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    Logo der ZAB, bunte Kreise mit Schriftzug Zentrale Anlaufstelle Barrierefrei
    Blind student on the campus of Bielefeld University
    © ZAB - Bielefeld University

Doctoral Funding for Disabled Young Scientists at Bielefeld University

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Information and contact

For the Representative Council for Severely Disabled Employees: Michael Johannfunke,, 0521/106-4201

For the Human Resources Department: Sabine Wostbrock,, 0521/106-6892

For the Bonn ZAV: Torsten Prenner,


A total of six funding opportunities of 32.5% of an E13 position are available from the grant program each year. Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are committed for the year.

The application for the provision of funds from the funding program to finance a 32.5% wiss. The application for funds from the funding program to finance a 32.5% academic position is submitted informally to the Human Resources Department via the dean (digitally). The representative of the severely disabled receives a (digital) copy of the application for information purposes.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • a curriculum vitae of the applicant
  • proof of severe disability or equality (copy or scan of the SB ID card or notice of determination and equality)
  • a description of the research project
  • a work plan outlining the objectives, the necessary preliminary work and a realistic time schedule
  • an expert opinion from the supervisor. The statement must include an estimate of the expected project duration.
  • The statement that the second half of the funding (32.5% E13 academic co-worker position) can be borne by the respective faculty or department for the duration of the project duration and will also be borne in a binding manner.
Bielefeld University
© ZAB - Bielefeld University

Bielefeld University is strongly committed to employing severely disabled people and people with equal rights. Nevertheless, it does not currently fulfill the legally standardized mandate to employ severely disabled people in 5% of the available jobs. Particularly in the scientific area, the employment rate is significantly below 5%.

Against this background, the rectorate has already decided in its 1126th meeting on 08.02.2000 on a support program to improve the employment opportunities for severely disabled people at Bielefeld University in order to permanently increase the employment rate in the scientific area.

Within the framework of this program, severely disabled doctoral candidates have the opportunity to be employed for their doctoral project with a share of at least 65% of an E-13 position at a faculty or scientific department. The rectorate subsidizes the salary costs with a share of 32.5%. The remaining share of the position must be provided by the Faculty or others from funds.

The subsidies are provided from a pay-as-you-go revenue, which is based on the employment rate of severely disabled persons and persons with equal status to them in the individual faculties and scientific institutions.

In 20 years, more than 50 doctoral students have already been successfully sponsored. On the occasion of its 20th anniversary in 2020, the funding program has been revised and its scope expanded.
The program has proven to be a very successful instrument, which is also perceived positively beyond the region and is considered a best-practice example of university support for severely disabled persons in the scientific field.

The support program

In the interests of good employment conditions and in line with the DFG's funding conditions, it is now the practice that doctoral positions are awarded at a rate of 65%.

The funding program therefore provides for half funding of 32.5% of an E13 position to be awarded to severely disabled doctoral candidates or those with equal status. The funding can be combined with other funding, e.g. from the Employment Agency - ZAV Bonn.

The funding can be granted for a period of up to four years.

If the doctorate/Phd studies are not successfully completed after four years, continued employment is possible. This requires an assessment by the supervisor that the doctorate/Phd studies can be successfully completed within a reasonable period of time.

In special cases of hardship/hardship case, e.g. in the case of long illness, funding in the full amount of a 65% position may also be possible. In this case, the funding period is limited to up to two years.

Supplementary support for severely disabled young researchers

Lecture Hall Bielefeld University
© ZAB - Bielefeld University

In addition to the funding possibilities of the support program, it is also possible for severely disabled young scientists* to receive wage cost support from the ZAV Bonn of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), provided that it is their first employment at Bielefeld University.

The ZAV Bonn can contribute between 30% and 70% of the positions supported by the local funding program for a maximum of five years, provided that the doctoral candidates meet the ZAV's funding requirements. The funding level and project duration by ZAV Bonn depends on the nature and severity of the applicant's disability. The application to the ZAV must be submitted prior to the degree of the employment contract.

Who can apply?

All young scientists with an officially recognized severe disability or an officially determined equality can apply for the doctoral funding of the rectorate.

In order to receive funding from ZAV Bonn, specific criteria must be met. Interested applicants should contact either the SBV or the ZAV Bonn directly for information about the funding conditions.

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