Freie Universität offers various measures to help junior scholars and scientists get their careers off the ground.
Through its DRS HONORS Fellowships, Freie Universität Berlin supports graduates of the university’s structured doctoral programs at the start of their academic careers. Up to ten early-career scholars and scientists are selected each year to receive a maximum of 12 months of support to allow each of them to develop an application for funding for his or her own research project following the doctoral process and secure further financing for the project or to secure a position as a postdoctoral researcher. Forty-four HONORS Fellows have received funding since 2011.
To make Freie Universität a more attractive destination for outstanding early-career researchers from other countries, the university instituted several postdoctoral fellowship programs: COFUND, POINT, and REGAIN. Thanks to these programs, the university was able to bring 86 researchers in all to Freie Universität for up to two years each during the period from 2011 to 2018.
The Dahlem International Network Postdocs, a network aimed at early-career researchers from Freie Universität, encompassed a four- to six-month period at a foreign university or a non-university research institution in the local area. This line provided 24 months of support to each of 17 scholars and scientists from 2014 to 2017.
The DAHLEM POSTDOC Fellowships funding line, established in 2017, is aimed at outstanding early-career researchers from all disciplines and nationalities who have international research experience. DAHLEM POSTDOC FELLOWS receive up to 24 months of support for research projects of their own within the scope of Focus Areas, excellence projects, and collaborative research centers of Freie Universität. Program fellows can spend up to six months doing research at a foreign university or research institution. The experience of early scholarly and scientific independence and targeted qualification options helps the fellows build their academic careers and move to the next phase.
Dahlem International Network Junior Research Groups are aimed at advanced postdoctoral researchers. They have two main characteristics that set them apart. First, each group is headed by a junior professor. This makes it possible to create the link between independent research and the tasks of a professorship in terms of teaching, support and academic self-administration, which is essential to a successful academic career.
Second, nine of the 16 groups were established in cooperation with one of the non-university partners of Freie Universität on the research campus in Berlin’s Dahlem district. This not only intensifies the dialogue between top-level research from within and outside the university, but also taps into the potential for networking within the selected projects at the same time and puts it to effective use – as an engine driving academic and scientific excellence and to pave the way forward to researchers’ own careers.
Dahlem International Network Professorships offer experienced early-career researchers an opportunity for independent research and teaching activities through temporary professorships (W2). Twelve scholars and scientists with proven research strengths in strategically important existing or potential profile areas at Freie Universität have been appointed to serve as Dahlem International Network Professors.
The career path model of Freie Universität Berlin does not count on all of the other skills, aside from actual research, that are needed for an academic or scientific career being cultivated “on the side” as if incidentally. With this in mind, the Dahlem Research School has developed a qualification program geared toward scholars, scientists, and researchers who have completed their doctoral studies, but not yet embarked on a W2 professorship, with the goal of meeting the specific needs of postdocs and doctoral candidates. The focus is on university-level teaching, leadership responsibility, and career development; mentoring and coaching options can be added on an individual basis.