Fit for a career in academia

Argelander Grant Starter-Kit (A) “Stepping Stone“

As part of the "Argelander Program for Early-Career Researchers - Reaching for the Stars", the University of Bonn awards Argelander Grants in the funding line "Starter Kit A – Stepping Stone". The aim of this funding line is to enable early-career researchers who would like to continue their academic career by moving to the University of Bonn to obtain a start-up position and to support them in securing third-party funding. The funding includes personnel funds for an own position, material resources to support research activities related to the third-party funding proposal as well as a comprehensive consultation program in preparation of the proposal and an academic career.

Annual Deadlines:

March 15, June 15 and October 15

The earliest possible funding start date is six weeks after the respective deadline.

Funding conditions

Early-career researchers who have completed their doctorate within the last three years (the date of the oral examination applies) and who wish to transfer from a university or research institution to the University of Bonn (except for the Faculty of Medicine) are eligible to apply.1

Applicants should aim for an academic career and prepare a proposal for third-party funding during the funding period, which, in case of approval, will enable subsequent employment and the realisation of their project at the University of Bonn.

Postdocs who already employed at the University of Bonn are not eligible to apply, but may submit an application under the funding line “Starter Kit - Research Funds“.  

Female postdocs are explicitly encouraged to apply under this funding line.

1) The previous period of employment must not have been at the University of Bonn.  

  • Personnel funds for partial financing of the own position to the extent of 50% (TV-L 13) for 24 months. Matching funding to the same extent must be provided by the receiving institution (institute/department/working group) for the entire funding period applied for.

As a sign of solidarity with those affected by the Ukraine war, 75% of the personnel costs of early-career researchers who want to transfer from an institution in Ukraine to the University of Bonn will be covered by the Argelander Grant. Therefore, only reduced matching funding of 25% is required from the receiving institution.

Initially, 14 months are granted. An extension for another 10 months is possible. A pre-requisite for an extension is the submission of a third-party funding proposal (e.g. DFG, ERC Starting Grant, BMBF) within the first 12 months as well as a positive interim evaluation.[1]

  • Disposables/material resources of up to €10,000 to support research activities and the third-party funding application during the first funding period and up to €7,500 during the second funding period. The funds must not be used for basic equipment (laptops etc.).

Support through personnel funds ends as soon as follow-up employment is available. 

The funding also includes an accompanying consultation program in preparation of an academic career and third-party funding proposal. The program offers:

  • Workshop on writing third-party funding proposals (participation is strongly recommended)
  • Application coaching, consisting of three modules (participation in at least one module is mandatory)
  • Optional individual coaching 

[1] The interim evaluation takes place on the basis of the submitted application for third-party funding and a short interim report. If not apparent from the application for third-party funding, the interim report should indicate the extent to which the milestones defined in the project application have or have not been achieved. An extension of the funding is only possible in those cases in which a third party-funded follow-up employment is not given.

Depending on requirements, up to 10,000 € for the first and up to 7,500 € for the second funding period (excluding personnel costs for the own position) may be awarded to cover:

  • Student Assistants (SHK) oder Graduate Student Assistants (WHF) - calculation tool is available here.
  • Material costs/disposables
  • Travel expenses
  • Further material costs 

Please note that funds requested to cover core support (Grundausstattung) common in the respective research area will not be approved. 

Applicants with child(ren) up to 12 years of age or family members in need of care may apply for funds for an additional 6 months at the time of application. Please explain your specific situation in your application.

  • Importance of funding to the applicant's academic career
  • Quality and relevance of the research project with regard to future applications for external funding
  • Academic CV

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

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

The application should include

  • Letter of motivation including the bullet points listed in the template provided (1-2 pages):
    • Career goals and career development plan for the time during and after the Argelander Starter-Kit Grant, including achievements to date,
    • Relevance of the proposed research project for the third-party funding application
    • Reason for choosing the funding organization and the funding measure as well as relevance of the third-party funding application for the academic career of the applicant. 
  • Financial plan for the planned expenditure of the requested funds separately for the first and second funding period (14 months + X), including time schedule and justification of the volume with regard to the planned third-party funding application and the research project (max. 1 page).
  • Tabular overview of milestones (to be referred to in the interim report), separated into first and second funding year.
  • Scientific outline of your research project (max. 3 pages, incl. figures and excl. references) with the bullet points listed below, using the template provided:
    • Scientific and societal relevance,
    • Research question/hypothesis,
    • Methodology and work plan (separately for first and second year of funding),
    • Open science strategy

Please note that the project outline should be comprehensible to reviewers without expertise in your field.

  • Academic CV, including publications.[1] 
  • Letter of invitation from a professor at the University of Bonn, including confirmation of working place and basic equipment.
  • Confirmation from the receiving institution (institute/department/working group) of matching funding for the entire funding period requested, as well as confirmation that no other funding is available.

Please notice the above mentioned earliest possible funding start date.

[1] Family responsibilities, parental leave, illness etc., will of course be taken into account. Likewise, up to 12 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.


Avatar Radu

Dr. Robert Radu

Bonn Graduate Center (BGC)

Funded by the Federal and State Governments as part of the German Excellence Strategy
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