Orientation on the way to the doctorate

Finding postdoc opportunities in Germany

How to apply and how to initiate a research stay in Germany
Orientation on the way to the doctorate
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Depending on your academic discipline, there are different ways to initiate a research stay or get a postdoc position in Germany:

  • You can apply for announced positions as a postdoctoral researcher or academic staff
  • If you already have some research experience after your doctorate and some top level publications, you can apply for an announced position as Junior Professor (with or without Tenure Track)
  • You can contact a professor working in your field of research directly, asking whether he or she would be interested in cooperating and hosting you for a research stay, and then apply for the funding separately.
Application for positions as an academic researcher

You can pursue your postdoctoral phase within the framework of a position as an academic researcher. In principle, there are two different types of positions for which you can apply at a German university:

  1. As an academic employee paid by Jena University, you will be working with and for a professor, doing research, research assistance, teaching and some administration. Working on your own research project to get further qualifications for a professorship will be a central duty of your position.
  2. As an academic employee in a research project funded by a third party, your work will focus on the project’s research programme. Normally, you do not have to assist with tasks of the chair, such as teaching, in these positions. As practices vary depending upon the discipline and the source of funding, be sure to clarify if there are opportunities for your own further qualifications for a professorship (habilitation or equivalent), and whether to pursue these will be expected from you or not.

If you wish to apply for these jobs from abroad, it is important to check the requirements stated in the job announcement. A knowledge of German is often an important requirement, especially for positions in the humanities and social sciences, since the working language at the institute and in teaching is often German. In the natural and life sciences, English is more widespread as a teaching and working language at institutes. The language in which the job announcement is written often gives an indication of what language skills are expected of you.

Find the job market of Friedrich Schiller University Jena here.

Direct request for cooperating and hosting your research stay

If you want to do a research stay in Germany and there are no open positions for which you could apply, you can also contact a professor and try to initiate a research stay with him or her.

Before you contact someone, you should first find out which professor is doing research in a field that matches your own previous research experience and corresponds to your future research interests. For a Germany-wide search you can use the platform "German Research Institutions"External link. For the search at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, please use the websites of the faculties. Just as a hint: If the websites of an institute are not available in English, this is often a sign that the working language at that institute is German. Consequently, an application from abroad without the corresponding knowledge of German might have little chances of success.

If you decide to contact a professor, please send a polite yet persuasive e-mail containing the following information: your previous academic achievements, the topic of your doctoral thesis, your current research topics and the subject area in which you would like to further specialise. It is important to illustrate how your research interests and experience may fit in with the professor's research. To illustrate this, it might also be useful to search for the most recent publications of the professor in question.

Once you have found a professor who is happy to host you and let you work in his or her facilities, you may need a way to finance your travel and living expenses. For a research stay of a couple of months or even a year, you can find scholarships to apply for in the DAAD scholarship databaseExternal link. If you want to carry out a bigger research project, lasting more than two years and needing substantial material expenses, you can write a grant application for your own research project, funding your own employed position plus other expenses. For information on grant applications and funding opportunities for such projects, please refer to the Servicecenter for Research and Transfer.

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Job market
Here you can find job announcements of University of Jena