Grant Resources for Young Scientists

Money, money, money ... you know it's available, but how do you get your hands on it? With so many different bodies offering funding, how are young scientists to know which stipend, grant, and fellowship opportunities are right for them? Fortunately, Germany's main funders have recently come together to create, a one-stop shop for those hunting for research euros. "It is difficult for young researchers to orientate themselves in a bunch of offers from different institutions that can all be found at different Web addresses, particularly when those programmes all have differing eligibility requirements," explains Viola Tegethoff of Koordinierungsstelle EU der Wissenschaftsorganisationen (KoWi), which is responsible for administering the new site. "Juwi-web is a starting point," she continues, "meant to enable a first glimpse of what is being offered."

The list of institutions represented in Juwi-web reads like a "who's who" of European and German federal research funding agencies. They are the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH); the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD); Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), a sponsor of Next Wave Germany; the European Science Foundation (ESF); the ( Max Planck Society (MPG); the European Commission (Research Directorate, Marie Curie Fellowships); and the Volkswagen Foundation (VW-Stiftung). And that's just for starters. The goal is to increase the number of funding institutions represented in the near future, so the site ultimately includes all the major financial support mechanisms for young scientists in Germany.

But Juwi-web is more than just a Web portal. Starting on 29 January in Berlin, the partner organisations will launch a series of events entitled "Research in Europe: National and European Funding Opportunities" (Forschen in Europa: nationale und europäische Fördermöglichkeiten). Representatives from the organisations will present their grant and fellowship programmes, and workshops will give participating young scientists the opportunity to ask specific questions and learn more about application processes and selection criteria. Events are planned for all over Germany, and dates will be announced on the site as soon as they are confirmed. Registration, available online at Juwi-web, will be required, because similar events last year drew huge crowds of curious young scientists.

The chance to meet funders face to face provides young scientists with a unique opportunity to learn vital information about the programmes--information that may not be available on the Web or in the organisation's literature. An example? Although most grants carry age limits, the selection process is not as strict as it once was. Institutions have become more flexible and have realised that the person applying for funding--not simply the programme requirements--should be the centre of attention. Therefore, if you can convince the funding organisation that you have valid reasons for being a year or two above the age limit for a certain programme, you may still be considered. This is an important function of both the events and the Web portal, believes Tegethoff: "We want to encourage young researchers to contact the institutions and ask their specific questions, having discovered that there are real human beings behind these big names."

For a list of Juwi.web and other events pertinent to Germany's young scientists, please check out the Next Wave Germany event calendar.

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