Information from the GAUSS office

DFG Postdoc Funding – the Walter Benjamin Program (any time)

imagesThe Walter Benjamin Program enables researchers in the postdoctoral training phase to independently conduct their own research project at a location of their choice for 2 years. The project can be carried out at a research institution in Germany or abroad, with the host institution providing support for the project. Applications can be submitted at any time.

Please see below for a detailed description on the purpose, eligibility, type and extent of funding as well as useful links.


By securing funding for their own research project, particularly qualified postdoctoral researchers pave the way for the next stages of their increasingly independent research career and exercise autonomy. The program thus promotes early research careers with the aim of fostering the mobility and thematic development that are crucial in this career phase; therefore, the program generally requires that the applicant change his or her research institution.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility Requirements

Only postdoctoral researchers at an early career phase are eligible to apply to this program. The project may not be based at an entity that is for-profit or that does not permit the publication of findings in a generally accessible form.

Special provisions apply for individuals applying for a Walter Benjamin fellowship (abroad):

Funding abroad can only be provided if researchers are integrated into Germany’s academic research system. This is the case if, immediately prior to submitting a proposal, they have worked as a researcher in Germany for a continuous period of at least three years during their doctoral and/or postdoctoral phase.

If researchers are already based abroad, funding can be provided abroad if they have completed the majority of their schooling and higher education in Germany and, as of proposal time, have not spent more than three years abroad for research purposes after completing their doctorate in Germany or abroad.

Furthermore, they must not have worked longer than one year at the host institution selected for the Walter Benjamin fellowship as of proposal time.

Type and Extent of Funding

The type and extent of funding depend on what modules are selected. Fellowships are provided to conduct research projects abroad and positions are provided to conduct research projects in Germany (in the category “postdoctoral researcher or comparable”) (or for a temporary substitute clinician position in the category “medical research assistant”). Regardless of which funding type is selected, a general allowance for direct project costs (including travel and publication costs) and, where applicable, additional funding associated with high production costs (book format) will be granted.

The fellowship amount is made up of the basic allowance and, where applicable, additional benefits such as a foreign allowance, cost of living allowance and benefits for parents. Award Calculator

The institution at which the project is located should cover additional project needs. Particularly for projects conducted in Germany, the host researcher should provide project and career development support.

Application Deadlines

Proposals can be submitted at any time via the DFG elan Portal: elan – Electronic proposal submission

Forms and Guidelines

Forms and guidelines are now available in both German and English, and proposals can be submitted in either language. Note, however, that the online proposal form in elan is currently available in German only (the English form is tentatively scheduled for release in October 2019). For English submissions, please retain the German headings. Forms and Guidelines

Contact at the DFG

Queries on program eligibility and procedures can be addressed to:
Paul Heuermann
Tel. + 49 228 885- 2398