In the last years, there has been a considerate decrease in funding basic plant research in the UK and in the USA, at the expenses of a greater demand for money to applied research to address food security and alternative fuel issues. In Germany this scenario is slightly different, as shown by the number of Arabidopsis projects that are currently running (see Current Projects).
Young Group Leaders and Senior Researchers
The DFG offers a multitude of funding instruments for young group leaders starting their independent career, established senior researchers and professors. Grants can be awarded individually or as part of coordinated programmes. Listed below are individual grants programmes.
DFG Research Grants enable scientists to conduct a research project with a defined topic and period. Qualified researchers working at German institutions are eligible to apply and proposals should be of high scientific quality and originality. Funding and duration vary according to the project needs and proposals can be submitted at any time. For additional information, please click here.
Emmy Noether Programme
An excellent platform for early career scientists to reach independence by assuming teaching duties and guidance of a junior research group, rapidly qualifying them for leading positions. Researchers with 2 to 4 years international postdoc experience are eligible to apply. The grant covers supervisory salary, expenses of staff and consumables necessary to complete the project. The duration of the programme is generally 5 years and proposals can be submitted at any time. For additional information, please click here.
The programme enables scientists to prepare for a leading position and to use the time to work on an advanced research topic. Eligibility is defined by candidates holding a qualification that entitles them to a professorship, but have not yet been appointed. A university must establish a new professorship position and agree to continue funding after the DFG grant expires. Proposals fall in two modules: the Heisenberg fellowship, which enables the awardee to dedicate fully to research activities, and the Heisenberg professorship, which funds a temporary professorship at a German university. The fellowship grant awards €4,450 per month, plus a monthly allowance of €250 to cover project costs, as well as travel and publication expenses. The professorship grant is awarded according to the personnel cost for professors. Funding lasts up to five years and proposals can be submitted at any time. For proposal guidelines and additional information, please click here.
European Research Council
The ERC is a crucial component of the Horizon 2020, the EU framework programme for research and innovation. A particularity of the ERC approach is that it is 'investigator-driven', allowing researchers to identify new directions in their specialised field, rather than being led by priorities set by policy makers. ERC grants support researchers from any nationality willing to carry out excellent research at an institution in one of the EU member states or associated countries. There are three core funding schemes launched by the ERC, which are listed below.
ERC Starting Grant
Designed for researchers with 2 to 7 years experience since completion of PhD, with excellent scientific record. The grant has a period of 5 years and awardees are granted with up to €1.5 million. Calls for proposals are published once a year. The call for ERC-2016 Starting Grant is already closed. For additional information, please click here.
ERC Consolidator Grant
Designed for researchers with 7 to 12 years experience since completion of PhD, with excellent scientific record. The grant has a period of 5 years and awardees are granted with up to €2 million. Calls for proposals are published once a year. The deadline for ERC-2016 Consolidator Grant submission was on 2 February 2016. For additional information, please click here.
ERC Advanced Grant
For experienced researchers that are scientifically independent, with a profile that identifies them as leaders in their respective research areas. The grant has a period of 5 years and awardees are granted with up to €2.5 million. Calls for proposals are published once a year. The call for the ERC-2016 Advanced Grant will open on 24 May 2016, and deadline for submission is on 1 September 2016. For additional information, please click here.
Alexander von Humboldt Professorship
The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation awards academics from abroad who are recognised as leaders in their research fields, allowing them to carry out ground-breaking research in German institutions. The AvH Professorship awards up to €5 million to be made available for 5 years. Non-Germans or German nationals with a established academic career outside Germany are eligible to be nominated. The award is granted on recommendation from others, usually a university/research institute submit the nomination. Closing dates for applications are on 15 April and 15 October. For more information, please visit the The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation webpage.
Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers
This programme supports highly qualified researchers from abroad who have concluded their PhD less than 12 years ago. The fellowship awardees have the opportunity to spend extended periods (6-18 months) in a German institution. Candidates choose the German host university/institute, as well as the research topic to be carried out in coordination with the host. The fellowship is worth €3,150 per month, plus several allowances and travel expenses. Submissions can be done at any time. For additional information please visit the The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation webpage.
DFG Research Fellowships
The Research Fellowships have the main purpose enable young scientists to carry out a research project in a country outside of Germany. Funding comprises a basic monthly fellowship plus allowances. Moreover, the fellowship covers moving allowance on the return to Germany, as well as travel support to maintain and/or strengthen collaboration with German contacts, in order to facilitate the re-integration in the country. German and international researchers who have completed their doctoral qualifications in the German system are eligible to apply. Proposals can be submitted at any time. For more information, please click here.
The DFG also supports postdocs via additional instruments (e.g. Research Training Groups, Excellence Initiatives and Collaborative Research Centres). Positions are usually announced on the institutes' webpages and applications should be sent, unless otherwise stated, to the coordinator of your programme of choice. Please check the Arabidopsis related projects currently running in Germany for more information.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are funded by the European Union, as part of the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation. One interesting option offered by the MSCA are the Individual Fellowships, which fund young researchers who want to enhance their career development and prospects by working abroad. The grant covers living, travel and family costs for 1 to 2 years. Eligible to apply are Europeans and non-Europeans with PhD degree or at least 4 years of full-time research experience. The applicant should submit a research proposal that is written jointly with the chosen host organisation. The next call for proposals opens in April 2016 and closes in September 2016 (click here for call information).
Max Planck Society: Grants for Advanced Postdoctoral Training
The Max Planck Society supports young researchers willing to gain additional scientific, teaching and leading skills in a stimulating and international environment. Postdocs are employed under either a working contract or a postdoc grant, depending on the institute in question. Funding is based on qualification or age and family status, varying from €2,100 to 2,600 per month, plus allowances, for 2 to 7 years. Open positions are announced on specialist journals, on the MPI jobboard or on the webpage of the institute of interest. Directly contacting the MPI matching the candidate's research focus is also encouraged. Five MPIs in Germany focus on plant research, most of which employ Arabidopsis as the model organism. For detailed information of each of the institutes, please click on the items below.
- MPI for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen
- MPI for Chemical Ecology, Jena
- MPI for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne
- MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam-Golm
- MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg
Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers
This programme supports highly qualified young researchers from abroad who have concluded their PhD less than 4 years ago. The fellowship awardees have the opportunity to spend extended periods of research (6-24 months) in Germany. Candidates choose the German host institution, as well as the research topic, whose outline is to be carried out in cooperation with the host. The fellowship is worth €2,650 per month, plus several allowances and travel expenses. Submissions can be done at any time. For additional information please visit the The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation webpage.
The DFG does not award individual scholarships for PhD students. Funding is in this case organised within different DFG instruments (e.g. via Research Training Groups, Excellence Initiatives and Collaborative Research Centres). PhD positions are usually announced on the institutes' webpages and applications should be sent, unless otherwise stated, to the coordinator of your programme of choice. Please check the Arabidopsis related projects currently running in Germany for more information.
DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service
The DAAD is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. If you are a talented foreign student and want to enrich your experience in a German laboratory, the DAAD offers two possibilities listed below. For a complete search, please access the DAAD funding database.
- Doctoral Programmes: A great opportunity to carry out a complete PhD research in a German university or research institute. The scholarship awards €750 - 1,000 per month plus additional allowances for up to 3 years (with extension possibility). Calls for applications vary according to the student's country of origin. For information, please visit the DAAD webpage.
- Bi-nationally Supervised Doctoral Degrees: Students graduate in their home university with integrated research phases in Germany, being supervised by one advisor at his/her home university and one at the host German institution. An excellent platform to promote networking and establish transnational collaborations. The scholarship awards €1,000 per month plus additional allowances for no more than 2 years. Calls for applications also vary according to the student's country of origin. For information, please visit the DAAD webpage.
IMPRS - International Max Planck Research Schools
Established in several Max Planck institutes, IMPRSs offer German and foreign students the possibility to pursue a PhD degree under extraordinary research and academic conditions. The IMPRSs work in close cooperation with universities and other institutes, therefore providing students with a greater framework to develop their research in. The PhD students' payment corresponds to 50 percent of Pay Group 13 of TVöD (maximum level 2), which is currently just under €2,000 gross, for three years (one-year extension is possible). Applications are welcome anytime and should be sent to the coordinator of the School relevant to his/her research focus. Below you find a list of the IMPRSs within the scope of Arabidopsis research, please click on the titles for more information.
- From Molecules to Organisms - MPI for Developmental Biology, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and University of Tuebingen
- The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques - MPI for Chemical Ecology, University of Jena, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research
- Understanding Complex Plant Traits using Computational and Evolutionary Approaches - MPI for Plant Breeding Research, University of Cologne, Heinrich Heine University of Duesseldorf
- Primary Metabolism and Plant Growth - MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology, University of Potsdam
There are several additional PhD positions at MPIs out of the IMPRS programme. Visit the webpage of your institute of interest or check the MPI jobboard.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions are funded by the European Union, as part of the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation. One interesting option for PhD students are the Innovative Training Networks, in which at least 3 academic organisations from different EU or associated countries should be involved. The aim is to foster international and multi/interdisciplinary collaboration in doctoral training in Europe. The grant is awarded to the institutions involved and PhD positions advertised on the institutes' webpages and job sites. Because of the diversification and mobility essence of the programme, students are encouraged to carry out their research outside their resident country. Europeans and non-Europeans are welcome to apply. Check for openings at EURAXESS (select your country of interest and go to "more filters" to select for MSCA).
Job Openings & Calls
- Independent Junior Group Leader - ZMBP, Tuebingen
- Postdoc position in small RNAs and leaf development - ZMBP, Tuebingen
Click on the items below for an updated list of job opportunities in Plant Sciences