A number of funding organisations have established junior research group leader programs, creating alternative careers to earn academic qualifications. These grant programs run for several years (in most cases five) and often feature generous financial resources, including funding for the leader’s own position and additional participants.
The aim of these funding programs is to allow excellent young scholars and scientists to take on leadership positions at an early stage, thereby amassing the experience that is required of candidates who are applying for professorship positions – experience that can substitute for the Habilitation process. The application process is highly competitive and is open only to scholars and scientists who have proven their academic excellence early on. It is recommended that candidates acquaint themselves with the application requirements at an early stage. There is often a specific time window for submission of applications, and candidates may also be required to have international research experience.