ZUKOnnect Fellowships for Scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America


The Zukunftskolleg Konnect Fellowships support early career researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America related to one of the thirteen departments of the University of Konstanz. As ZUKOnnect Fellow, you can use this time to extend your research networks and to get to know the research environment at the University of Konstanz, without losing your ties to your home university. As these fellowships can build a first bridge to the German and European academic system, we also encourage doctoral students in their last year to apply. The Zukunftskolleg will not offer employment contracts for ZUKOnnect Fellows.

The start date is between September 1st, 2020 and October 1st, 2020. Up to 5 (post-)doctoral stipends are available for up to 3 months (with justification for up to 4 months) and are based at the Zukunftskolleg.

We offer

  • A stipend of 1.200€/ month for doctoral students and 2.000€/month for postdoctoral researchers (following DAAD guidelines)
  • Standard expenses for economy-class travel to Konstanz and back.
  • Access to events organized by the Zukunftskolleg;
  • Access to library resources;
  • Access to IT services;
  • Access to research support services (via Research Support);
  • After the research stay at the Zukunftskolleg, ZUKOnnect Fellows can extend their affiliation with a digital fellowship for additional 6 months.

Your responsibilities

  • You will live in Konstanz or nearby throughout the ZUKOnnect Fellowship (the Welcome Centre of the University of Konstanz will offer support with all organizational aspects of relocating to Konstanz);
  • You will actively contribute to the interdisciplinary dialogue at the Zukunftskolleg during the weekly Jour Fixe meetings (during semester);
  • You will interact with fellows and researchers in relevant departments at the University of Konstanz;
  • You will give a presentation in a seminar or a public lecture;
  • You will acknowledge Zukunftskolleg support in any publications resulting from the stay;
  • You will write a short report on your activities and achievements (within 6 months of completing your
    ZUKOnnect Fellowship).

Your Competencies

  • You originate and work in a country of Latin America, Asia or Africa.
  • You hold a doctorate (max. 2 year of postdoctoral experience) OR are a doctoral student in your last year.
  • You do not hold a permanent professorship, nor do you have a Habilitation or equivalent (Venia legendi).
  • Your research project should tie in with one of the disciplines represented at the University of Konstanz.
  • You should name a researcher at the University of Konstanz with whom you intend to collaborate (no need to contact person(s) in advance),
  • Preference will be given to applicants who plan to team up with one of our current Zukunftskolleg Fellows.


Please submit your application documents in English via our Online application portal. The reference number is 2019/336. Applications should include:

  • Motivation letter (including your objectives for the research stay at the Zukunftskolleg, an explanation how your research ties in with the research landscape at the university as well as a precise time plan for your stay)
  • Short description or summary of your current research project (maximum 3 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Certificates (doctoral certificate or a letter of your supervisor commenting on the progress of your doctoral thesis)
  • Reference letter from your home university will strengthen the application.

    Questions can be directed to Daniela Kromrey via e-mail: zukunftskolleg@uni-konstanz.de or by phone: (+ 49 (0)7531 / 88 – 5686). When the budget situation permits, Zukunftskolleg can grant financial support for families who accompany the ZUKOnnect Fellows during the scholarship. We look forward to receiving your application with the usual documents until 28.02.2020.


FAQ for ZUKOnnect Fellowships

Q: “I am unsure if my country belongs to Africa, Asia or Latin America. Is there a list of countries you could provide me with?”
A: “No. For the fellowship we have only broadly defined the geographical areas without linking it to political boarders. There is no list of (in)eligible countries”.

Q: “I currently work/live in a country outside of Africa, Asia or Latin America, am I still eligible?”
A: “No. We do demand the current residency/ work place to be in an African, Asian or Latin American country.”

Q: “I originate from an African, Asian or Latin American country but work in a different country of Africa, Asia or Latin America – am I eligible?”
A.: “Yes. We do demand you to originate and work in a country of Africa, Asia and Latin America, but this does not need to be a single country. You are also eligible if e.g. you have an Asian origin but now work in Latin America.

Q: “Can I apply, if I have a permanent position at the university, but not yet a professorship?”
A: “Yes. If you have a permanent position, but you are not in control of your own research agenda, you are eligible. The purpose of ZUKOnnect fellowships is to create networks at the pre-professorial level.”

Q: “Your criteria are very specific, but do not apply to the academic structure in my country. How can I apply?”
A: “We know that with different systems, different traditions, and different names for positions it is impossible to have a description of our ZUKOnnectfellowship that would match all countries. So, please explain the academic structures in your country, and the committee will take that into account.”

Q: “I am still writing my PhD, maybe in the last year - but having a ZUKOnnect fellowship would disrupt my final phase, what should I do?”
A: “We do not want to disrupt the current research, or to fund parts of your PhD research. In your situation, therefore, it would be best to apply in the next call. In most cases, the best time to apply during a PhD is after submitting the thesis, and before defending it."

Q: “The call focuses on early career researchers. Is there an age limit for the application?”
A: “Candidates applying for a ZUKOnnect Fellowship must have two years of postdoctoral research experience at most. Unavoidable delays in career development will be taken into account when calculating the years of postdoctoral research experience (see below).  Other than that, there is no formal age limit, although the candidates’ achievements should be in line with their "academic age". The Zukunftskolleg values multidimensional career tracks. Career breaks and variations in the chronological order of CVs are therefore regarded as potentially valuable contributions to the professional development of researchers. As a certified family-friendly university, the University of Konstanz especially welcomes returnees from parental leave. The mobility experience of applicants is also recognized as a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary and international research community of the Zukunftskolleg. Applicants can submit evidence-based CVs that reflect their extra-curricular achievements and qualifications.”

Q: “What will be taken into account when calculating the time of postdoctoral experience?
A: “Candidates applying for a ZUKOnnect Fellowship must have two years of postdoctoral research experience at most. As a university-based Institute for Advanced Study within the German academic system we commit ourselves to the principles of the German Research Foundation (DFG). In order to appropriately assess an individual's research achievements, due consideration must be given to individual circumstances. In this context, equal opportunity means that appropriate allowance must be made for unavoidable delays in an individual's career development. Unavoidable delays in a research career (for example extended qualification phases, publication gaps, reduced number of periods abroad) may be caused by circumstances such as:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Childcare
  • Care of family members
  • Disability or chronic illness
  • Long period of serious illness
  • National service (military or civilian)

Applicants who wish to explain unavoidable delays in their career development must therefore explicitly state the relevant circumstances in the proposal, motivation letter and curriculum vitae and if necessary (if the circumstance is not self-explanatory) attach a short explanation. Unavoidable delays in career development will be taken into account when calculating the years of postdoctoral research experience. In addition, applicants should indicate in the curriculum vitae the dates of birth of children and periods of childcare (e.g. periods during which an individual temporarily gave up work for maternity or paternity leave).

Q:”Will I need to contact a researcher or Zukunftskolleg Fellow to support my application”
A:”No. PLEASE DO NOTCONTACT A RESEARCHER OR ZUKUNFTSKOLLEG FELLOW IN ADVANCE! We only ask you to name researchers or Fellows in your application form. Please use our website, the university catalogue or a web search engine to search for suitable research contacts at the University of Konstanz. There is no need to contact researcher(s) at the University of Konstanz beforehand.

Q: “I could not identify a current Fellow that matches my research interest, but could link up to other researchers at the University. Can I still apply?
A:”Yes. We encourage collaboration with our Fellows as this will also ease integration into the Zukunftskolleg community – in particular keeping in mind the relatively short duration of the fellowships. However, as we only have a limited number of Fellows, you are also eligible to apply if your research interest fit with other researchers at the university. The selection committee will in particular examine your research project description in combination with your timeline and objectives for your research stay.”

Q: “Do I need a reference letter from the University of Konstanz?”
A: “No. The reference letter should come from your current or former (academic) work place. For PhD students, a letter from their supervisor is sufficient. You will need no letter of support or alike from a researcher of the university of Konstanz.Applicants can either directly upload the reference letters themselves or ask the referees to send it to us via email to zukunftskolleg@uni-konstanz.de. Importantly, these reference letters should be up-to-date, written on an official letter-head, and be duly signed by the referees”

Q: “What is required from the motivation letter?”
A: “The motivation letter is typically a statement of purpose and should address your motivation to become a member of the Zukunftskolleg. The letter should discuss the fit between you, your project, the Zukunftskolleg, and the University of Konstanz. To what degree would your project benefit from the specific environment of the Zukunftskolleg as well as the Department associated with your research (and vice versa)? Why do you think you are the right person for this programme? How does your experience and proposed research project fit within the advertised framework of the Fellowship? The motivation letter can also be a medium to address relevant experience or research as well as other pertinent information not addressed elsewhere in the application. The Motivation letter should be no longer than one page.

Q: “Do I need to have any knowledge of the German language for the fellowship or in general for my stay in Konstanz?”
A: “No. The Zukunftskolleg is committed to care for the special needs of non-national researchers, striving to reduce obstacles to transnational mobility through a number of measures. The working-language of the Zukunftskolleg is English and all documents are available in English, abating language-barriers for non-German-speaking Fellows. All coaching and training activities are available in English and all administrative and support staff is trained in communicating effectively in English.”

Q: “Do I need to submit an English language certificate in order to be eligible?”
A: “No, you do not need to submit a language certificate. Although you are required to upload all documents for your application in English, you do not have to conduct or publish your research during the fellowship in English.