Emmy Noether Program: Leading Independent Junior Research Groups in Germany
The Emmy Noether Programme enables highly qualified early career researchers to become eligible for a university teaching career within a continuous period of six years; the DFG especially encourages proposals from female researchers.
This programme offers an alternative to the traditional professorial track requiring “habilitation” by giving researchers the opportunity to achieve equivalent qualifications by leading an independent junior research group at a university or research institution in Germany and assuming an appropriate amount of relevant teaching duties.
In addition, this programme aims to encourage outstanding early career researchers currently working abroad to enter or re-enter the German research system.
Researchers who have achieved an excellent doctorate and who have also established a very strong scientific track record (including publications in respected international journals or other comparable publications) are eligible to submit proposals.
Individuals who are qualified for professorial appointment, especially those who have earned the habilitation or will soon attain it, are not eligible to apply.
Individuals who hold a temporary junior professorship or comparable qualifying professorship (W1/W2) are eligible to apply if they are still at an early stage of their academic careers.
The funding must follow a period of work as a postdoctoral researcher, during which you will have achieved scientific independence. As a rule this requires you to have two years of postdoctoral experience prior to the DFG grant.
International research experience
You should have substantial international research experience, evidenced for example by research visits abroad, international research cooperation or an international working environment during the doctoral or postdoctoral phase in Germany. Please describe your international research experience in the proposal (in a separate appendix).
Four-year submission deadline following receipt of doctorate
As a rule, proposals may only be submitted within four years after obtaining your doctorate.
For licensed applicants from the fields of medicine and psychology, a maximum of six years applies. For applicants with childcare responsibilities within the submission period, the deadline will be extended by two years per child under the age of 12.
Foreign applicants who are not integrated in the German research system are expected to continue their scientific or academic career in Germany following completion of the funding period. Intent to do so must be confirmed by the applicant in writing and submitted with the proposal.
Participation in similar funding measures
If you are currently leading an independent (junior) research group that is supported by a German research institution or an international research institution located in Germany that is similar in structure, objectives or scope to the DFG’s Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group, then you are not eligible to apply. Subsequent acceptance of such a role precludes continued support in the Emmy Noether Programme.
Format and deadline
Proposals may be submitted to the DFG at any time. Proposals should be submitted according to the instructions for project proposals.
The funding period is six years.
Funding is initially awarded for a threeyear period, with the possibility of an additional three years. An evaluation is carried out at the end of the third year on the basis of an interim report, which should be submitted to the DFG six months before completion of the third year. If the evaluation is successful, approval is given for another three years.
The following modules may be submitted under the Emmy Noether Programme.
Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Leader
Use this module to request funding for your position as project leader under the Emmy Noether Programme.
Submitting a proposal for an Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group generally requires that you request funding for your own position as junior research group leader. This does not apply to junior or qualifying professors, to whom the Emmy Noether Programme is open as group funding only.
As a rule, you should also submit the basic module to request funding for additional staff to carry out the project. In justified and exceptional cases you may submit a proposal to cover your own position only, provided your project does not require additional personnel.
Clinician scientists may apply for a temporary substitute position instead of a position as junior research group leader. This option is designed to enable them to retain their clinical position and make their clinical expertise available for the purposes of research in the Emmy Noether Programme on either a full-time or a part-time basis (at least 49% of a full-time position). The staff funding requested for the temporary substitute position is used to fund staff who take over the research group leader’s patient-care responsibilities.
Physicians in human and veterinary medicine and licensed psychologists may apply for temporary substitute positions. Proposals are submitted in the Temporary Substitutes for Clinicians module.
For more information on additional funding modules, please see the respective guidelines.
Use the basic module to request funding for direct project costs, project-specific staff, and instrumentation necessary to carry out the project.
In addition, you may submit the following modules:
Temporary Substitutes for Clinicians
If this project requires that clinicians conduct research, you can use this module to request funding for temporary substitutes to take over their patient-care responsibilities.
This module enables you to pursue an intensive and long-term exchange with researchers in Germany and abroad. Fellows will partially be on site but will remain in contact with you even after their stay.
If you would like to conduct workshops as part of your project, you may request funding to help you do so. Please note that this module cannot be submitted separately but only in conjunction with the proposed research project.
To enable you to present your work to the general lay public, you can request funding for public relations. Please note that this module cannot be submitted separately but only in conjunction with the proposed research project.
An earmarked family allowance of up to €6,000 per year may be requested for the care of children and relatives in need of care during conference or research trips.
Returning to doctoral alma mater
Since the objective of the programme is to assist early career researchers in gaining scientific independence, the independent junior research group should not be located at the same university where you attained your doctorate. If you nevertheless choose to be located there, a good reason for this must be given.
More than one potential host institution for the independent junior research group may be listed in the proposal. A final decision must be made within two months of award notification. Specific reasons for choosing each potential institution must be given. In addition an employer’s statement from each institution listed must be attached (see below).
Employer’s statement and/or contract template
Applicants must submit an employer’s statement with their proposals. Provided the institution concurs, the DFG contract template should be used.
In addition to ensuring the employee is only required to work on project-related tasks, the contract also authorises the applicant to supervise doctoral researchers and teach two credit hours per semester. The contract aims to provide Emmy Noether fellows with a legal standing equivalent to that of junior professors. The DFG encourages the universities to create the appropriate conditions within their institutions and to make use of this facility. It is in the interest of the fellow to conclude such a contract with the university. If you wish to conclude such a contract and the university is unwilling to do so, you may establish your junior research group at another university following consultation with the DFG Head Office.
Please clarify in advance with your host institution whether you will be able to obtain a temporary employment contract for the duration of the funding period.
If you apply for a temporary substitute position instead of a position as independent junior research group leader, please append to your proposal a letter of confirmation of employment from your clinical employer for the full duration of the funding period under the Emmy Noether Programme and a statement of intent from your employer to employ clinical staff to temporarily replace you. Your employer should also confirm that, while you are released from your normal responsibilities, your duties will be limited to the funded project and your employer will not exert any influence on the independent implementation of the project by issuing instructions.
Please also explain how you will combine qualification-related teaching responsibilities and the supervision of doctoral researchers with your clinical and research activities.
If you hold a junior professorship or comparable qualifying professorship, a statement from your employer confirming the duration of your employment and agreeing to make the necessary core support available to you for your project is sufficient.
Reducing to a part-time position
In exceptional cases it is possible to reduce your position as junior research group leader to a part-time position (reduced by up to 50 percent) in order to use the remaining time to care for children or other relatives requiring care due to old age or ill health.
Grant coverage following professorial appointment
If you hold a DFG-funded position as leader of an independent junior research group and you are appointed to a professorship at a German higher education institution during the funding period, the approved funds may be used until the end of the funding period; the funds awarded on an ad-personam basis for your position will be cancelled.
If you leave the German research system, the funding in the Emmy Noether Programme will come to an end.