Walter Benjamin Programme

Call illustration

The Walter Benjamin Programme enables researchers in the postdoctoral training phase to independently conduct their own research project at a location of their choice.

The project can be carried out at a research institution in Germany or abroad, with the host institution providing support for the project.

Special note on Walter Benjamin fellowships

Due to the legal situation in France, postdoctoral researchers in France can stay a maximum of 12 months on a fellowship. Please bear this in mind when planning your stay in France as part of the Walter Benjamin Programme!

Further Information

FAQelan - Electronic proposal submission

Information about the Programme


By securing funding for their own research project, particularly qualified postdoctoral researchers pave the way for the next stages of their increasingly independent research career and exercise autonomy. The programme thus promotes early research careers with the aim of fostering the mobility and thematic development that are crucial in this career phase; therefore, the programme generally requires that the applicant change his or her research institution.

Eligibility Requirements

Only postdoctoral researchers at an early career phase are eligible to apply to this programme. The project may not be based at an entity that is for-profit or that does not permit the publication of findings in a generally accessible form.

Special provisions apply for individuals applying for a Walter Benjamin fellowship (abroad):

Funding abroad can only be provided if researchers are integrated into Germany’s academic research system. This is the case if, immediately prior to submitting a proposal, they have worked as a researcher in Germany for a continuous period of at least three years during their doctoral and/or postdoctoral phase.

If researchers are already based abroad, funding can be provided abroad if they have completed the majority of their schooling and higher education in Germany and, as of proposal time, have not spent more than three years abroad for research purposes after completing their doctorate in Germany or abroad.

Furthermore, they must not have worked longer than one year at the host institution selected for the Walter Benjamin fellowship as of proposal time.

Type and Extent of Funding

The type and extent of funding depend on what modules are selected. Fellowships are provided to conduct research projects abroad and positions are provided to conduct research projects in Germany (in the category “postdoctoral researcher or comparable”) (or for a temporary substitute clinician position in the category “medical research assistant”). Regardless of which funding type is selected, a general allowance for direct project costs (including travel and publication costs) and, where applicable, additional funding associated with high production costs (book format) will be granted.

The fellowship amount is made up of the basic allowance and, where applicable, additional benefits such as a foreign allowance, cost of living allowance and benefits for parents.

The institution at which the project is located should cover additional project needs. Particularly for projects conducted in Germany, the host researcher should provide project and career development support.

Funding Duration

As a rule, up to two years

Forms and Guidelines

Proposal Deadlines

Proposals may be submitted at any time.

Discussion Platform for Fellows Abroad

Fellows located abroad can exchange information on all aspects of their fellowship via a mailing list.

Refugee Researchers

Refugee researchers can submit a proposal for their own project to be carried out in Germany under the Walter Benjamin Programme (Walter Benjamin post).



Additional information on the proposal process can be obtained from the relevant programme staff

Please also have a look at the detailed information on the

During Your Fellowship (Contact Persons at the Fellowship Office)

In case of questions or for further information on financial management, please contact the Fellowship Office through the following channels:

Up to 2 years
Sciences sociales