Fit for a career in academia

Argelander Starter-Kit Grant for Postdocs

As part of the "Argelander Program for Early-Career Researchers - Reaching for the Stars", the University of Bonn awards Argelander Grants "Starter Kit Postdoc". In the transitional phase after the doctorate, postdocs at the University of Bonn are trained for the start of an academic career. The funding includes material resources to support research activities as well as a comprehensive advisory programme for writing a third-party funding proposal and preparing for an academic career.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn


Applications must be submitted electronically to the Bonn Graduate Centre (BGC) by 9 May 2021.

The earliest possible funding start date is 15 June 2021.

Funding conditions

  • Any postdoctoral researcher employed by the University of Bonn or scholarship holder at the University of Bonn can apply for this grant, except for members of the Faculty of Medicine. 
  • Applicants must have completed their doctorate within the last three years (date of last exam). Familiy- and pandemic-related delays or interruptions will be recognized.
  • Only applicants who do not already have funding for own projects are eligible.
Female postdocs are explicitly encouraged to apply for this funding line.


1) Applicants should be able to provide an employment contract with the University of Bonn for the whole duration of the funding period or alternatively a binding commitment by their department to extend their employment. The same applies to scholarship holders regarding the duration of their scholarship.
2) Postdoctoral researchers in medicine are funded by the  BONFOR Program2 (website in German).
3) Exceptions may be made for family responsibilities, parental leave, illness etc. Likewise, up to 6 months can be recognized for pandemic-related delays or interruptions in previous research projects. Please explain any delays or interruptions in your application. If the oral exam has not been taken yet, please include proof of when the exam is scheduled. Start of funding is only possible afterwards.

The maximum two-year funding includes a comprehensive consultation program in preparation of a third-party funding proposal and a scientific career. The program offers:

  • Consultation appointment at beginning of funding phase
  • Participation in a workshop on writing grant proposals
  • Consultation appointment on proposal during last third of funding phase
  • Final review of completed proposal
  • Optional individual coaching by the University’s Human Resource Development team 
Costs incurred through research activities for a period of up to two years. Depending on requirements, up to €25,000 may be awarded to cover:
  • Student assistants (calculation tool via the intranet3; website in German)
  • Disposables
  • Travel expenses
  • Further material costs (e.g. for acquisition of literature, publication costs)

To support researchers who have to cope with particular challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, applicants with

  • child(ren) up to 12 years of age or
  • family members in need of care

can apply for funds – in addition to the funding amount applied for of a maximum of €25,000 - for hiring a student assistant (SHK or WHF) with up to 15 hours per week for a maximum of one year. The aim is to create free space for your own research by supporting the preparation and implementation of (online) teaching or other scientific work (regardless of the project applied for under this call).

Please explain your specific situation in your application and list the funds applied for this purpose separately in your budget.

  • Importance of funding to your scientific career
  • Potential of research in terms of prospective third-party applications
  • Your CV

Applications will be assessed by an interdisciplinary selection committee consisting of representatives from all faculties involved, chaired by Prof. Dr. Andreas Zimmer, Vice Rector for Research and Innovation.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Bonn Graduate Centre (BGC) by 9 May 2021 using the application form linked on this page. 

The application should include:

  • Letter of motivation, including the organization where you plan to apply for third-party funding and an outline of your career goals (one to two pages).
  • Budget plan, include proposed material resources and the schedule for your research project, including justification of the requested amount (up to one page).* The earliest start date of your grant is June 15, 2021.
  • Scientific outline of your research project (three to five pages, incl. figures, excl. bibliography); please note that your outline should be comprehensible to committee members from other scientific fields than your own.
  • Employment contract with the University of Bonn or scholarship agreement (valid for the whole funding period); alternatively, applicants may provide binding commitment to extend employment/scholarship.
  • Academic CV, including publications.
  • Only for scholarship holders: a letter of support by a professor at the University of Bonn (see template44).

*When planning possible business trips in connection with your project, please note the current travel advisories by the  Federal Foreign Office55 (in German) and the Robert Koch Institute66. Further information is available in Circular No. 92/202077


Avatar Radu

Dr. Robert Radu

Bonn Graduate Center (BGC)

+49 228 73-60222

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