Fellowship Guideline

Guideline of the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) on Funding and Support for Visiting Researchers and Alumni Relations (Fellowship Guideline) as of 01.11.2022 (Version of 19.03.2024)


Cooperation and exchange with highly qualified researchers from Germany and abroad as well as the training and supervision of young researchers from Germany and abroad are defined as tasks in ZOiS’s Articles of Association and are thus essential components of the Institute’s work.

By awarding scholarships and grants, supporting visiting researchers, and engaging in alumni work, ZOiS aims to integrate highly qualified (young) researchers and journalists whose work complements the research undertaken at ZOiS into the work of the Institute, to initiate and expand cooperations, and to bind former visiting researchers to ZOiS as alumni. The fellowships and grants are to be awarded in accordance with the budgetary provisions of the federal government, ZOiS’s annual business plan, and the guideline for the use of third-party funds, which govern the financing of the respective scholarships, on the basis of the following guideline.

Section 1: Scope of application

(1)        This guideline applies to the fellowships, grants, support and follow-up support provided to German and foreign researchers, journalists, students and interns financed from ZOiS funds.

(2)        Sections 1 to 6 apply to funding at ZOiS or another academic institution in Germany. Section 7 applies to funding in the home countries of the funded persons as well as in third countries (non-residential fellowships).

(3)        The guideline shall enter into force on 1 November 2022.

Section 2: Selection criteria and procedure

(1)        As a rule, any scholarships to be awarded by ZOiS must be publicly advertised on the ZOiS website (https://www.zois-berlin.de/ueber-uns/aktuelles/), ensuring a reasonable amount of time for preparing the application. This is especially the case when the scholarships in question are financed through third-party funding that ZOiS has acquired.

(2)        Candidates apply with their own research project.

(3)        The decision for or against a candidate is taken by the Institute management, drawing on the expertise of the heads of research clusters and the Research Management department.

(4)        The selection criteria are:

  • a) Professional aptitude
  • b) Track record regarding support for young researchers
  • c) Interdisciplinarity, diversity of methods used, etc.
  • d) Compatibility with existing ZOiS research
  • e) Added value for ZOiS
  • f) Interest expressed by one or more current ZOiS researchers in hosting the scholar with a corresponding supervision/mentoring obligation
  • g) Available office space, funds, and staffing capacity.

(5)        In the case of externally funded scholarships, the criteria and procedure stipulated by the respective funding body shall apply.

(6)        All ZOiS scholarship-holders undertake to adhere to the principles of good research practice and ZOiS’s own research principles in the research they carry out at ZOiS.

Section 3: Duration of fellowship and stay

(1)       ZOiS awards fellowships with a minimum duration of three months and a maximum duration of 12 months. Deviations from this are possible in justified exceptional cases; in the case of fellowships financed by third-party funds, a decision on this matter shall be made on the basis of the guideline for using budgetary funds.

(2)       ZOiS expects visiting researchers to spend at least 60% of their fellowship period at ZOiS. The same applies to visiting researchers who are staying at another institution in Germany with ZOiS funding.

Section 4: Regular fellowship benefits

(1)       The fellowship includes the monthly salary for the visiting researcher, supplements for accompanying partners and children (family members). The fellowship benefits should be generous enough by international standards to attract especially qualified applicants. The stipend paid to visiting researchers, broken down into different categories, is based on the academic or journalistic qualifications of the visiting researchers and on the standard of living of comparable German academics/journalists. In addition, the particular needs and costs of foreign scholarship-holders are taken into account.

(2)       The stipend for visiting researchers who spend their fellowships in Germany is 2,800 EUR for Senior Researchers and 2,400 EUR for Junior Researchers. For journalists, a similar scale applies. Scholarship-holders are obliged to take out health insurance using the scholarship funds. Proof that they are insured must be provided at the beginning of the scholarship. In justified exceptional cases, this proof can be submitted up to three months after the start of the scholarship.

(3)       Additional benefits and health insurance costs for accompanying family members who stay in Germany for at least three months can be covered by ZOiS in the case of fellowships of six months and longer, provided the relevant institutional or third-party funds are available.

(4)       Any additional income earned by the visiting researcher during the fellowship period is to be offset against their stipend, provided the additional income does not come from research or teaching activities. When determining additional income, a tax-free allowance based on the respective applicable flat-rate limit for part-time employees applies, which can either be set on a monthly basis (currently EUR 520 gross) or on an annual basis (currently up to EUR 6,240 gross), depending on the duration of the fellowship. The same applies to the amount of the accompanying partner’s income that can be offset against any family allowance paid. Notwithstanding sentence one above, other scholarships or part-scholarships from foreign institutions also count as additional income to be offset.

Section 5: Grants and subsidies

(1)       Where necessary, the regular stipend may be supplemented by grants and subsidies, subject to the availability of the institutional or third-party funding used to finance the fellowship. There is no automatic entitlement to grants and subsidies,

(2)       which may include:

  • a) Travel costs to and from the visiting researcher’s home country – also as a lump sum – using the cheapest reasonable means of travel, as well as the travel costs for the accompanying partner and their children in justified individual cases,
  • b) Costs for interim trips home for unavoidable professional or personal reasons,
  • c) Grants within the framework of a monthly/annual mobility allowance, in particular to finance research trips as well as participation at scientific conferences,
  • d) Costs for open access publications for fellowships of at least 10 months in accordance with ZOiS’s Open Access Policy, and
  • e) Language course fees for up to six months for visiting researchers, and for up to four months for accompanying partners. As far as necessary and possible, visiting researchers should attend a German language course in their home country before taking up their scholarship,

Section 6: Support and follow-up support

(1)       The aim of the following support measures for current and former visiting researchers is to bind them to ZOiS with a view to establishing and expanding a national and, above all, international academic network that benefits ZOiS and its (research) staff. Such (follow-up) support also serves the goals of supporting young researchers and strengthening ZOiS’s (inter)national networks. Visiting researchers are not automatically entitled to support during and after their fellowships.

(2)       Support measures include:

  • a) Events, in particular onboarding events, subject-related events, country-specific events and integration measures,
  • b) Excursions geared to broadening the visiting researcher’s knowledge of their research topic, imparting targeted information on the state institutions, culture, economy and society of the Federal Republic of Germany, and bringing participants together to facilitate networking,
  • c) the deployment of student assistants as required for the measures mentioned in a) to b).

(3)       Other ZOiS scholarship-holders may also be included in the support measures, provided that the aim of the measures is to forge academic, cultural and personal ties among the visiting researchers.

(4)       In addition to support measures during the scholarship period, we engage in alumni work to maintain and strengthen the academic and personal connections with former visiting researchers, including fellows funded in their home country or in a third country (non-residential fellows). The follow-up support measures that can be undertaken – subject to available funding – include in particular:

  • a) Measures to keep in contact with former visiting scholars abroad,
  • b) The purchase of academic journals and books, small devices and equipment and, to a limited extent, office supplies as well as digital dissemination media,
  • c) Invitation to spend a further period of study at ZOiS for up to three months,
  • d) Invitations to actively participate in conferences and congresses in Germany, in exceptional cases also abroad,
  • e) Invitations to participate in courses on specialist topics and in further training seminars for former visiting researchers,
  • f) The organisation of other follow-up events in Germany or abroad, including the funding of academic events organised by alumni associations.

(5)       At the end of their fellowship, visiting researchers can register their address in ZOiS’s database in order to avail of the follow-up support measures described in section 4 and to ensure that they can be reached as multipliers in their respective countries of origin.

Section 7: Non-residential fellowships

(1)       ZOiS also offers fellowships to researchers in their home countries or in third countries.

(2)       The aim of non-residential fellowships is to aid the development of the academic system in other countries and to support (young) researchers and journalists there, while also cooperating with research institutions in their home countries.

(3)       The stipends are based on the cost of living in the respective countries – as well as the academic qualifications or position of the fellows. In addition to the monthly stipends, regular allowances and grants may be awarded in accordance with sections 4 and 5, insofar as these are not reserved specifically for stays in Germany. Other benefits that may be required due to particular circumstances in the countries concerned or the specific objective of the respective programme can only be granted if the necessary funds are available and only in justified exceptional cases. In the case of fellowship programmes funded by third-party funds, the corresponding guidelines for using budgetary funds also apply.