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  • European Research Funding

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ERC Preparative Fellowship

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Dr. Alice Merca

Dr. Alice Merca

EU-Referentin Schwerpunkt ERC

+49 521 106-3964

General Description

As part of its institutional strategy, Bielefeld University’s focus is on providing support and career options for researchers who are at the beginning of their independent research career. For this, Bielefeld University has established the “ERC preparative Fellowship” as part of its ERC Strategy. The “ERC preparative Fellowship” is designed to promote excellent young academics from all fields of research who are willing to submit their ERC Starting Grant application with Bielefeld University as host institution.

What is the ERC? The ERC is Europe’s most prestigious individual research grant and supports excellent investigators and their research teams in carrying out ground-breaking, high-risk, high-gain, frontier research projects. The ERC Starting Grants are designed to support excellent principal investigators in starting their own independent research team or programme.

Each year Bielefeld University will employ two fellows (ideally one with a social sciences and humanities background and one with a natural sciences background). The selected fellows will be offered optimal working conditions to carry out preliminary work for their ERC project.

Research Fellows will be employed by the University and will receive an attractive salary according to the German “Tarifvertrag der Länder (TV-L)” (TV-L pay grade E 13). The fellow’s gross salary will be subject to income tax deduction and social security contributions. In addition to the salary, consumables and travel costs flatrate of € 5,000 will be granted.

Each application must be supported by a professor and the  respective faculty  of Bielefeld University, who will ensure the fellow’s academic and infrastructural integration.

The fellows must be eligible to apply for an ERC Starting Grant in the first year of their employment at Bielefeld University. They must have an outstanding scientific track record showing great promise. Their research profile must match the policy of the chosen Bielefeld University’s faculty.

In addition, applicants must have had or still have an academic or other research position at the postdoctoral or faculty level outside Bielefeld University.

Applications must be submitted as one pdf-document via email to:

The following documents are part of the application:

  • ERC-Fellowship-Template.docx (your vitae and the 2-pager project proposal)
  • English or German version of your PhD certificate
  • Two recommendation letters: one by a member of staff at Bielefeld University and one by an external referee (max. 2 pages)
  • A letter of support of the faculty detailing how the fellow will complement their strategic research interests (max. 1 page)

The starting date of the fellowship is April 1, 2025 and the fellows will be employed for a period of 18 months. The deadline for the next application is in October, 2023.

Following the application deadline, all applications will undergo an eligibility check followed by an official internal review. The proposal will be assessed upon the following criteria:

  • scientific excellence of the proposed research
  • outstanding track record of the applicant
  • groundbreaking nature of the project
  • the expected added value of the planned research to the strategic research interests of the faculty

The fellows are expected to apply for an ERC Starting Grant with Bielefeld University as the Host Institution in the year the fellowship starts.

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