Research Fellowships

5-year Research Fellowships promote researchers with significant work experience at the postdoctoral level aiming for a career in academia. Research Fellows build their own academic identity by leading an independent research group at the University of Konstanz.

Within the Synergy Research Fellowship Programme we open the possibility to (academic) partners to apply. This programme allows two researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds to work on a single project, each contributing their own topical or methodological expertise, while having the opportunity to sharpen their individual research profiles. Each researcher will be awarded an individual Research Fellowship.

The Zukunftskolleg provides the Research Fellows with a professional infrastructure and an appropriate workplace for conducting research. Each fellow receives an annual research allowance, e.g. for funding research assistants or equipment. Furthermore, the Zukunftskolleg gives financial support for start-up, consumables and travel costs, and assists in developing academic skills. Fellows who bring funding for their own position for at least three years can receive as a start-up upon negotiation funding for a PhD-student position.

Each fellow is a member of both a university department and the Zukunftskolleg. Additionally, fellows of the Zukunftskolleg can be affiliated to the Clusters of Excellence at the University of Konstanz: "Politics of Inequality"and the "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour".

A mentoring committee supports each fellow in her/his career development. This committee consists of an experienced researcher from the fellow’s research field within the university department, as well as an advanced Research Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg.

Fellows have a work contract with the University of Konstanz and are expected to have their place of residence in Konstanz. They participate actively in the regular weekly meetings (Jour fixe) of the Zukunftskolleg and have an opportunity to teach.

Support Measures

Research Fellows profit from all support measures available at the Zukunftskolleg:

  • start-up funding: Fellows who bring funding for their own position for at least three years can receive as a start-up upon negotiation funding for a PhD-student position, subject to budgetary capacity of the Zukunftskolleg. The payment of the PhD-position will follow the DFG rules.
  • they receive an annual research allowance e.g. for funding research assistants or equipment
  • they are eligible to apply for co-funding
  • Senior Fellowships and the Mentorship Programme give them the opportunity to invite distinguished colleagues to Konstanz
  • they can go on a temporary Research Visit abroad or nominate international early career researchers for a Research Visit at the Zukunftskolleg 
  • they are eligible to apply for funding for cooperative initiatives or for funding for particular career stages
  • they receive non-monetary support like coaching, professional career counseling or in grant proposal writing
  • they get financial support to organise and run a scientific retreat

Your Responsibilities

  • develop and implement their research project and build up their own research group;
  • work together, mutually advise and support each other and build in this way a vibrant community of scholars;
  • contribute proactively to the Zukunftskolleg community (e.g. organize Scientific Retreats, Day Trips) and participate in its events - especially the weekly Jour fixe;
  • report on a regular basis and contribute to the yearly institutional reports. Additionally, a final report on your activities and achievements at the Zukunftskolleg is expected within 6 months of completing your fellowship;
  • indicate the membership of the Zukunftskolleg and the source of financial support in publications and any other presentations and outreach activities originating from research projects undertaken within the Zukunftskolleg.

Selection Process

The applications are selected in a multi stage process

  1. Eligibility check and pre-selection
  2. International external peer-review
  3. Interdisciplinary Workshop on Future Research Directions at the University of Konstanz

Since it is the community of fellows that makes up the Zukunftskolleg, applicants are assessed not only for their academic achievements, but also for their personal, social and method-related abilities. The selection of fellows is organized as a highly competitive process involving intra-disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary evaluation. Criteria include diverse knowledge and qualifications such as leadership and teamwork skills, teaching or management experience, mobility and independence.

The candidates’ achievements should be in line with their “academic age”, so that they have a realistic prospect of being appointed professors.

 1. Eligibility check and formal pre-selection

In order to be eligible for application, candidates must fulfill all of the eligibility criteria listed above. Applications that do not pass the eligibility check will not be further considered. Subsequently, a first evaluation takes the quality of the proposal, the applicant's track record, and the suitability of the research proposal to the University of Konstanz into consideration.

Applicants are informed whether they have passed the eligibility check and whether their applications are forwarded for peer review.

2. International external peer-review

In the second stage, the best applications are forwarded to external experts who evaluate the research project and CV. Peer reviewers are distinguished experts in the same area of research as the proposals they assess, thus guaranteeing a high level of competence in the evaluation process. Peer reviewers are asked to comment on the quality of the research proposal, the long-term potential of the project, and academic performance, skills and competence relevant to an interdisciplinary setting. All candidates will receive short synopses of the anonymous reviewers’ reports.

3. Interdisciplinary Workshop on Future Research Directions and decision

In the next step, the recruitment committee will meet to discuss all peer-reviewed applications. Please note that the recruitment committee has access to all applications, even to those that have not passed the eligibility check. The candidates with the most promising research proposals (approximately twice the number of advertised positions) are invited to the Workshop on Future Research Directions at the University of Konstanz.

The purpose of the workshop is to give the interdisciplinary recruitment committee an opportunity to evaluate candidates in person. At this workshop, applicants present their proposed projects to the recruitment committee and the other applicants, and discuss their own and other applicants’ projects. They subsequently are further evaluated in a personal interview.

The committee evaluates the personal aptitude of the candidates with regard to leadership and teamwork skills, their ability to present their projects and receive criticism, as well as their ability and willingness to engage in interdisciplinary exchange. Candidates are informed of the final decision and their own strengths and weaknesses shortly after the workshop.

Successful applicants are offered a Research Fellowship at the Zukunftskolleg. The members of the recruitment committee draw up a waiting list in case selected candidates reject the offer. No redress procedure is provided, but unsuccessful candidates are eligible to resubmit a revised proposal in the next selection round. Similarly, candidates who have evidence that there has been a shortcoming in the way their proposal was evaluated may appeal their rejection and resubmit their application, together with a justification for the appeal, for re-evaluation in the next selection round.


Follow-up Prospects

Zukunftskolleg 5-year Research Fellowships are comparable to assistant professorships or junior professorships without tenure in Germany. During their Research Fellowships, fellows can qualify for permanent positions as full professors by pursuing frontier research and exhibiting all skills necessary for a university career. Fellows are invited to apply for faculty positions at the University of Konstanz. 

Have a look at the career pathways of former fellows here.