Profile area "Bright minds for Lower Saxony”

Lower Saxony professorships Funding line 2: The Lower Saxony Impulse Professorship

Closing date for applications: June 1st and December 1st (2 pm). Important exception in 2024: the December cut-off date must be brought forward to November 15, 2024 for technical reasons. This is a one-off measure. 

Applications: Prior consultation with the Volkswagen Foundation recommended

The core of the zukunft.niedersachsen program comprises a coordinated combination of funding for individuals, projects and infrastructure. The goal is to position Lower Saxony’s science landscape for emerging transformation processes optimally and to strengthen its domestic and international competitiveness permanently.

The three funding lines of the “Lower Saxony Professorships” are designed to attract high-caliber international research scholars and high-performing early career researchers to university locations in Lower Saxony as well as to retain profile-defining research personalities at the location.

area of research: all
type of funding: funding of individuals: additional resources, if applicable own position
eligible: high-performing academics, (doctoral degree completed no more than 10 years ago before deadline), who have either received a call to a W2-Professorship already (acceptance of max. 6 months before deadline), or who could can be appointed to a W2 professorship according to the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (§ 26 NHG) with no requirement to advertise the position.
funding amount: up to 2 Mio. EUR
funding term: up to 5 years

1. Objectives

Funding line 2 “Lower Saxony Impulse Professorship” addresses researchers approaching the end of their early career stage up to a maximum of 10 years after completing their doctorate. The funding is intended to enhance their promising career potential. This relates to expertise in their disciplines as well as their capacity to sharpen profiles and shape structures. It also seeks to boost their potential for future leadership functions (“rising stars”).

2. Funding opportunities

2.1 Target group

Particularly qualified academics whose doctorate was awarded no more than 10 years ago and who have already received a call to a W2 professorship or whose call to a W2 professorship was accepted no longer than 6 months after the last deadline for applications; furthermore, junior professors and leaders of junior research groups who can be appointed to a W2 professorship according to the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (§ 26 NHG) with no requirement to advertise the position.

2.2 Eligibility for funding

The extraordinary high qualification and research profile of the person, is demonstrated by e.g.,

  • prizes and awards such as ERC Starting Grant, Emmy Noether funding,
  • (extensive) experience in research e.g., sub-project leadership at a Cluster of Excellence, at a DFG Collaborative Research Center, at a DFG Research Training Group,
  • leadership experience through e.g., management of a junior research group at a Max Planck Institute, at a Fraunhofer Institute, at a Leibniz Institute, at a Helmholtz facility,
  • extensive academic activities abroad.
2.3 Scope and duration of funding

Independent leadership of a research group; usually provision of a W2 professorship (permanent or W2 tenure track) by the university.
(In the event that no vacancy has been advertised or the applicant has not yet received a call, the funding of the W2 position itself for the funding period may be the subject of the application).

Applications can be made for up to EUR 2 million for five years. The application has to be for additional resources, which go beyond the basic resources (Grundausstattung). Such funding can be provided for e.g.

  • personnel funding, the “own position” under the previously mentioned conditions, positions for research assistants (e.g., postdoc or doctoral positions). (please use the rates of the Ministry. or the calculation. Starting the 2nd year you may budget for an inflation rate of 2%.)
  • costs of equipment or other non-personnel resources,
  • stays abroad,
  • funds for testing and establishing new research-based teaching formats,
  • funds for research communication projects.

The application must clearly address and justify which specific measures / funds are required for the planned professorship.

3. Application process and selection

Applications must be submitted either by June 1 or December 1.
An interdisciplinary panel of experts reviews the applications and invites the candidates to present their project. In the event of a particularly high number of applications, a short list may be made drawn up according to the results of a pre-selection procedure.
Applications must be submitted online via the application system to the Volkswagen Foundation. In the section Instructions you will also find useful information about submitting your application. If you have any questions regarding the application process, the persons listed below will be happy to help.
In the application system the following forms have to be completed: Information regarding the applicant, project title, duration of funding, budget plan including explanations and legal declarations. In addition, the following information has to be uploaded as PDF files:

The following attachments must be uploaded as PDF files:

  1. Cover letter (in English and German)
  2. Summary (½ page each in German and English)
  3. Full proposal (in English) (no more than 15 pages in total, 12 pt, 1.5 lines).
    The proposal narrative should include the following information:
    • Detailed description of the thematic orientation of the professorship (justification of the innovative content – also in regards to the international state of research; description of the methods required in the proposed field of work, prospects)
    • Elaborated concept for research with work plan, time schedule and proposed teaching activities, including information on the temporal scope (at least two, at most four semester hours per week)
    • Details of the academic environment at the location as well as existing cooperation activities both at local, regional, German and international levels, with information about the field of work of the cooperation partners
    • Information on the university’s own contributions and on the structural framework (e.g., workshops, archives, use of equipment, personnel concept)
    • Information on funding from other sources (projects with title,
      duration, scope of funding and funding institution), if applicable, delimitation to the project applied for
  4. Work plan and time schedule (in English) (tabular)
  5. Offers for equipment (if possible, only one pdf file): For large-scale equipment according to Art. 91 b GG, the 50 percent state share must be specified as the amount (DFG large-scale equipment procedure).
  6. CV and list of publications
  7. Statement of the host university (agreed between university management and the responsible committees of faculty and/or department; signed by the university management) (to be uploaded in the portal under “other attachments”).
    The statement is binding and should contain the following information:
    • Overall scientific orientation of the respective faculty and
    • Objectives in terms of content and strategy, as well as personnel planning for the
      next five to ten years
    • Framework conditions and thematic fit of the professorship
    • In case of planned waiver of advertisement according to Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (§ 26 Abs. 1 S. 2 NHG), confirmation of the university – issued after coordination in the responsible committees – that a W2 position is available for continuation and that the waiver of advertisement according to § 26 Abs. 1 S. 2 Nr. … NHG (number to be filled in by the university) is planned.

4. Contact

Dr. Harald Barre
Phone: +49 511 83 81-247

Simone Künnecke
Phone: +49 511 83 81-255

Kastanienallee 35
30519 Hannover