Head of a junior research group in physics

Head of a junior research group

As head of a junior research group, you pursue a larger research project on your own authority and budget
Head of a junior research group in physics
Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

The advanced postdoc phase can be associated with the leadership of a junior research group, that is a self-funded third-party project including a budget for your own position as well as for several doctorate or postdoc positions and material costs. As head of a a junior research group, however, you don't only decide on your own budget. You also have a high degree of independence and take on leadership tasks and the supervision of doctoral candidatespdf, 235 kb. And note: Junior research groups are externally funded positions, there is no teaching obligation - so you should look for additional teaching experience if you are on your way to a professorship.

The best-known programme for junior research groups is the German Research Foundation's Emmy Noether ProgrammeExternal link. In addition, there are other programmes such as the EU Starting GrantsExternal link, the Max Planck Research GroupsExternal link, the Helmholtz Young Investigators GroupsExternal link, the Leibniz Junior Research GroupsExternal link, Fraunhofer AttractExternal link and topic-related calls for proposals from the BMBF.

Obtaining funding for your own junior research group is highly competitive. All funding bodies only approve a small number of junior research groups each year. That's why acquiring your own junior research group is a major career step - those who succeed are on the direct path to a professorship.