• Beehive
Graduate School of Life Sciences


Funding is an integral part of science. The majority of doctoral researcher positions are funded through either fellowships, third party funds or a combination thereof. A sudden lack of funding often poses a serious problem for a PhD project. Therefore doctoral researchers should have basic knowledge about their funding (Which source? When will it run out?). During application for admission, the Graduate School of Life Sciences will inquire about the funding of your project and reserves the right to deny admission if no plans are made to ensure funding of the project. There are two basic ways to be funded:

1) Funding by your supervisor

Often funding is provided directly by the primary supervisor either through positions granted by the university or through grants providing money for specified projects. The salary is determined by the public sector wage agreement (TV-L). Salary includes health and social insurance.

You can find a list of open positions available in groups affiliated with the Graduate School of Life Sciences on our website. This list is not exhaustive, so be sure to check the homepages of groups you are interested or directly approach the principle investigators.

2) Fellowships

In this scenario, the doctoral researchers has acquired (or will secure at a later point) the funding and joins a group for the scientific support. Fellowships offer three major advantages. They always enhance your CV and getting a good fellowship is a sign of success. A fellowship also makes it easier to pursue the research you want, as most groups have a surplus of (lab) space. Finally, a fellowship application is a great training for future grant applications. There are many different organization funding doctoral researchers (see our website  for more details.)

Fellowships usually range between 1000 and 1500 Euro. However, please note that this sum does not include health insurance nor social insurance. So you will probably have to deduct a certain amount for your mandatory health insurance. Also a fellowship is not classified as employment. This has implications for benefits, should you become unemployed after your fellowship has ended.

General advice:

While it is not exactly science, being aware of funding is an important skill to develop for every scientist.

This is especially important if you were funded by a fellowship, as a lack of alternative funds is more likely while at the same time doctoral students are not entitled to unemployment benefits.