Application and Selection Process


Link to DRS Application Platform

Once registered, please fill out the online application and upload all required documents. Please note that as part of the application you need to ask your prospective advisor to nominate two external experts (not from Freie Universität Berlin) to review your application.

Due to the international compositon of the peer review and the interview panels, the application form has to be filled out in English and the interviews will take place in English.

Selection Process

I. Eligibility check

The eligibility check is conducted by the DRS fellowship team. Only complete applications will be peer reviewed.

II. Peer review

The peer review consists of two evaluations by scientific experts. The future scientific advisor of the applicant provides a first (internal) review of the application. The DRS invites a second (external) review from one of the experts who were nominated by the scientific advisor as part of the candidate's application. Both, the internal and the external review, will be based on the same criteria:

  • Quality and innovation of the research proposal (50%)
  • Convincing statement of motivation with regard to future career aspirations in academia (20%)
  • Quality and innovation of PhD thesis (20%)
  • Proof of scientific excellence as evidenced by the previous career track, publications, awards, successful funding applications, etc. (10%)

Applications will be ranked according to the average scores given in the peer review and the ten highest scoring candidates will be invited for a short interview.

III. Structured interviews

The structured interviews are conducted by an internal selection board consisting of at least four panel members representing the four main subject areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Life Sciences and Natural Sciences, recruited from Freie Universität’s junior professors, junior group leaders and junior researchers, including DRS postdoctoral fellows. Based on the interview scores, the panel prepares a ranking list. The five top-listed candidates will be approved by the steering committee of DRS and will be recommended to the Executive Board of Freie Universität. Criteria in the interview are:

  • Clarity of research idea and convincing defense of the proposed research project (60%)
  • Convincing statement of motivation with regard to future career aspirations (20%)
  • Overall quality of candidate’s presentation (20%)

IV. Final assessment

The final selection is conducted by the Executive Board of Freie Universität Berlin. The assessment is made on the basis of the scores received in the internal and external peer reviews and the structured interviews. Up to five fellowships can be offered in each round (up to 10 per year). The most important criterion is scientific excellence.