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FAQ – Frequently asked questions about the LGFG doctoral scholarship

The Application Process

When are the application deadlines?

Calls for applications for new doctoral scholarships are issued once per year in spring (between March and May), depending on whether or not there are sufficient funds available.

Applications for continued funding and extensions have to be submitted in the same period.

Information on the calls for applications will be published on our homepage and in the IGA newsletter.

Applications are only possible if there is a current call for application.

 

In which language can I apply?

The application documents can be submitted in both German and English. Certificates and application documents written in other languages ​​must be translated by a certified translator into German or English. The translation must be submitted in original.

 

What must be considered in the letters of recommendation?

  • Letters of recommendation must be sent to us as an original.
  • The letters of recommendation must be signed by the supervisor.
  • Letters of recommendation can be submitted together with the application documents in a sealed envelope or sent separately by the supervisor.
  • The letters of recommendation can be sent by e-mail in advance. The original must be submitted until the beginning of the scholarship the latest.
  • Letters of recommendation can be submitted later. However, a copy or the pdf-file must reach us two weeks after the application deadline.

 

What should be included in the letters of recommendation?

The reviewer should comment on the following topics:  

1. The applicant’s character

2. The applicant’s previous achievements

3. The dissertation project

4. Summary

Please find the instructions on writing a letter of recommendation here.

What should be included in the research proposal?

Your research proposal should include a description of all academic achievements directly related to your dissertation.

The maximum length of the research proposals should not exceed twelve pages (incl. footnotes/endnotes/references and indexes) single spaced, 12 pt font. Research proposals are accepted both in German and English for the selection procedure.

Detailed information on how to write a dissertation proposal is also available here.

 

The selection process

How does the selection process work?

The respective expert advisory committees receive the application documents with the request to evaluate the quality of the applications. Possible recommendations are: “suitable for funding,” “suitable for funding under certain conditions,” and “not suitable for funding.” If the expert advisory committee receives more than one application to evaluate, they must create an objective ranking.

The applications, the recommendations and the rankings are then passed on to the central grants commission for a decision. The central grants commission makes the final decision as to which applicants receive a scholarship.

The central grants commission also decides how many scholarships can be granted in a given calendar year. The total amount of newly granted scholarships depends on the amount of available budget resources.

How are the expert advisory committees formed and staffed?

Each faculty appoints an expert advisory committee composed of five members: four professors, junior professors, or other persons authorized to supervise dissertation projects and one non-tenured member of the faculty.

 

How is the central grants commission formed and staffed?

The central grants commission is elected by the university senate and is composed of six persons:

  • the rector of the university or an appointed representative, generally the vice rector for research
  • two lecturers
  • one director of a graduate school
  • one researcher with a doctoral degree
  • one doctoral candidate

 

My application was evaluated as „suitable for funding“. Why did I nevertheless receive a cancellation?

An application may be evaluated as “suitable for funding” but not be selected for a scholarship. This is the case when the amount of suitable applications submitted exceeds the amount of scholarships which can be granted. In the case that a scholarship is not attended, subsequent approvals can be made on the basis of a ranking by the expert advisory committees of all applications “suitable for funding”.

                                              

When do I get the result of my application?

You will receive the final decision with the official notification about two weeks after the meeting of the central grants commission.

 

Can I reapply for a scholarship? 

Yes, a reapplication is possible.

 

The scholarship

Who is being promoted?

Both german and international doctoral candidates of all faculties are eligible to apply for LGFG scholarships.

Applicants must meet the following prerequisites:

  • a university degree which qualifies the holder for admission to a doctoral program;
  • outstanding qualifications;
  • a dissertation project which is expected to result in an important contribution to research;
  • prior acceptance as a doctoral candidate of the University of Freiburg (demonstrated by a certificate of acceptance from your home faculty): You must complete your doctoral degree at the University of Freiburg (however, it is possible to complete some of the work outside of the University of Freiburg, e.g., laboratory or archive work at home and abroad).

In cases of similar aptitude, abilities, and academic achievement, applications from international and female doctoral candidates will be preferred. Half of the scholarships are reserved for female applicants. Adequate representation of the university’s spectrum of fields and research emphases is also a factor in the selection process.

 

Which funding lines are there?

There are different lines of funding. In general, there is a difference between regular and completion scholarships.

Regular scholarships consist of three funding lines:

  • the initial funding period (1st–12th month of funding)
  • the continued funding period (13th–24th month of funding)
  • and the extension (25th–36th month of funding)

This line of funding is intended for doctoral candidates in the initial phase of work on their dissertation (one to one and a half years after beginning of their dissertation). These individual scholarships are initially awarded for twelve months.  Afterwards, the scholarship holder must apply to receive continued funding.

Scholarship recipients who are raising (at least) one child under 14 years of age may apply within the application period for additional 12 months of funding for parenting at the end of their regular period of funding of up to 36 months (37th – 48thmonth of funding).

Completion scholarships can only be awarded if, at the time of application, it can be assumed that the dissertation will be submitted within the requested funding period. Completion scholarships are awarded for a maximum of six months. The funding period begins in August of the current year at the earliest and ends in January of the following year at the latest.

 

When is the beginning of funding possible?

As the funding period of regular scholarships begins on the 1st of October, the recipient can choose to have it delayed until the 1st of November of the same year.

 

Is a research stay possible?

You may complete the work necessary for your doctoral degree outside of the University of Freiburg.

For instance, it is possible to conduct laboratory work or visit archives (also abroad). However, you must complete the doctoral degree at the University of Freiburg.

As a rule, stays of up to four months for preparatory measures that are funded by other organizations will not be counted toward the total duration of the funding period (§ 6 paragraph 7 of the Statutes on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding (LGFG)).

Please announce the planned stay as early as possible to the International Graduate Academy (IGA).

Is it possible to receive funding in addition to the LGFG scholarship?

Due to § 2 paragraph 5 of the Statutes on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding (LGFG) a scholarship may only be received by a person who does not receive financial support for the same doctoral project from other public or private sources.

 

Is an interruption of the work on the dissertation project possible?

You may interrupt your work on your dissertation project due to illness, pregnancy, extraordinary familial burdens, or other important reasons (§ 8 paragraph 2 LGFG) for up to a year (in exceptional cases up to two years).

Please inform the International Graduate Academy (IGA) immediately about the interruption and hand in a written application. It should include the following documents:

  • An application due to § 8 paragraph 2 LGFG
  • Proof of the reason for the interruption: an attestation or another official statement
  • A statement from your supervisor that the interruption does not affect the finalization of your work on the dissertation

The scholarship will be paid in full up to the end of the month in which a period of six weeks has passed since the beginning of the interruption.

 

Is it possible to interrupt the scholarship?

As a rule, stays of up to four months for preparatory measures that are funded by other organizations will not be counted toward the total duration of the funding period (§ 6 paragraph 7 of the Statutes on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding (LGFG)). For this purpose, the scholarship can be interrupted on application.

 

May I take on an employment and have an income besides the scholarship?

In principle, LGFG scholarship recipients may engage in certain permitted activities whereby the duration of max. 40 hours per month and the income of max. 9,000 euros may not be exceeded.

If you will be in an employment relationship with the University of Freiburg while receiving the scholarship or if you plan to enter into an employment relationship with the University during this period, you must inform the Human Resources Department of the scholarship as early as possible as they decide whether the employment is compatible with the scholarship.

In this case, it must be ensured that the employment relationship is clearly separated from your work on the dissertation project with regard to their content as well as the time and place at which they are performed.

Please also note that you must make any changes to your income level known immediately and present evidence to confirm them.

 

 

Is a training program / an internship beside the scholarship possible?

Training programs and internships with a duration of max. 40 hours per month are permitted under § 5 paragraph 2c of the Statutes on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding (LGFG), but must be approved by the central grants committee before they begin.

Please note that the completion of your dissertation should take precedence over all other training programs or internships. Not all training programs are permitted.

 

Is my social insurance covered by the scholarship?

The scholarships are tax free as per §3 no. 44 EstG (German Income Tax Law) and are not considered as employment for tax purposes. They are not subject to social insurance contributions as they are not a form of remuneration as described in §14 SGB IV (German Social Security Code).

 

What do I have to do if I want to abandon the dissertation project?

Please inform the university immediately in written form in the event that you decide to abandon your dissertation project.
You will stop receiving the scholarship at the end of the month in which you abandon your dissertation project.
Findings and results of the dissertation project have to be made accessible to your primary supervisor.

 

What do I have to do if I want to abandon the scholarship?

Please inform the university immediately in written form in the event that you decide to abandon your scholarship.

 
You will stop receiving the scholarship at the end of the month in which you abandon your scholarship.

What do I have to consider after the end of funding?

If an extension of the scholarship is not applied for or if the funding runs out, you must submit a progress report and a statement from your dissertation supervisor along with it no later than six months after the end of the funding period.

This report must include an account of the work you completed during the entire period of funding, the reasons for the delay and describe the findings of your project.

You are required to complete yearly progress reports for two further years. A statement from your dissertation supervisor must be included along with every progress report.

The obligation to submit reports ends two years after the termination of funding. If you have submitted your dissertation, you have to send the confirmation of submission to the IGA. In this case, the requirement to provide further progress reports does not apply any longer.

 

Legal Framework

Click here to download the State Law on Graduate Funding (from 23 July 2008) and the translation.

The Statutes of the University of Freiburg on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding from 19 September 2014 and the Amendments of the Statutes are available in the university publication. You can download the current reading version here.

Please note: The most recent versions of these legal documents apply.

The Guidelines of the University of Freiburg on Carrying Out the Statutes on the Implementation of the State Law on Graduate Funding (LGFG) from 04 March 2014 are available here.