• Senior Fellowship Programme


International Senior Fellowship Programme

as of April 2024


The International Senior Fellowship Programme addresses advanced and well-established senior researchers (preferably R4 level) who are active members of a foreign university / research institution. Eligible candidates should have an outstanding and internationally recognised research profile in the social sciences and / or humanities. Furthermore, applicants must have completed their doctorate at least six years prior to their application. They must also express their intention to utilise the fellowship for a tandem partnership, identifying a member of the University Alliance Ruhr as a potential tandem partner.

German citizens may apply for a Senior Fellowship provided that they are active members of a foreign university / research institution and meet the other criteria mentioned above.

Yes, candidates whose application for a Senior Fellowship has been declined can generally reapply in future calls. The same is true for UA Ruhr members whose application for a tandem partnership with an international scholar was not initially successful. This option applies to intended tandem partnerships with the same international scholar or in another constellation.

Tandem partnerships can be established with advanced, highly experienced senior researchers (at least R3 level) from one of the member universities of the UA Ruhr (University of Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr University Bochum, TU Dortmund University) working in the social sciences and / or humanities.

Learn more about how to support the application of an international fellow scholar and the role of a tandem partner.

Applicants are required to independently identify and contact potential tandem partners. This constitutes an integral part of the application process. A recommended first step is to check the websites of faculties and departments of the member universities of the UA Ruhr in order to find scholars with a matching research focus. The College’s Managing Office does not have the capacity to provide individual guidance in matching tandem partners.

The joint research project should be agreed upon well in advance of the application. Applications need to include a letter of intent expressing the tandem partner’s endorsement of the fellowship.

Please note that tandem partners are not supposed to act as mentors, but as research partners on an equal level.

How to Apply

Applications for Senior Fellowships are possible via the online application form only.

Applications must include the following details:

  • general information including the applicant’s name and home institution, the starting date and preferred form of remuneration for the fellowship, the topic and intended outcome of the planned research project, and the name of the potential tandem partner from the UA Ruhr
  • an outline of the project (10,000 characters max. including spaces) including a brief description of the nature and desired outcome of collaboration with the tandem partner (e.g., lecture, seminar, workshop, article/book chapter, grant proposal)
  • CV (including a list of the applicant’s five most important publications)

Applicants are moreover required to include a letter of intent from the potential tandem partner as part of the application, in which the latter confirms their commitment to collaborate with the applicant during the fellowship and explains the relevance and potential benefit of the planned collaboration for their home institution and the UA Ruhr.

Selection Procedure

The selection of international Senior Fellows is based primarily on the following criteria:

  • academic excellence of the applicant’s research profile (proven, in particular, by high-level publications with significant resonance in the relevant scientific community)
  • collaborative nature of the project that the applicant intends to work on with the tandem partner during the residency
  • academic quality and originality of the project and its objectives
  • realistic possibility of a successful implementation of the project and its objectives
  • potential for innovation for the social sciences and humanities within the UA Ruhr
  • potential for follow-up activities with the tandem partners and / or UA Ruhr

In addition to these criteria, the selection committee will strive for balanced representation of the academic disciplines and institutions relevant for the College within the UA Ruhr, while also ensuring that a range of international institutions are represented.

The Scientific Board of the College is responsible for selection of international Senior Fellows.

Terms and Conditions of the Fellowships

Learn more about the various benefits of a Senior Fellowship here.

Senior Fellows generally receive funding for six months. Fellowships, as well as the corresponding tandem projects, usually start on 1 March (spring cohort) and on 1 September (autumn cohort).

Depending on the individual situation of each Senior Fellow, the College is able to offer the following funding options:

  • Fellows who are granted leave of absence with continued payment of their salary from their home institution will receive a general allowance of €3,050 per month (pre-tax), a family allowance of €250 per month (if applicable), and a mobility allowance of €125 per month to cover relocation costs.
  • Fellows who are granted leave of absence without continued payment of their salary from their home institution can be funded by means of a compensation agreement within reasonable limits (usually equivalent to a W3 professorship with approximately €7,100 pre-tax per month). Alternatively, Fellows may receive a monthly grant of €5,000 (pre-tax).
  • If necessary, the College may also cover, within reasonable limits, the costs for a substitute of the Fellow at the home institution.

Applicants are requested to indicate the preferred funding option when submitting their application.

Fellows receiving a grant should be aware of the fact that full and compensatory grants are exempt from social security contributions in Germany. In many cases, remunerations by means of grants may incur tax liabilities. In these cases, Fellows must file tax declarations. Whether the grant is subject to taxation in Germany can be checked upon request by the administration of the College. In any case, Fellows bear full responsibility for ensuring proper taxation of their income.

Once the fellowship is granted by the College, successful candidates are requested to submit a written confirmation of leave of absence from their home institutions.

In general, fellowships cannot commence until a fellowship contract has been signed by all relevant parties. In the case of compensation payments for the personal salary of the Fellow or their substitute, a corresponding compensation agreement must be signed by all relevant parties prior to commencing the fellowship.

All Senior Fellows receive a fellowship contract and are provided with a dedicated office space in the quarters of the College for Social Sciences and Humanities. The facilities available include well-appointed meeting and conference rooms equipped with modern technology, enabling (hybrid) events such as workshops, lectures, and conferences. Additionally, individual IT support and personal library service will be provided. The College’s Fellow Manager will offer further support.

To support research collaborations between international Senior Fellows and their tandem partners, each fellowship includes an individual project budget of up to €7,500 (€1,250 per month) for joint workshops, conferences, publications, etc.

Complementary to the College’s Fellow Management, tandem partners support the integration of international Senior Fellows into the academic community of the UA Ruhr and beyond. The Event Coordinator of the College provides support for organising and implementing academic events.

Fellows with children can draw on support in finding accommodation, schooling, and childcare. Moreover, costs for one-time travel to and from the College will be reimbursed in accordance with the guidelines of the State Travel Act of North Rhine-Westphalia. Visa costs will be reimbursed entirely. Costs for accommodation, health insurance, childcare, and schooling need to be covered by the Fellows.

In addition to working on the research project related to their fellowship, the College has the following expectations for its Senior Fellows:

  • on-site attendance on at least three days per week (Tuesdays–Thursdays)
  • active participation in the weekly colloquium (Wednesdays)
  • willingness to attend and contribute to other formats and events (e.g., reading groups, workshops, lectures, network events)
  • implementation of at least one specific (sub-)project during the period of the fellowship (e.g., conference, workshop, evening lecture, seminar)
  • organisation of project-related events (e.g., conferences, workshops, panels) at the College
  • regular visits at the tandem partner’s home institution (e.g., for guest lectures or joint seminars)
  • acknowledgement of the College in talks and publications related to the fellowship (also after the duration of the residency)

Long-term absences are to be coordinated with the Director of the College.

All Fellows are expected to follow the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice outlined by the German Research Foundation.

The working language of the College is English; proficiency in German is not mandatory.