Selection Procedure

I. Eligibility check

The eligibility check is conducted by the DRS fellowship team.

Only complete applications that meet all eligibility criteria will be passed on to the next phase of the selection process.


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 scored and the ten highest ranking candidates will be invited for a short interview.


III. Structured interviews

The structured interviews are conducted by an interdisciplinary selection board recruited from Freie Universität’s junior professors, junior group leaders and DRS postdoctoral fellows. Based on the interview scores, the panel prepares a ranking list.

Process: Each interview will last 10 minutes.

  • Candidates give a presentation of their project. The presentation should be clear and understandable to non-specialists. Although notes may be used, the presentation should not be read from a script. (5 min.)
  • The panel will ask questions relating to the project and the future career plans of the candidate. (5 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 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.