The Pre-Doc Award is announced annually in spring. The application period is between April and June. This page tells you everything you need to know about applying and answers a number of frequently asked questions.

Photo: Christian Hüller

What Is Expected of Pre-Doc Awardees?

If chosen for funding under the Pre-Doc Award programme, all awardees (pre-docs and postdoctoral researchers) are expected to commit to the programme guidelines:

  • Seeking to obtain external funding
  • Participation in additional Pre-Doc Award programme activities
  • Contributing to our Pre-Doc Award PR work
  • Providing information for programme evaluation
  • Keeping contact information up to date

The programme details explain what is expected of you.

Application and Selection

Predocs Can Apply if They...

  • Hold a master’s, teaching or state examination degree from a German or international university entitling them to study for a doctorate in Germany
  • Have an excellent academic record
  • Are currently during the transitional period at the end of their university studies (maximum six months before and eight months after graduation)
    Exception: Non-EU citizens are required to their degree certificate at the latest in the month before the start of the contract.
  • Intend to pursue a doctorate at Leipzig University
  • Have ideas for a research question for their doctorate
  • Do so together with a postdoctoral researcher who will work with them during the course of the Pre-Doc Award year (and ideally beyond) and can provide them with subject-specific and conceptual advice and support.

Postdocs Can Apply...

  • And so can holders of a junior and tenure-track professorship
  • From all subject areas and research institutions
  • If they have a fixed-term employment contract at our university or a position financed by a scholarship
  • In the postdoctoral qualification phase
  • Together with a predoc who would like to pursue a doctorate.

The list below is merely an overview. Please refer to the current programme details for the exact requirements.

You can submit your application documents in German or English. Please note that due to the international character of the programme, the preferred language for the supporting events is English.

Overview of application documents:

  • Cover letter
  • Project proposal
    Including research questions, hypotheses, research aims, possible results, work plan for the funding year, plan for securing funding
  • Predoc: Degree certificate, curriculum vitae and, if applicable, list of publications
  • Postdoc: Curriculum vitae, third-party funding and list of publications
  • Declaration of support by the faculty superior during the funding period
  • Declaration that both have read and accept the programme details and FAQs.

If you will receive your degree after 1 October, please also submit the following documents:

  • Justification
  • Personal timetable of the most important steps left before completing your degree
  • Documents proving the project status and that you will be able to obtain the degree within six months of the start of the funding period (e.g. the section of your examination regulations that stipulates the standard time allowed in which to complete your master’s thesis, and confirmation from the competent examination office that you have registered and begun working on your thesis)
  • Transcript of records
  • One-page summary of the content of your master’s thesis.

Please note that the dates may vary by a few days. The exact dates will be published together with the call for applications.

  • 6 April: Publication of call for applications
  • 20 June: Application deadline
  • End of August: Funding decision

Selection Criteria

  • Qualification of both pre-doc and postdoc
  • Whether the tandem is a suitable match
  • Overall quality of the application
  • Plausibility and comprehensibility of the proposed project and timetable
  • Potential and plans to secure funding for the pre-doc’s doctorate.

Bewertung der Bewerbung

The Vice-Rector for Research and Young Academics appoints a selection committee which decides which projects will receive funding. Although committee members are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, it is not possible to represent all subjects.

The selection committee will include:

  • The Vice-Rector for Research and Young Academics
  • Assistant to the Vice-Rector for Research and Young Academics
  • At least three representatives from the Research Commission
  • One representative from the Department of Research Services
  • The Commissioner for Equal Opportunities
  • If applicable, the disability officer.

The staff development officer who coordinates the Pre-Doc Award assists the selection committee in an advisory capacity and by taking minutes.

Prior to the employment, the host institution will need to submit the necessary forms (Antrag auf Einstellung einer Hilfskraft an der Universität Leipzig and Anlage: Begründung für Befristungen nach dem WissZeitVG). More information will be given upon successful application.

Distribution of Roles During the Funding Period

During your funding period, you will have different contact persons who are responsible for different things. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with these and conclude a supervision agreement with them. It defines the roles, rights and obligations of the persons listed below for the period of the Pre-Doc Award. You are welcome to use the Research Academy Leipzig’s template for doctoral agreements and adapt this to your situation as a Pre-Doc Awardee.

The pre-doc joins the postdoctoral researcher’s working group. They focus on preparatory activities such as pilot studies and literature research, also preparing scholarship applications as appropriate. How exactly the working and supervisory relationship is structured is left to the tandems.

The postdoc acts as a mentor for the pre-doc candidate, assisting the process and progress as well as in other issues related to the Pre-Doc Award and the subsequent dissertation period. If the tandem’s discipline allows, they also offer the candidate advice on content. It is strongly recommended that they continue to contribute to supervising the doctoral thesis after the Pre-Doc Award year. They can also approach suitable people interested in doing a doctorate and thus perhaps convince them to joint their own research group. They gain access to the programme’s network and also improve their own supervision skills. Please speak to the staff development officer for individual advice on this role within the programme or your personal career path.

For administrative reasons and because a doctorate will be planned, it is essential that you involve a professor. They act as the predoc’s superior. This means that they must sign the recruitment application and all other official documents. The predoc should also be offered the best possible support, both conceptually and with organisational matters (for example, by allowing them to attend the working group’s colloquia and providing them with a workstation). At the same time, this person usually supervises the future doctoral thesis. Other (junior) professors and – depending on the faculty-specific regulations for supervising doctorates – postdocs may be involved in supervising the doctorate at a later stage, for example in the form of an advisory board for the dissertation.

The Pre-Doc Award team is the first point of contact for organisational issues related to the award. You can also raise any concerns you may have about further education, careers or mental health.

Do You Have Any Questions? We Are Here to Help:

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Dr Antje Nolting


Ritterstraße 26
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-35093
Fax: +49 341 97-35009

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