The Sylff programme at Leipzig University supports projects related to the overarching subject of “Intellectual and Cultural Change in Central and Eastern Europe”.

Content and Objectives

Sylff fellowships are intended to train doctoral candidates who have great potential for future leadership roles in international affairs, in public life and in the private sector.

Sylff fellowships are awarded to outstanding doctoral and postgraduate researchers, in particular in the humanities and social sciences (e.g. comparative literature, art history, philosophy, cultural and communication sciences, educational science, political science, economics, sociology and history of law).

Fellowship applicants from academic disciplines other than those mentioned above may also be eligible for funding under certain conditions, especially if their research work is related to the overarching theme.

Sylff fellowships are awarded based on an agreement concluded in March 2016 between Leipzig University and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research. The funding is provided by the Nippon Foundation (Tokyo, Japan).

Support for up to Three Years

Depending on the project applied for, the fellowships are awarded for a period of up to three years.

Fellowships are initially awarded for one year, with applications for extensions to be submitted after this period. An extension is possible under the condition that the research progress is satisfactory. At the end of each funding period, the fellow must submit a Sylff Fellowship Report.

A preselection will be made by the Sylff Committee. The shortlisted candidates are then invited to present their project to the committee in person.

The Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research decides on the grants for new and continuing fellowships after review by the Sylff Committee. When a Sylff fellowship is awarded, a Memorandum of Understanding is signed between the fellow and the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research.

The monthly fellowship amount is approximately 1200 euros.

How to Apply: Formalities and Tips

New nominees should be first-year doctoral candidates. International (non-EU) doctoral candidates in their second year are also eligible to apply.

Support is available until the end of the third year of the doctorate, regardless of when the fellowship began.

As a rule, fellows should be students or graduates of Leipzig University who represent an academic field covered by the subject of “Intellectual and Cultural Change in Central and Eastern Europe”, who have achieved outstanding results in their academic studies and degrees, and whose research will make a contribution to society.

While academic excellence is a prerequisite, social and leadership skills will also be taken into consideration when selecting fellows.

Please note that all official documents – such as the Memorandum of Understanding and the Sylff Fellowship Report – must be written and completed in English.

The next deadline for submitting Sylff fellowship applications to Leipzig University is 25 June 2020.

To apply for a Sylff fellowship, please submit the following documents:

  • Sylff application form
  • CV
  • Degree certificate(s), including examination certificates (certified copies)
  • Letter of motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Project summary (task, methods, step-by-step work plan and schedule, max. 10 pages)
  • Letter of recommendation from the supervising professors
  • Supervision agreement
  • Proof of language skills (for projects abroad)

The following information, which will be passed on to the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, is also required in English (all three points should not exceed three pages):

  • Short description of study/research (abstract)
  • Proposal of academic activities planned to undertake during the Sylff fellowship period
  • Examples of past leadership or indications of future leadership potential

Applicants granted a Sylff fellowship are required to submit proof of their admission to the respective faculty’s list of doctoral candidates.

Please refer to the application form for the form of the application and the position to which it must be submitted.

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