Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience (P.R.I.M.E.)

In 2014 the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) initiated the P.R.I.M.E. programme to support the international mobility of postdoctoral researchers by temporary positions at German universities in place of conventional fellowships. The programme has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Union (EU).

After three selection cycles that were co-financed by the EU, DAAD has successfully established this funding instrument and will now continue the programme primarily with support from the  national funding provider, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany (BMBF).

Postdoctoral researchers of all nationalities, who see their long-term career perspectives in Germany, will be given the opportunity to combine employment at a German university with a research stay abroad. DAAD support measures and the possibility of continuous coordination with  the German host institution shall ensure an efficient reintegration following the research stay abroad.


The support is provided for 18 months, of which the first 12 months have to be spent abroad and the remaining six months in Germany (reintegration phase).


Funding is provided through an 18-month temporary job position at the selected German university. The position will be remunerated according to the appropriate rate for postdoctoral researchers at the respective university (usually according to the German pay scale “TV-L E13”). DAAD will provide the respective universities with a grant agreement to cover the costs for the  regular salary and an additional expatriate allowance for the 12-month research stay abroad.

An additional lump sum travel allowance in accordance with DAAD rates for the selected candidate  and accompanying spouse or partner (within the meaning of the German law on civil partnerships) and children will be paid directly by DAAD.

Successful applicants will be invited to an information seminar before the start of the fellowship, together with current fellows, alumni and representatives from science and business. The seminar will presumably take place in Bonn on 19-21 November 2017. Applicants are asked to save the date but not to make any travel arrangements before receiving a letter of acceptance.

Application Conditions

  • Applications may be made by persons of all nationalities.
  • Applications may be submitted before completion of the PhD. However, the PhD must be completed before the start of the funding period.
  • There are no restrictions as to the country of destination as long as the applicant has not stayed in the respective country for more than 12 months in total during the three years preceding the application deadline of 15 May 2017.
  • Appropriate host institutions in Germany and abroad must have been identified at the time of application. The contact with these institutions and the agreement on modalities are the responsibility of the applicant.
  • The host institution in Germany has to be a university.
  • The German host university must confirm in writing that the postdoc will be employed for the whole funding period, should the application be successful. The necessary means will be made available to the university through separate DAAD project funding. The university will appoint a mentor/scientific host, who will inform the P.R.I.M.E. scholar during his/her stay abroad about developments at the institution and answer his/her queries so as to ensure a successful reintegration at the end of the period abroad. It is expected that the German university indicates at the time of application the possibilities for longer-term research perspectives at the institution following DAAD funding. On its website DAAD offers a list of P.R.I.M.E. contacts at German universities who can answer questions from potential applicants concerning their institution. Universities that did not specifically nominate a P.R.I.M.E. contact person are equally eligible as hosts.
  • The foreign host institution shall be selected according to the scientific preferences/needs of the applicant and the research project. It can be a university, a non-university research institute, or an industrial research entity. It must be willing to support the postdoc in the realization of her/his research project. The type of support (office space, access to instruments, laboratories, libraries etc.) has to be defined and a mentor/scientific host appointed at the foreign host institution, who may be contacted if necessary. DAAD cannot make funding available to the foreign host institution.
  • The starting date of the fellowship must be between 1 January 2018 and 1 May 2018. A postponement is only possible under exceptional circumstances (e.g. pregnancy, motherhood, parental leave) and has to be approved by DAAD.
  • The “Rules of good scientific practice” and the ethical guidelines of the programme must be accepted.
  • The reintegration phase is mandatory.

Selection Criteria

The performance based assessment will take into account:

  • 1. the achievements of the applicant to date (scientific and other qualifications, and particular conditions which have influenced the academic progress); and
  • 2. the quality of the proposed project and the consistency with long-term career planning.

Both points will be judged separately and both scores contribute equally to the final rating.

The assessment will focus in particular on the following aspects of the application:

1. Achievements to date:

  • a. academic performance:
    • grades, study duration;
    • number and quality of publications;
    • other achievements (patents, conference invitations, prizes, supervision, teaching etc.);
    • the recommendations from the application’s referees;
  • b. overall impression of the applicant in consideration of e.g.:
    • additional scientific/practical/management experience;
    • transnational mobility;
    • intersectoral mobility;
    • social commitment;
    • unavoidable delays in academic development (e.g. due to illness, voluntary work in the social sector or childcare).

2. Project quality and long-term career perspectives:

  • a. research project:
    • quality;
    • originality;
    • topicality / relevance;
    • planned implementation (time and work schedule);
    • significance for the research field;
  • b. suitability of the German host institution and the support provided there (scientific mentoring, technical/administrative support);
  • c. suitability of the foreign host institution and the support provided there (scientific mentoring, technical/administrative support);
  • d. appropriateness of the research project with regard to the long-term career plans (scientific qualification and acquisition of complementary skills).

All information relevant to these selection criteria should be included in the application. This should be considered in particular when preparing the curriculum vitae, research and time schedules and supplementary information.

From the reviewer’s perspective the hitherto research achievements as documented in publications is of central importance. In addition to the number of publications, the applicant’s own contribution (if several authors are involved), and also the quality of the journal and scientific publisher are important criteria. This will be viewed in the context of the duration of the research activities and the specific discipline culture.

From the reviewer’s perspective the applicant’s scientific independence is of crucial importance. This should be demonstrated by choosing or having chosen a new research focus and a new research environment, either after the PhD or in connection with the planned project. In case these conditions are not fulfilled we recommend commenting on the reasons for this in the  “supplementary information”.

Selection Process

Deadline for applications: 15 May 2017

Selection committee meeting: 11/12 October 2017

Planned start of the funding period: 1 January 2018 (earliest possible starting date); 1 May 2018 (latest possible starting date)

After the deadline has past, applicants will receive confirmation of the receipt of their application and information on the outcome of the formal eligibility check.

All applications will be reviewed independently by two external experts (scientists from the respective subject area). The final rating will be made by an interdisciplinary selection committee on the basis of the external reviews and assessment of the committee members. For both main criteria

1. achievements of the applicant to date (scientific and other qualifications, and particular conditions which have influenced the academic progress); and

2. the quality of the proposed project and its consistency with long-term career planning

the rating will be according to the following scale (from 1 to 10): 1-2: very weak, 3-4: weak, 5-6: acceptable, 7-9: good, 10: very good. The final rating will be the average of both single scores. It will result in a ranking list, according to which successful and reserve candidates will be identified, taking into account the available funding. The commission will determine a cut-off point below which funding is not possible.

Rejected applicants will receive feedback summarizing the reviewers’ most important criticisms of their application. Successful applicants will receive information on further procedures including the invitation to an information seminar. Reserve candidates will receive a provisional notification.

The German host institutions of the successful candidates will be notified by DAAD. They will then resolve any remaining open issues with the applicants and apply for project funding to finance their positions. Following the approval by DAAD funding can start on 1 January 2018 at the earliest.

Application date
15 May 2017
18 months
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Required post-doc experience: 
between 0 and 5 years