Programme Description

In line with its statutes, the Studienstiftung supports "the university education of young people who, because of their exceptional academic or artistic talents and personal qualities, can be expected to make an outstanding contribution to society as a whole". The Studienstiftung offers generous financial support for Ph.D. students. Doctoral scholars receive EUR 1,450 a month, comprising a basic monthly stipend of EUR 1,350 and a research allowance of EUR 100 a month. Scholars can apply for a contribution towards the costs of health insurance. In addition, family and childcare allowances are available for doctoral scholars. Scholars who travel abroad for research purposes, laboratory visits or to attend conferences can apply for grants for travel and additional living expenses.

Applications are welcome from international candidates who have been accepted on a doctoral programme at a German university where the thesis will also be submitted.

Target Group

highly qualified and socially committed PhD students

Academic Requirements

  • The last academic degree should have been completed no longer than four years prior to submission of the application.
  • The doctoral candidate has been accepted on a doctoral programme at a German university where the thesis will also be submitted; nationality is irrelevant.

Duration

Funding is initially granted for two years. On application and subject to successful progress, the scholarship may be extended twice, for up to six months respectively. The maximum funding period is 36 months; for scholarship holders with children this period can be increased to 48 months. On the birth of a child during the funding period, mothers may extend their scholarships for a further three months to cover maternity leave. Previous periods of scholarship funding for the doctoral project will be deducted from the maximum funding period. A short-term suspension of funding is possible.

Scholarship Value

  • grant amount of EUR 1,450 a month, comprising a basic monthly stipend of EUR 1,350 and a research allowance of EUR 100 a month
  • Scholars can apply for a contribution towards the costs of health insurance, amounting to 50 percent of documented costs to a maximum of EUR 100 a month. This contribution is available to scholars whose health insurance is not covered by employment (for example in research and teaching).
  • Family and childcare allowances are available for doctoral scholars. Further funding for childcare can be provided through a reallocation of scholarship funds from the final year of funding ("time for money").
  • Scholarship holders may pursue academic employment corresponding to a 25-percent part-time position, allowing further integration in the research context.
  • Doctoral scholars who travel abroad for research purposes, laboratory visits or to attend conferences can apply for grants for travel and additional living expenses.
  • Holders of doctoral scholarships are supported by an adviser in the Studienstiftung’s office and a personal tutor at their home university, who follow their academic and personal development and offer guidance on issues relating to their scholarship and doctoral research.
  • All doctoral scholars are members of one of three doctoral forums (culture, society, nature), which meet regularly to discuss questions relating to scholars’ research, the PhD procedure and wider academic questions.
  • In addition to the programme on offer for doctoral students, scholars pursuing a Ph.D. have access to the complete range of academic programmes offered by the Studienstiftung. These include summer academies, short conferences and seminars on professional development and career orientation.

Selection criteria
  • an ambitious and innovative thesis project, which can be completed within a three-year funding period;
  • effective supervision appropriate to the project and the doctoral candidate;
  • excellent degree results obtained within the regulation period of the study on the respective degree programme;
  • evidence of broad extra-curricular interests and an active commitment and engagement with society at large.

Selection procedure
The review procedure takes place in two phases:
A preliminary review of applications is conducted in the Studienstiftung. At this stage, the exposé of the doctoral thesis is not taken into consideration.


If an application is successful in the preliminary selection, it proceeds to the academic review phase: Two qualified academics provide written assessments of the applicant’s academic and extracurricular qualifications, as well as the quality of the proposed research project. The first review is conducted on the basis of the application documents; the second also includes a personal interview of the candidate.


First reviewers will be familiar with the applicant’s field of research. They formulate their assessments on the basis of the written documents provided by the applicant and, in particular, consider in their review his / her academic qualifications, as well as the exposé of the proposed dissertation project.


For the second review, an interview with the candidate is conducted in addition to the assessment of the written documents. In this case, reviewers drawn from the applicant’s discipline also have a standing relationship with the Studienstiftung; they may not necessarily be experts in the candidate’s narrow field of research. The second review assesses the academic aspects of the application and takes the applicant's personal qualities and extra-curricular activities into consideration.


When selecting interviewers, we seek to limit travel times to a minimum; we are unable to cover travel expenses. If candidates are abroad at the time of application, we will, if possible, arrange an interview locally. Applicants should, however, be prepared to attend interviews in Germany. Interviews are intended to enable an assessment of the candidate based on personal meeting and cannot, therefore, be conducted by telephone or skype.


Following receipt of both reviews, the application proceeds to the selection board for doctoral scholarships for the final decision. The board is appointed by the governing body of the Studienstiftung and convenes four times a year. From start to finish the selection procedure can take up to eight months.



Application Papers

All information about the application and forms for download can be found here.

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