Research Training Groups

In brief

Research Training Groups (Graduiertenkollegs) are set up by universities and pursue a focused research programme. PhD students and postdocs can complete a doctorate or engage in independent research activities. Additional skills programmes strengthen their expertise for the research and higher education job market. Highly qualified and renowned postdoctoral researchers can also take on the leadership of a project.

Who can apply?

PhD students and junior researchers with

  • an outstanding university degree equivalent to a German Master’s degree or doctorate in a relevant subject
  • excellent English language skills

Further requirements

Specific requirements are laid down by the individual Research Training Groups and projects and the respective doctoral regulations. Research specialty and qualifications should match the focus of the respective Research Training Group or project.

Type and extent of funding

Work contract or scholarship. As a rule, a work contract offers a salary based on the collective agreement for public-sector employees of the German states (usually 65% to 100% of a full-time post at TV-L E13 level, which is up to 4,200 euros per month gross).  The size of the scholarship amounts up to 1,365 euros per month plus an allowance for direct project costs of 103 euros per month.


Work contracts and scholarships are usually limited to 3 to 4 years.


Research Training Groups usually advertise vacancies and scholarships publicly, and the details can be found on their websites. Applications should be submitted to the coordinator of the respective Research Training Group. You will find an up-to-date list of all Research Training Groups on the programme website. Vacancies and scholarships are also advertised on the DFG’s website (see link below).

DFG research funding

Here you will find all you need to know about DFG funding programmes.

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