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Start-up honours grants

Call for applications 2018A, deadline 11/10/2017

(for Start-up honours grants starting earliest on 01/12/17 and ending latest on 31/12/2018)

Guidelines for proposals for GSGS start-up honours grants

The  Graduate  School  of  Geosciences  (GSGS)  offers  start‐up  honours  grants  to  very  promising  potential  doctoral  candidates.  The  aim  of  GSGS  start‐up  honours  grants  is  to  support  talented  young  researchers while they apply for external funding in their research field of interest and learn via strong support  by  experienced  researchers  how  to  write  research  proposals.  In  this  way,  excellent  master  graduates can  be  kept,  or  attracted,  to  pursue  a  doctorate  in  the  Department  of  Geosciences  of  the  University of Cologne. Start‐up honours grants are advertised internationally. This is the last round of start-up honours grants from Excellence Initiative funds; no payments can be made after 31/12/2018.


Successful applicants are awarded a “wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft” (WHK) position for 19h/week for a maximum funding period of 9 months. On request, the grant can also be awarded in the form of a stipend according to guideline No 2.22 of the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft” (DFG; see The maximum funding period remains 9 months.

Application procedure

To apply for a GSGS Start-up Honours Grant, a complete paper application must be submitted to the GSGS manager using the PDF application form. Please use typescript wherever possible. The applicant’s prospective advisor needs to provide a support statement and sign the application. If you do not hand-deliver your application, also provide an electronic version (scan of the form with the two signatures) by the deadline to circumvent possible delays in the university’s postal system. The receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email as soon as possible.

The selection process

After an initial assessment of their completeness by the GSGS manager, all applications of an institute are forwarded to the respective institute representatives on the GSGS Steering Committee, who take care that the applications are ranked.
The selection criteria are:  1) the quality of the candidate, proven by his or her marks; 2) motivation of the candidate; 3) clarity of the proposal; 4) shown comprehension/knowledge of the field.
The final decision of the distribution of funds, and of the funding awarded to each successful applicant, lies with the Steering Committee and is subject to the availability of funds.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of the selection procedure generally within 1.5 months.

After approval

Successful applicants will receive their grant through the GSGS. The GSGS manager will make the necessary administrative arrangements. It is the recipient’s responsibility to provide all necessary information (including proof of completion of Master studies) in a timely manner to allow a smooth application process.

Start-up honours grant recipients are expected to be active members of the GSGS both during the time of their grant and during any following PhD project at the UoC.

Advisors of start-up honours grant recipients are urged to support participation of their doctoral candidates in the GSGS.

Please note that successful applicants will have to submit a short report of their activities for the GSGS website (max.  1 page A4, including a picture) to the GSGS manager within a month after end of their GSGS grant, preferably by e-mail to