Looking to start a research group in Germany?

By Joern Fischer

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has just advertised its annual call for proposals for Sofja-Kovalevskaja Awards. This award is what funded me to move to Germany and start interdisciplinary work in Romania. I have nothing negative to say about this funding opportunity — the administrative burden really is very low, the reporting duties are very reasonable, and there is a lot of freedom to do good science. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m sure it must be one of the nicest ways to get started on building one’s own research group.

For those who are interested in this funding opportunity, there are a few things to note:

  • It is only possible to apply for people from outside Germany, or for Germans who were outside Germany for a long time.
  • It is really very competitive funding. I know at least one truly excellent candidate who was unlucky in securing this funding. It’s not really worth going for this unless others would perceive your CV as “outstanding”.
  • It pays to have strong referees, ideally from globally leading institutions.

To find out more about this funding opportunity, check out the funding call. For promising  candidates looking to come to Leuphana University in the fields of social-ecological systems, conservation biology, or sustainability science, I am happy to be contacted to discuss my potential involvement as a host.

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