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Project management and financing of your own position

Funding yourself in the early postdoc phase

Within the framework of project financing, postdocs can obtain temporary positions from some funding agencies. In addition to their own position, these formats often also provide funding for material and other personnel.

Funding formats in comparison

Several funding agencies finance the temporary position of postdocs within the framework of project funding. As a rule, the positions are 100% and are remunerated according to TV-L 13. Differences between the formats are the duration of funding, the thematic focus, and the career stage of the applicant. The “temporary position” format does not include chair substitutions that are applied for via other project funding (e.g. module “Replacements” in the DFG Individual Research Grant), nor does it include the applicant’s own position in a junior research group.

Buntstifte gemäß Farbverlauf im Kreis angeordnet, die Spitzen zeigen nach innen © Arek Socha ​/​ Pixabay

Early career researchers from all disciplines can apply for funding from the Walter Benjamin Programme of the DFG directly after their doctorate.

  • Scope: Within the scope of this funding, they can conduct research at a German university or research institution for two years and actively advance their scientific career.
  • Evaluation criteria: The qualification and potential of the researcher is an important criterion in the evaluation of the application.
  • Application and deadline: You can submit applications at any time.

Within the framework of the DFG’s Individual Research Grant, postdocs from all disciplines can apply for the “Temporary Position” module.

  • Scope: Approved projects have a duration of up to three years. You can submit a renewal proposal up to six months before the end of the project. Further funding options within the framework of the Individual Research Grant are available for project-specific workshops, Mercator Fellowships, public relations work, and human resources (auxiliary staff and research assistants).
  • Evaluation criteria: In the evaluation of applications, the quality of the project idea and the applicant’s previous qualification for this project (verifiable through preparatory work) will be assessed.
  • Application and deadline: You can submit applications at any time.

The Fritz Thyssen Foundation supports up to three-year projects in the humanities and social sciences and in biomedicine. Early career researchers who have completed their doctorates can apply for temporary positions within the framework of “support of projects” (100%, TV-L 13).

  • Scope: Approved projects have a duration of up to three years. In addition to its own temporary position, the Fritz Thyssen Foundation finances, among other things, auxiliary staff, one-time costs (e.g. special literature, smaller equipment), running costs (e.g. consumables), and travel expenses.
  • Evaluation criteria: In addition to the quality of the project and the suitability of the applicants, the fit with the Foundation's areas of funding is a decisive evaluation criterion.
  • Application and deadline: You can submit applications during the semi-annual deadlines (15 February and 15 September).

The DAAD funding format PRIME (Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience) offers postdocs of all disciplines and nationalities the opportunity to conduct research abroad for twelve months and then return to Germany for a six-month integration phase.

  • Scope: Funded researchers are employed as research assistants at a German university for the entire 18-month funding period. The German university or the foreign host institution must cover subsidies that exceed the funding of the position, for example for conference travel, printing costs, or personnel resources.
  • Application and deadline: You can submit applications during the annual deadlines.
Application processes at TU Dortmund University


Applications usually require an employer’s confirmation in which the university declares that the applicant can be hired if the application is approved. Please contact the Department of Human Resources (website in German only) in good time (at least 10 working days before the planned submission of the application) to obtain the employer’s confirmation.

Applicants need to inform the DFG Liaison Officer by e-mail about applications to the DFG; the Department of Finance and Procurement must be informed by e-mail about applications to foundations.

Services and contact persons

Research Support Services assists you in applying for individual funding with a temporary position. The service includes:

  • an overview of funding formats and funding agencies,
  • the selection of the appropriate format for your project,
  • and the strategic editing of your application.

Please feel free to contact the team of the Grants Services.

Team photo of Grants Services © OK et al. ​/​ TU Dortmund

Further information