Heisenberg Program for Research in Germany
Proposals may be submitted at any time.
The objective of the programme is to promote early career researchers who are eligible for appointment to a professorship and have demonstrated excellence in their research achievements.
When you are accepted into the Heisenberg Programme, you can choose from four different types of funding or combine them as needed, provided the relevant requirements are met
- Heisenberg position
- Heisenberg temporary substitute position for clinicians
- Heisenberg professorship
- and Heisenberg fellowship.
The programme is intended both to stimulate progress in research and to maintain an outstanding pool of early career researchers for the scientific community while ensuring appropriate gender distribution.
The Heisenberg Programme is directed primarily at those researchers who have qualified for professorship via the Emmy Noether Programme, DFG staff positions, private-sector research or mid-level faculty positions. The target group also includes independent junior research group leaders, junior professors who have received positive evaluations, those who have achieved their habilitation, and German researchers returning from abroad, as well as appropriately qualified foreign researchers looking to pursue careers in Germany.
The eligibility requirements can also be met via other achievements equivalent to the habilitation.
Individuals holding a permanent position comparable with W2/W3 salary grades and tenure-track professors in Germany are not eligible to apply.
Format and deadline
Proposals may be submitted at any time. Submissions must follow the applicable instructions.
The funding duration is generally five years.
Funding is initially awarded for a three-year period and may be offered for another two 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 after approximately 30 to 32 months of funding.
If the evaluation is successful, all of the remaining funding can be claimed.
Within the scope of the Heisenberg Programme you initially request a Heisenberg grant. If accepted into the Heisenberg Programme, you can select from the funding types described below to achieve the programme objective.
At the time of proposal submission, no binding statements (e.g. confirmation of the provision of core support, work facilities, organisational integration and professional legal status, creation of a professorial position for you, see below) are required from the admitting institution. However, at an early stage before submitting the proposal please clarify with the admitting institution the option of temporary employment for the desired funding period and other relevant conditions.
Upon acceptance into the Heisenberg Programme you can immediately, or at the latest within six months, choose the type of funding you would like and submit the relevant necessary statements. Work may commence two months later on the first of the month (e.g. if you submit your documents in January, it would be on 1 March). Note, however, that work must commence within one year of acceptance into the Heisenberg Programme (to the first of a month).
Please note the information on the individual funding types for options on changing the funding type at a later date.
As an exception, Heisenberg grantees may reduce their Heisenberg grants by up to 50% while extending the term accordingly if the remaining period is dedicated to childcare or caring for family members due to old age or illness.
Provisions on the individual funding types
With the Heisenberg position, funding is provided for your post and flexible research.
With the Heisenberg position, which is integrated into the host institution, you can conduct research at an academic institution in Germany or a German academic institution in another country. Other international stays to pursue the objectives of the Heisenberg Programme are generally only possible for up to a third of the total funding duration.
For a Heisenberg position, funds from the “Head of independent junior research group/Heisenberg grant” staff funding category are approved.
When selecting the Heisenberg position, you must enclose a statement by the institution on the provision of specific core support for your project and an employer declaration or appropriate contract.
It is possible to switch from the Heisenberg position to the Heisenberg temporary substitute position or Heisenberg professorship if the specific requirements for the new funding type are met. It is not possible to switch to the Heisenberg fellowship.
Heisenberg temporary substitute position for clinicians
With the Heisenberg temporary substitute position, funding is provided for a replacement to cover your normal duties and for flexible research.
Clinician scientists may apply for a temporary substitute position instead of a Heisenberg position. 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 Heisenberg Programme on either a full-time or a part-time basis (at least 49% of a full-time position). The funding requested for the temporary substitute position is used to fund staff who take over the patient-care responsibilities for the Heisenberg position holder.
Physicians in human, dental and veterinary medicine and licensed psychologists may apply for temporary substitute positions.
For a Heisenberg temporary substitute position, funds from the “Medical research assistant” staff funding category are approved.
When selecting the Heisenberg temporary substitute position, you must enclose a statement by the institution on the provision of specific core support for your project and an employer declaration or appropriate contract.
It is possible to switch from the Heisenberg temporary substitute position to a Heisenberg position or a Heisenberg professorship if the specific requirements for the new funding type are met. It is not possible to switch to the Heisenberg fellowship. International stays can be implemented within the scope of the Heisenberg position.
With the Heisenberg professorship, funding is provided for a temporary professorship (W2 or W3) at a German university as well as flexible research.
The Heisenberg professorship enables academics to establish themselves as professors at a German university.
Funds from the “Professorship” staff funding category are provided for a Heisenberg professorship.
The university must give a binding statement that after the DFG funding period ends it will transfer the Heisenberg professorship permanently to its own budget if the interim evaluation by the DFG and an evaluation by the university conducted at the same time lead to a positive result.
In cases of illness or birth, financial assistance may be applied for in accordance with the guidelines for allowances payable to public employees in such cases (federal regulations).
Heisenberg professors are entitled to a pension allowance of up to 30% of their pensionable salaries.
When selecting the Heisenberg professorship, note that in addition to submitting a statement confirming transfer of the professorship to the university, you must enclose a statement by the institution on the provision of specific core support for your project and an employer declaration or appropriate contract.
It is not possible to switch from the Heisenberg professorship to the Heisenberg fellowship.
With the Heisenberg fellowship, research can be conducted at an academic institution in Germany or another country. The rights and duties at the selected institution must be negotiated and agreed individually but must not give the appearance of an employment relationship.
International stays in other countries are possible. The rights and duties must be agreed individually with the host institution.
The fellowship is €4,450 per month.
As part of the fellowship, an allowance for direct project costs totalling €250 is provided to finance items such as books, consumables and conference attendance in other countries. This allowance can be used to cover the costs of publishing the research findings made within the fellowship in freely selected publication forms (but not in “grey literature”).
On request fellows can be granted a childcare allowance for children up to the age of 12, whereby the benefits provided under the German Child Raising Benefit Act (Erziehungsgeldgesetz) are offset. If a partial fellowship is received, the childcare allowance is reduced accordingly, unless one of the children requiring care is under three years of age and is cared for solely by the fellow.
The childcare allowance per month is
- for one child: €154
- for two children: €205
- for three or more children: €256.
Premiums for statutory or private health insurance will be subsidised in accordance with Section 257 of Volume V of the German Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch). Researchers may apply for travel and foreign allowances in conjunction with an international research stay. For stays of over two years, a moving allowance may also be granted. Travel allowances may also be granted to attend conferences abroad, or if abroad, to attend conferences in Germany. A brief description of the nature of participation in the conference, the scientific benefit to be gained, and an invitation and conference programme should be included.
When selecting the Heisenberg fellowship, you must enclose a statement by the institution on the provision of specific core support for your project and an employer declaration or appropriate contract.
It is possible to switch from the Heisenberg fellowship to the Heisenberg position, Heisenberg temporary substitute position or Heisenberg professorship if the specific requirements for the new funding type are met. It is not possible to switch back to the Heisenberg fellowship. International stays can be implemented within the scope of the Heisenberg position.
The Heisenberg fellowship and Heisenberg professorship modules will no longer be available after 31 December 2017. Please refer to the module guidelines for information about the transition.