New Call for the Establishment of Junior Research Groups in the Field of Social Policy Research in Germany

Grants programme within the BMAS Social Policy Research Programme (FIS) focusses on topics such as the social dimensions of climate policies and regional disparities in the context of social policy.

Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales (BMAS – German Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs) established the Support Network for Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS – Fördernetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Sozialpolitikforschung) in 2016. The programme is designed to promote social policy research in Germany and support knowledge creation on socio-political topics. It funds social policy research with grants for research projects, doctoral scholarships and endowment professorships. Within this overarching programme BMAS issues periodic calls.

2023 Call: Junior Research Groups

The aim of this call is to offer junior researchers the opportunity to dedicate several years of research time to topics in the areas of social legislation and social policy. It offers funded researchers the chance to lead their own junior research group at a university, university of applied sciences or non-educational research institution in Germany. The programme is designed to support the early career researchers chances of securing a professorship at the end of the funding period.

Funding is provided for research projects carried out by postdoctoral and doctoral researchers in the following research areas:

  • Sociology
  • Political science
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Social ethics
  • History

Funded junior research groups are intended to provide fresh methodological and substantive impetus for social policy research in Germany.

The thematic focus is on the following research areas:

  • The investment value and social benefit of social policy.
  • Regional disparities and social policy.
  • Social dimensions of climate policies.

Further related topics will also be considered.

Eligible to apply are institutions of higher education (universities and universities of applied sciences) in Germany. Non-educational research institutions are also eligible if they collaborate with a higher education institution.

Prospective junior research group leaders must have completed their doctorate with excellent results and completed initial postdoctoral research which included independent research work and high-quality scientific publications. They must have substantial research experience which will ideally include international work. Relevant professional expertise is welcomed.

Funding for junior reserach groups covers personnel costs for one postdoctoral researcher (TVöD 14) and up to three doctoral researchers (TvöD 13). In addition, the grant covers project-related eligible costs. The maximum funding period is initially three years with an option for an extension of two years in the case of a positive review.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process. Applicants are initially required to submit a letter of intent (LOI) which includes a short project proposal. Following a review of the proposals, selected candidates will then be asked to submit their formal funding application to BMAS.

Letters of intent are accepted both from the host institutions as well as from junior researchers who aim to lead a research group. In the latter case, proof of an agreement with a host institution must be provided.

The deadline for the submission of LOI is 30 April 2023 (23:59 CEST).

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)