other third-party-sources, etc.).

Questions about the programme ‘Einstein Research Project’

Can we involve additional partners who are not based in Berlin?

Generally, yes, provided that no funds from the Einstein Foundation will be used there or be transferred to those partners.

Is there a limit to the budget we can request?

No, but the budget must be appropriate for the research programme.

Questions about the programme ‘Einstein Circle’

Can an existing group apply for an Einstein Circle?

Yes, if the format of the circle will help anchor the topic in Berlin. However, we cannot provide funds to continue any projects that are already underway.

May we apply for an Einstein Circle for a period that exceeds the main applicant’s contract period?

Yes, if there are provisions in place as to how the circle will be coordinated for the remaining funding period and the contract in question will not expire more than one year prior to the end of the respective funding period.

Questions about the programme ‘Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellow’

Which junior research groups are eligible to apply?

• Emmy Noether Programme (DFG)

• Sofja Kovalevskaja Award (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation)

• ERC Starting Grant

• Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) junior research groups
• Freigeist Fellowships (VolkswagenStiftung)

• Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation “Plus 3”

• Junior research groups financed internally at the university with excellence funds

This list is not exhaustive and we may be able to accommodate other funding formats – please contact us.

What if a post-doc leaves before the funding period is over (e.g. because he/she gets his/her own junior research group)?

The position can be filled with a new candidate for the remaining funding period.

May we apply if the prospective post-doc is already in Germany? 

Yes, if he/she has been in the country for less than six months at the time of application.

Can junior research group leaders who have already been appointed submit an application?

Yes. As the appointment usually occurs after the junior research group has been established, it is, however, important to consider how much longer the junior research group has to run and whether it makes sense to add or try to integrate an additional IPF into the group.

Can a German post-doc be named as a candidate?

Yes, provided that he/she has worked abroad in an academic capacity for at least one year and, if possible, attained the next career stage during this time. At the time of application, the candidate may not have an employment contract (even dormant) with a German institution.

Can a person who heads multiple junior research groups apply for more than one fellow?

Yes. In this case, the applications must refer very specifically to the groups in question.

Questions about the programme ‘Einstein Junior Fellow’

Which kinds of assurance must the university make with regard to continued employment?

It must define concrete perspectives tailored to this person. A general declaration of intent is not sufficient.

Can a junior researcher working at a non-university institution submit an application?

No. Employment at one of the eligible institutions is a prerequisite for the application.

Questions about the programme ‘Einstein Visiting Fellow’

Can German citizens become Einstein Visiting Fellows?

Yes, if their primary residence is abroad and they have been working in an academic capacity there for at least five years. In addition, starting with the current round of applications, each institution will be able to apply for one ‘Einstein Visiting Fellow Plus’ from a German research institution outside of Berlin, if the hosting institution has already successfully recruited an Einstein Visiting Fellow from abroad.

What is the required size of the research group in Berlin?
It must include at least two academic members of staff in addition to the fellow (assistants do not count).

Does the fellow have to speak German?
No, unless it is necessary to conduct the academic work.

How much is the allowance?

It is based on the regulations pertaining to visiting professors at the respective institution. The foundation cannot pay a salary substitute. 

Can the fellow bring a research group?

As a rule, all prospective positions must be included in the grant as advertised. It is not possible to bring an entire group. 

Will group meetings in other locations be considered part of the fellow’s minimum stay?


Can interim reports be written in English?