Selection Procedure

I. Eligibility check

The eligibility check is conducted by the DRS fellowship team.

Research performance will be evaluated according to scores given for publications, conferences and other awards that meet the following conditions:

  • Peer-reviewed and accepted publications (publications that have been submitted or are in preparation may be listed under a separate heading but they will not be scored)
  • Contributions to scientific conferences (posters, papers, oral presentation, organization, conceptualization)            

Research performance


Poster presentation


Oral presentation on national/ international conference


Publication as co-author (article, review, book chapter etc.)


Publication as first author (article, review, book chapter etc.)


Organization of national/ internationalconference


Conceptualization of national/ international conference


Publishing (Editor)


Scientific prizes / awards


Only complete applications that meet all eligibility criteria will be passed on to the next phase of the selection process. The scores resulting from the evaluation of research performance will be available to the peer reviewers and the member of the interview panel as part of the application documents.

II. Peer review

The DRS invites an external review from one of the experts who were nominated by the scientific advisor as part of the candidate's application. The external review will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Quality and innovation of the research proposal (60%)
  2. Convincing statement of motivation with regard to future career aspirations in academia (20%)
  3. Proof of scientific excellence as evidenced by the previous career track, publications, awards, successful funding applications, etc. (20%)

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.

Process: Each interview will last 15 minutes.

  • Candidates give a presentation of their project. The presentation should be clear and understandable to non-specialists. (5 min.)
  • The panel will ask questions relating to the project and the future career plans of the candidate. (10 min.)

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:

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

The steering committee (Ständige Kommission - SK) of DRS will approve all recommended applications.

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 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.