Elite Network: Setting up a Junior Research Group

Setting up a Junior Research Group

By funding Junior Research Groups, the Elite Network of Bavaria offers academically outstanding early career researchers from around the world both attractive career prospects and the opportunity to forge their path to academic independence. Applications to set up a Junior Research Group should be sent directly to the Elite Network of Bavaria’s office.

Requirements for a successful application

Postdoctoral researchers who graduated in the last two to five years and who have not worked at their host institution in the past two years are eligible to apply.

Connection to an Elite Graduate Program or Doctorate Program

Junior Research Groups are connected to either an Elite Graduate Program or an Inter­national Doctorate Program at their home institution; this helps to ensure they are embedded in a particularly attractive academic environment. Each Elite Graduate Program or International Doctorate Program can only be affiliated with a single Junior Research Group at any given time.

As a result, an application to set up a Junior Research Group can only be submitted following prior consultation with the Head of a relevant Elite Graduate Program or International Doctorate Program.

Application

As well as evidence of outstanding academic achievements, we expect applicants to submit innovative, original applications based on research at the limits of knowledge in their respective disciplines.

Applications must also detail the extent to which the members of a Junior Research Group participate in teaching and research. The important aspect here is to ensure that other teaching and research work will not impair the proposed project.

Application selection

Applications are selected by the International Commission and external expert com­mit­tees in a multi-stage process.

Outline phase

After a call for applications has been issued, out­standing postdoctoral researchers hoping to set up a Junior Research Group can submit applications to the Elite Network of Ba­va­ri­a directly. In the outline phase, the applicants first need to submit an out­line of their proposed project.

Having examined the submissions, the International Commission selects the most pro­mising project outlines and asks the respective applicants to flesh out their proposals in further detail. The Inter­national Commission selects the most promising project out­lines based solely on academic considerations.

Application phase

The detailed applications requested by the Inter­national Commission are then reviewed by external expert committees. International Com­mis­sion members oversee the app­rai­sal of applications relating to their respective disciplines and com­mu­ni­cate the results of the expert committees’ votes to the International Commission. On the basis of these recommendations, the International Commission then makes its final decisions on the applications received and issues its re­com­men­da­tion to the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and the Arts.

Scope of funding and support

The terms offered to Junior Research Groups are highly competitive on the international stage. The Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts provides Junior Research Groups with funding for a period of up to six years, with positions for the Head of the Group and up to two full-time doctorate positions. In addition, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts also offers an attractive range of funding for research materials and equipment, of which the host institution con­tributes one-quarter.

Funding term

As is the case for Elite Graduate Programs and International Doctorate Programs, the funding for Junior Research Groups is provided by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts. This funding is provided for a five-year term which can be extended by a further year to a total of six years. The earliest that an application to extend the term of a Research Group can be submitted is at the end of the third year of the funding term; such applications must be submitted, at the latest, six months before the end of the fifth year of funding.