How to fund your PhD students

It is crucial that the supervisor and the prospective doctoral candidate are discussing funding options to cover the costs for the PhD project early on in the application process. Therefore, we provide a list of funding opportunities for all GAUSS supervisors to support them in finding the best scheme for their doctoral candidates. The list below is not exhaustive but includes the most suitable options for GAUSS candidates known to us. If you are aware of further funding schemes we would welcome your feedback.

Most of the funding opportunities are scholarships for which the doctoral candidates must apply themselves. For a better overview we have categorised the schemes according to the maximum duration of the funding. We also included short-term and wrap-up scholarships as those might be of particular importance to candidates whose funding expires before the end of the project.

GAUSS as well as GGNB are also offering support for doctoral candidates for finalizing their PhD. The schemes are for 3 or 6 months and an application process is required. For further details check out the respective webpages/forms:


Please click on the different categories and external funding schemes in order to see more details.

Doctoral students are funded by the DFG in two ways: in DFG-funded projects (including Individual Research Grants, Research Units, Emmy Noether Programme, Heisenberg Programme, Collaborative Research Centres) as well as in Research Training Groups (RTGs)

  • Duration of PhD positions/stipends: 3 years (projects) or up to 4 years (RTGs)
  • Type of Funding: Doctoral candidates usually receive positions that are subject to social security contributions (fellowships are only available in a few cases in individual RTGs). The remuneration for these posts is 65% to 100% of a full-time post at TV-L E13 level and is usually based on equivalent posts available in the same geographical and research area
  • Eligibility: When applying for PhD positions in RTGs check the individual eligibility criteria; PhD positions in projects are usually advertised by the respective grant holder and/or via the DFG Webpage
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: All year round
  • Webpage: FAQ for doctoral candidates

The European Commission is funding PhD students in several ways, whereas the most commonly known are the Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Networks as well as the ERC Grants (Starting, Consolidator, Advanced). For the conditions of PhD opportunities in ERC Grants, please check the information available via the webpage links. In the following the focus is on the MSCA Doctoral Networks.

  • Objective: To implement doctoral programmes by partnerships of organisations from different sectors across Europe and beyond to train highly skilled doctoral candidates, stimulate their creativity, enhance their innovation capacities and boost their employability in the long-term; MSCA Doctoral Networks are open to international consortia of universities, research institutions, businesses, SMEs and other non-academic organisations
  • Duration of individual PhD positions: 3 years
  • Type of Funding for PhD students: Living allowance (award is depending on the country where the doctoral studies are carried out), mobility allowance and - if applicable - family, long-term leave and special needs allowances; on top there is funding provided for research, training and networking activities as well as management and indirect costs
  • Eligibility criteria for PhD candidates: Not holding a doctoral degree at the date of their recruitment; any nationality; should be enrolled in a doctoral programme during the project; must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting organisation for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: Once a year with the call usually opening in spring and closing in autumn
  • Webpage: MSCA Doctoral Networks

  • Duration: 1-6 months
  • Type of Funding: 1,200€ per month for a research project or course of continuing scientific education at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education or a non-university research institute in Germany, which is being carried out in coordination with an academic adviser in Germany; payments towards health, accident and personal liability insurance cover; travel allowance; in the case of disability or chronic illness: subsidy for additional costs which result from the disability or chronic illness and are not covered by other funding providers
  • Eligibility: Non-German citizens from certain countries of origin (for specifics see webpage link below) with excellent academic achievements (doctoral candidates who are doing their entire doctorate at a German university are not eligible to apply)
  • Research areas: All research areas
  • Deadlines: Twice a year on 15 November (for stays that start between June and November of the following year) and 2 May (for stays that start between December of the same year and May of the following year)
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 7-12 months
  • Type of Funding: 1,200€ per month for a research project or course of continuing scientific education at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education or a non-university research institute in Germany, which is being carried out in coordination with an academic adviser in Germany; payments towards health, accident and personal liability insurance cover; travel allowance; one-off research allowance (under certain circumstances, grant holders may receive the following additional benefits: monthly rent subsidy, monthly allowance for accompanying members of family, in the case of a disability or chronic illness: subsidy for additional costs which result from the disability or chronic illness and are not covered by other funding providers)
  • Eligibility: Non-German citizens from certain countries of origin (specified on the DAAD homepage, see link below) with excellent academic achievements
  • Research areas: All research areas
  • Deadlines: Once a year on 15 November for stays that start in October of the following year at the earliest
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 4-6 months
  • Type of Funding: Funding for reasearch projects at a US university directly related to the applicants PhD project in Germany
    monthly allowance of 1,700€, insurance costs, travel costs, visa costs
  • Eligibility: German citizenship, completion of university degree and enrollment in a doctoral program, willingness to work for German-American understanding and deepen transatlantic scientific relations
  • Research areas: All research areas in the natural sciences except medical research
  • Deadlines: Calls open on 1 April and close usually on 1 June
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Up to 2 years; wrap-up scholarships for only a few months before thesis submission are possible, follow-up funding after the receipt of a different stipend is also possible
  • Type of Funding: Stipend or partial stipend in case of other sources of income; 1,250€ per month
  • Eligibility: Not older than 28 at the beginning of the PhD; financial hardship of the applicant (no other funding sources)
  • Research areas: All research areas, but main focus is usually on "Media / Newspapers / Journalism"
  • Deadlines: No deadlines apply, but submit your application at least 3-4 months before the desired start of the funding
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Type of Funding: Stipend including funds of 1,850€ per month + 1,000€ per year for academic literature and/or computers including accessories (PhD supervisor receives a one-off payment of 5,000€ for travel funds and equipment)
  • Eligibility: German nationality or EU national working in Germany; master/diploma after rapidly (not more than 10 semesters) completed studies in chemistry or a chemistry-related subject and excellent academic achievement throughout (top 10% of his or her age group)
  • Research areas: Chemistry or a chemistry-related subject
  • Deadlines: Three times per year on 1 March, 1 July and 1 November
  • Additional remarks: Application to be submitted by PhD supervisor
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Up to 2 years
    wrap-up scholarships for only a few months before thesis submission are possible, follow-up funding after the receipt of a different stipend is also possible
  • Type of Funding: Stipend or partial stipend in case of other sources of income; 1,250€ per month
  • Eligibility: Not older than 28 at the beginning of the PhD; financial hardship of the applicant (no other funding sources)
  • Research areas: All research areas, but main focus is usually on "Media / Newspapers / Journalism"
  • Deadlines: No deadlines apply, but submit your application at least 3-4 months before the desired start of the funding
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ one extension of 6 months possible)
  • Type of Funding: Partial stipend to subsidize living costs
  • Eligibility: Students who were born and raised in Berlin or have resided in Berlin for at least eight years prior to the start of a grant from the Foundation; financial hardship, outstanding academic achievement
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: Once a year on 15 September
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ maximum of 2x 6 months extension)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend or stipend in combination with employment; 1,450€ a month, comprising a basic monthly stipend of 1,350€ + research allowance of 100€ (up to an additional 100€ a month for health insurance) + family and child care allowance (if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Exceptional academic or artistic talents and personal qualities, can be expected to make an outstanding contribution to society as a whole, ambitious and innovative thesis project, which can be completed within a three-year funding period
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: No deadlines, application are welcome all year round
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Up to 4 years
  • Type of Funding: 1,200€ per month for doctoral projects at a state or state-recognised institution of higher education or a non-university research institute in Germany (individual projects under the supervision of a university teacher or academic adviser or participation in a structured doctoral study programme); payments towards health, accident and personal liability insurance cover; travel allowance; annual research allowance (under certain circumstances, grant holders may receive the following additional benefits: monthly rent subsidy, monthly allowance for accompanying members of family; in the case of a disability or chronic illness: subsidy for additional costs which result from the disability or chronic illness and are not covered by other funding providers)
  • Eligibility: Non-German citizens from certain countries of origin (specified on DAAD homepage, see webpage link below) with excellent academic achievements who have completed a Master's degree or Diplom, or in exceptional cases a Bachelor's degree at the latest by the time they begin their grant-supported research
  • Research areas: All research areas
  • Deadlines: Once a year on 15 November for stays that start in October of the following year at the earliest
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Maximium 3 years
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,500€ per month + 210€ research costs allowance (+ family and child support if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Above-average degree and highly motivated to contribute to the solution of current environmental problems in a goal-oriented manner or to promote sustainable development; hosting institution must be in in Germany
  • Research areas: Applications welcome from all disciplines, i.e. not only from the natural and engineering sciences but also from the social sciences, humanities, economics and law - interdisciplinary environmental research is particularly desired
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 15 January and 15 June
  • Additional remarks: Application must be written in German, applicants must have good German language skills - different scholarship program for refugees and persons from Central and Eastern Europe
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ maximum of 1.5 years extension)
  • Type of Funding: Monthly stipend may come with a country-dependent premium; the final sum usually also includes a fixed monthly amount to cover minor project-related costs; together, they add up to, e.g. 2,000€ in Germany and Spain, 2,450€ in Austria, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, 2,975€ in the USA, and 3,400€ in Switzerland
  • Eligibility: European citizens working in Europe or overseas and to non-European citizens pursuing their PhD projects in Europe
  • Research areas: PhD projects must be experimental, in the field of basic biomedical research, and aimed at elucidating basic biological phenomena of human life and acquiring new scientific knowledge
  • Deadlines: Three times per year, usually on 1 February, 1 June and 1 October; pre-selection 6 weeks after application deadline, final selection 5 months later
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Initially for 2 years (+ maximum 1 year extension)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (+ 155€ family and child care allowance if applicable);
  • Eligibility: German nationality or foreigner in the sense of § 8 BAföG, grades in the upper third of the performance range, social engagement e.g. involved in voluntary work
  • Research areas xx: doctoral students of all reaserch areas
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 31 January (call opens on 1 December) and 1 August (call opens on 1 June); online interviews usually in March and September respectively
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ maximum 1 year extension)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,400€ per month (+ costs for academic literature and attendance of academic conferences etc.)
  • Eligibility: Proposed research topic in line with the annual focus of the scholarship; research will be conducted at a German university or research institute under a faculty member recognized in the field of chemical research; excellent academic record, voluntary work in community service projects; financial support available from own means, from parents or third parties is not sufficient to cover the scientific training
  • Research areas: Every year scholarships are awarded in a different field of chemical research. The focus of each year’s scholarship is announced in January of that year on the website. Focus 2022: "Sustainability by Chemistry: Endure, Renew, Redesign, Repair, Recycle"
  • Deadlines: Application open in January; deadline for submission of summary on 15 February
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Up to 3 years
  • Type of Funding: Stipend, max. 1,600€
  • Eligibility: Students or graduates from a technical or natural sciences background with outstanding academic achievements; financial hardship must be proven
  • Research areas: Natural sciences and engineering
  • Deadlines: No deadlines apply, pre-application can be sent at any time
  • Additional remarks: Applications must be written in German
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (+ family and child care allowance if applicable); on top the foundation is offering a broad program including workshops, internships, mentoring etc.
  • Eligibility: Doctoral students of all disciplines who are academically particularly qualified and committed to trade unions or socio-political issues and who have begun to develop an academic profile, max. 40 years old
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: Deadlines for different calls can be found on the homepage; scholarship must start at the latest 4 months following receipt of funding approval
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Intially 1 year (+ 1 year extensions + 2x 6 months extension; adding upt to a maximium of 3 years)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (+ family and child care allowance if applicable)
  • Eligibility: High-performing, socio-politically committed young researchers with a wide range of interests who identify with Christian democratic values and treat all people with respect - regardless of gender, origin or religion
  • Research areas: No restriction on topics and subjects except for doctorates in human medicine or dentistry; doctoral candidates with a suitable topic can additionally apply for one of three doctoral programs "Social Market Economy", "Security and Development" and "Democracies in Europe"
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 15 January and 15 July (at noon);
    two-stage selection process that usually takes 4 months
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Initially for 1 year (+extension to a maximum of 3 years possible)
  • Type of Funding: 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (+ 155€ family and child care allowance if applicable)
  • Eligibility: German and EU students as well as foreign students (§8 BaföG) with a degree that provides access to doctoral studies; actively involved in political, ecclesiastical or social organizations, politically open-minded, actively committed to the goals of the Hanns Seidel Foundation
  • Research areas: All research areas
  • Deadlines: Twice a year on 15 January and 15 July
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ maximum 1 year extension)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance
  • Eligibility: Above-average academic performance and commitment in line with the values of the foundation, e.g. involvement in the student council, youth work, participation in associations and NGOs or in political organizations that fit in with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation's environment
  • Research areas: All research areas except doctorates and continuing education in the field of medicine
  • Deadlines: No deadlines apply, applications are welcome at any time
    start of scholarships in 2022: 1 April 2022 und 1 October 2022
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Initally 2 years (+ 1 year extension)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (for non-EU citizens: 1,200€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ per month research costs allowance)
  • Eligibility: Germans/foreign students educated in Germany, EU nationals/students not educated in Germany, non-EU nationals/students, not educated in Germany; scholarship recipients need an excellent academic record, to be socially and politically engaged, and to have an active interest in the basic values of the foundation
  • Research areas: PhD subjects related to focal points of the Foundation’s activities will be given priority: ecology and sustainability, democracy and human rights, self determination and justice
  • Deadlines: Twice per year usually on 1 March (online application portal opens mid-January) and 1 September (online application portal opens mid-July);
    start of project from March deadline: 1 October at the latest; start of project from September deadline: 1 April at the latest
  • Webpage

  • Duration: Initial stipend for 1 year (can be extended up to 3 years; up to 4 years only under specifc circumstances as childcare duties or illness)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend of 1,350€ per month + research allowance of 100€ (up to an additional 100€ a month for health insurance) + 155€ family and child care allowance (if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Doctorates at state or state-recognized universities in Germany, Switzerland and in the EU; pre-selection based on academic performance, strong personality, visible commitment
  • Research areas: All research areas except doctorates in human medicine and dentistry
  • Deadlines: Twice a year on 30 April (call opens on 1 April) and 31 October (call opens on 1 October)
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (+ maximum of 2x 6 months extension)
  • Type of Funding: 1,350€ per month basic scholarship + 100€ research costs allowance (+ 155€ family and child care allowance if applicable)
  • Eligibility: German and foreign doctoral students enrolled in a public or publicly accredited institution of higher education in Germany, the EU or Switzerland; foreign students who plan an extended research stay outside of Germany during their doctoral studies; outstanding academic performance during undergraduate studies as well as proof of social engagement in the spirit of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
  • Research areas: All reaserch areas except medical research
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 1 April and 1 October (application portal opens about 6 weeks prior to the application deadline)
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 3 years (1 year extension possible)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month + 100€ per month research costs allowance (+family and child support if applicable + payments towards health insurance if applicable)
  • Eligibility:
    For German nationals: qualification to doctoral studies at a state-recognized university in Germany or abroad; outstanding professional performance and interdisciplinary interest; pronounced sense of social responsibility, voluntary commitment, creativity, openness and capacity for reflection; membership in the Catholic Church (for applicants who belong to a non-United Orthodox or Ancient Oriental Church, application is possible after individual assessment), a lived Christian faith, and a willingness to help shape the Church
    For foreign nationals: (having obtained the requirements for) admission to doctoral studies at a state or state-recognized German higher education institution; students at German universities, who for formal reasons cannot apply at the Katholischer Akademischer Austauschdienst (KAAD) - German language skills at C1 level required; affiliation to the Catholic Church required
  • Research areas: All research areas except medical doctorate
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 1 June and 1 November
  • Additional remarks: Young mothers and fathers are encouraged to apply
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (in justified individual cases extension of 2x 6months possible)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month + 100€ per month research costs allowance (+ payments towards health insurance if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Member of a Protestant church (exceptions in justified cases); outstanding academic achievements; completed previous studies in a timely manner, fulfillment of requirements to admission to doctoral studies of a German university; students with a foreign degree can apply if they are admitted to doctoral studies at a German; German language skills on level B2
    applications possible not later than 1 year after start of the project
  • Research areas: All research areas except medical doctorate
  • Deadlines: Twice a year on 1 June (call opens on 1 March) and 1 December (call opens on 1 September)
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (in justified individual cases extension of 2x 6 months possible)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month + 100€ per month research costs allowance (+ payments towards health insurance if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Jewish doctoral students or non-Jewish doctoral candidates with research projects that deal with Jewish topics; admission to doctoral studies at a state or state-recognized university in Germany and - in the case of German citizenship - in an EU member state or in Switzerland (in justified cases, the doctorate can also be funded at a non-European university); German language skills on level B2; outstanding academic achievements and social commitment, for example in Jewish communities, in youth work or in student organizations
  • Research areas: All research areas except medical doctorate
  • Deadlines: Twice a year usually on 31 March (call opens on 1 March; start of stipend in October) and 30 September (call opens on 1 September; start of stipend in April)
  • Webpage

  • Duration: 2 years (extension possible up to a maximum of 4 years)
  • Type of Funding: Stipend; 1,350€ per month + 100€ per month research costs allowance (+ family and child support, if applicable)
  • Eligibility: Highly talented and socially committed Muslim students and doctoral candidates of all disciplines registered at state or state-recognized universities in Germany, applicants must be registered as doctoral student at a university in Germany; PhD admission and first supervisor at a German university; for non-German nationals: residence permit; main place of residence in Germany; language proficiency of level C1 or DSH-2;
    all applicants must be of Muslim faith (in some cases – for example, if someone is particularly committed to the interfaith dialogue or has a specific reference to Islam in their studies – persons of other denominations can also apply)
  • Research areas: No restrictions
  • Deadlines: Twice a year on 1 April and 1 October
  • Webpage