Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience (P.R.I.M.E.)

In 2014 the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) initiated the PRIME programme to support the international mobility of postdoctoral researchers by temporary positions at German universities in place of conventional stipends. With completing the programme’s pilot phase that was partially co-financed by the EU, DAAD has successfully established this funding instrument and continues the programme since 2019 with support from the national funding provider, the BMBF.

Postdoctoral researchers of all nationalities, who see their long-term career perspectives in Germany, will be given the opportunity to combine temporary employment at a German university with a research stay abroad. The possibility of continuous coordination with the German host institution shall ensure an efficient reintegration following the research stay abroad. 


The support is provided for 18 months, of which the first 12 months have to be spent abroad and the remaining six months in Germany (reintegration phase).


Funding is provided through an 18-month temporary job position at the selected German university. The position will be remunerated according to the appropriate rate for postdoctoral researchers (according to the German pay scale “TV-L E13”). The specific level within the salary group “TV-L E 13” will be determined by the employing universities on the basis of the previous work experience of the fellows.  DAAD will provide the respective universities with a grant agreement to cover the costs for the regular salary and an additional monthly expatriate allowance for the research stay abroad.

An additional lump sum travel allowance in accordance with DAAD rates for the selected candidate and, if applicable, accompanying spouse or partner (with in the meaning of the German law on civil partnerships) and children will be paid directly by DAAD.

Successful applicants will be invited to an orientation seminar before the start of the fellowship, together with current fellows and alumni.

The seminar will presumably take place in Bonn on 9/10 March 2020. Applicants are asked to save the date but not to make any travel arrangements before receiving a letter of acceptance. 


Eligibility to the programme is defined by four criteria:

  • Applicants must have completed their PhD before starting the fellowship;
  • Applicants must comply with the programme’s mobility rule, i.e. they are free to choose any country (except Germany) as destination for their research stay abroad, provided they have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in that country for more than 12 months in total during the three years preceding the application deadline of 30 August 2019. Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention is not taken into account.
    If the research stay abroad is to be undertaken in a country other than an EU member state (MS) or an associated country (AC), the applicant must either be a national/resident citizen of an EU MS or AC, or have been continuously active in research for five years’ full-time equivalent in a MS or AC, immediately prior to the time of recruitment. If this condition is not met, the applicant will be deemed ineligible; 

  • Applicants who are already permanently employed by the research milieu where the research training activities are planned to take place and that is recruiting them may not be supported;
  • Applicants must accept that the research stay abroad and the return phase to Germany are both mandatory parts of the programme.

Other Application Conditions

  • Appropriate host institutions in Germany and abroad must have been identified at the time of application. The contact with these institutions and the agreement on modalities are the responsibility of the applicant.
  • The employing host institution in Germany has to be a university.
  • The German host university must confirm in writing that the postdoc will be employed for the whole funding period, should the application be successful. The necessary means will be made available to the university through separate DAAD project funding. The university will appoint a mentor/scientific host, who will inform the PRIME scholar during his/her stay abroad about developments at the institution and answer his/her queries to ensure a successful reintegration at the end of the period abroad. It is expected that the German university indicates at the time of application the possibilities for longer-term research perspectives at the institution following DAAD funding. On its website, DAAD offers a list of PRIME contacts at German universities who can answer questions from potential applicants concerning their institution. Universities that did not specifically nominate a PRIME contact person are equally eligible as hosts.
  • The foreign host institution shall be selected according to the scientific preferences/needs of the applicant and the research project. It can be a university, a non-university research institute, or an industrial research entity. It must be willing to support the postdoc in the realization of her/his research project and provide the necessary infrastructure. The type of support (office space, access to instruments, laboratories, libraries etc.) has to be defined and a mentor/scientific host appointed at the foreign host institution. DAAD cannot make funding available to the foreign host institution.
  • The starting date of the fellowship must be between 1 May 2020 and 1 September 2020.  A postponement is only possible under exceptional circumstances (e.g. pregnancy, motherhood, parental leave) and has to be approved by DAAD.
  • The “Rules of good scientific practice” and the ethical guidelines of the programme must be accepted.

Application Documents

The application form will be available at the application porta. To get to the portal please click on Stipendiendatenbank für Deutsche, fill in “Fachrichtung” (subject of your research), “Zielland” (country of the period abroad) and Status “Promovierte” (position) and select the programme.

Please mind the instructions on registering on the portal, choose English as portal language and activate, if necessary, the compatibility view of your browser.

Once the application form has been completed, all other application documents (except the letters of recommendation) can be uploaded. All documents for upload must be in pdf format. If not stated otherwise, all documents must be submitted in English as the evaluation and selection process will be conducted by international reviewers and an international committee.

The following documents have to be submitted:

  • completed application form;
  • curriculum vitae;
  • short summaryof the research project;
  • time schedule for the realization of the planned work abroad and in Germany;
  • invitation letter from the German host;
  • binding declaration from the German host university (form 1), to provide a temporary position for the funding period at the rate appropriate for postdocs at the institution within the framework of project funding from the DAAD, should the application be successful;
  • invitation letter from the foreign host;
  • degree certificate for the most recent academic degree (usually the PhD);
  • publication list;
  • list of the most important publications (maximum of three) and the reasons for their selection (importance of the scientific results, significance for the research project, new methodological approach etc., no more than 3.000 characters including spacesin total);
  • short summary of the doctoral thesis (up to 7.000 characters including spaces);
  • supplementary information (if applicable) on other scientific, professional and social activities, and possibly on your personal situation, as far as this information might be relevant for the assessment of the proposal;
  • completed and signed form 2 (Ethical-Issues-Table);
  • language certificate for the period abroad;
  • A certificate for the knowledge of German
  • two recent letters of recommendation that should in particular refer to the applicant’s personal and scientific suitability for the planned project.

With the exception of the letters of recommendation, all documents have to be uploaded in pdf format in the application portal. The letters of recommendation have to be sent by post to DAAD:

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)

Section ST43 / PRIME

Kennedyallee 50

53175 Bonn


DAAD reserves the right not to consider incomplete applications. The responsibility for submitting a complete application by the end of the deadline lies with the applicants.


  • Call announcement: 1 May 2019
  • Application deadline: 30 August 2019
  • Selection results: February 2020
  • Orientation seminar: 9-10 March 2020 (expected)
  • Earliest starting date: 1 May 2020
  • Latest starting date: 1 September 2020
Application date
18 months
Social sciences