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Postdoctoral Fellowships

 

About

 

The EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to two years and support excellent postdoctoral researchers in laboratories throughout Europe and the world. International exchange is a key requirement. Now awarding grants for employment contracts in EMBC countries, EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships also support the career development of the fellows through leadership courses and networking opportunities

 

 

Benefits

 

Starting with the first 2020 evaluation, EMBO will offer grants for host institutions in EMBC Member States to issue employment contracts to EMBO Fellows. Fellows working in other countries than EMBC Member States will receive a stipend.

 

Please note: These changes affect applicants entering the first evaluation round in 2020 and onwards. Applicants evaluated earlier and current fellows will remain under the stipend-based EMBO Long-Term Fellowships scheme.

 

Fellowships in EMBC Member States

 

Fellowship duration

EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of two years although shorter durations can be requested. The minimum fellowship duration that can be requested is one year. Fellowships must be started within one calendar year from the relevant evaluation cut-off.

 

Contract

EMBO provides grants to the host institution with the sole intention to cover the cost of an employment contract to be issued by the host institution to the awardee. These costs include employer’s social contributions, awardee’s social contributions, taxes as required by national and local laws and regulations, and the net salary of the awardee. The EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship does not cover bench fees, overheads, funds for consumables or any other financial benefits to the host supervisor or the receiving institute. The grant rate depends on the country being visited. The transfer of funds is regulated by a grant agreement that will be signed by both EMBO and the host institution. The contract between the host institution and the awardee will be issued by the host institution according to the national and local regulations in each of the EMBC Member States.

 

Childcare allowance

For children under the age of six, fellows can claim support for incurred childcare costs up to the amount of €2.500 per fellowship year and per child. The corresponding amount is prorated according to the fraction of the year in which childcare expenses were incurred.

 

Relocation allowance

The relocation allowance is intended to cover travel costs up to the amount of €5.000 for the fellow and his/her family to and from the host institute. The relocation allowance further includes half a month’s grant rate to contribute to relocation costs.

Carefully read the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines  for further information.

 

EMBO Fellows’ Network

Every two years, fellows awarded three and four years earlier are invited to the EMBO Fellows' Meeting in Heidelberg. Similarly, once every two years, fellows residing in North America are invited to the US Fellows’ Meeting. These events bring fellows together in a friendly atmosphere. Fellows are asked to present their research, share experiences, and establish new collaborations and contacts. It is also an opportunity to meet the EMBO staff and give feedback and suggestions on the programme.

Alternating with the EMBO Fellows' Meeting in Heidelberg, every two years fellows will be invited to the EMBO Alumni Fellows’ Meeting.

EMBO encourages current, former and prospective fellows to follow the programme on Facebook and Twitter (@EMBOComm @EMBOFellows) for further information and events. This is also a great opportunity to meet and connect with your colleagues.

 

EMBO Laboratory Leadership courses

EMBO Postdoctoral Fellows are offered to attend a Laboratory Leadership Course for postdocs in Heidelberg free of charge at the end of their fellowship. Please note that waivers are available only to a limited number of EMBO Long-Term Fellows per year, both previous and current. Places are granted on a strict first come, first served policy and although all fellows will be able to attend the course, there might not be available places for a course on a particular date. Waiver is available within five years of being awarded the fellowship and only if the fellowship is held for at least six months.

Carefully read the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines for further information.

 

Fellowships in EMBC Associate Member States, countries and territories covered by a co-operation agreement and non-member states

Fellows outside EMBC Member States receive a stipend (see below) for two years unless a shorter time is requested (minimum of one year) and have access to child care allowance, relocation allowance, EMBO Fellows’ network activities and Laboratory Leadership courses, similar to fellows in EMBC Member States.

 

The stipend is solely intended to cover the cost of living in the host country. The EMBO Long-Term Fellowship does not cover bench fees, overheads, funds for consumables or any other financial benefits to the host supervisor or the receiving institute. The stipend rate depends on the country being visited and might be subject to taxation. We cannot advise on national tax regulations and we recommend fellows to contact the relevant authorities in the host country.

 

Dependent child allowance

EMBO Fellows are entitled to receive an additional allowance for dependent children under the age of 18. The value of the allowance depends on the country being visited.

See the stipend rate sheet for further information.

 

Parental leave

Fellows whose children were born during their fellowship are entitled to three months paid parental leave. Fellows who take parental leave during the fellowship are entitled to an extension of their fellowship for an equivalent period. This extension has to be requested by the host supervisor at the end of the fellowship. Parental leave has to begin within six months of the birth of a child.

Fellows must inform the EMBO Fellowship Office of their intention to take parental leave.

 

Part-time work

For childcare it is possible to work part-time (50% or 75% of full time) during the fellowship.

Please note: The maximum fellowship duration (full-time plus part-time) must not exceed 36 months.

 

Eligibility

 

Main eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must hold a doctorate degree or equivalent at the start of the fellowship.
  • Applicants who already hold a PhD at the time of application are eligible to apply only if they obtained it during the two years prior to the date the application is complete.
  • Applicants must have at least one first author publication accepted in or published in an international peer reviewed journal at the time of application.
  • All applications must involve movement between countries (detailed information about mobility requirements is listed in the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines).
  • Applications to go to the country in which the PhD was obtained will not be considered.
  • Applications to return to a laboratory where the candidate has worked in the past for more than six months, either in one or in several visits will not be considered.
  • Applications for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship to be held in the laboratory, institute or department in which the candidate worked to obtain the PhD, or to work again with the candidate's supervisor, no matter where the latter is located, will not be considered.
  • Candidates who have already started working in the host laboratory can apply only if they have been working in the host laboratory for less than six months at the time the application is complete.
  • Candidates can only submit one application for one project at one host laboratory at each round of selection.
  • Reapplication is permissible only once.

For detailed eligibility criteria, carefully read the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines.

 

 

Application

 

Applications and supporting documentation (two references, receiving institute acceptance) are only accepted via the online application system.

 

Carefully read the FAQs and the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines before applying.

 

There are NO APPLICATION DEADLINES for EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships. 

 

No application can be completed without all the information required, including the two reference letters and the acceptance letter from the receiving institute.

 

The date, according to Central European (summer) Time (CE(S)T), in which the candidates confirm that their application is complete, is the reference date for eligibility and evaluation.

 

There are TWO ANNUAL EVALUATION DEADLINES for EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships:

 

Second Friday of February, 14:00 Central European Time: First evaluation deadline. Complete applications up to this deadline will enter the evaluation process. Results for this round will be announced at the end of May or beginning of June.

 

Second Friday of August, 14:00 Central European Summer Time: Second evaluation deadline. Complete applications up to this deadline will enter the evaluation process. Results for this round will be announced at the end of November or beginning of December.

 

Please note: Registration for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship online application account is not sufficient to enter the corresponding evaluation round. An application is only regarded as complete once all the required information is submitted AND the candidate confirms completion. Applications completed after 14:00 CET on the day of the deadline will enter the next evaluation round. No exceptions will be made.

 

 

Selection

 

All applications are initially reviewed by the EMBO Fellowships Office to ensure that they are complete and eligible.

 

All eligible applications are then sent to the Fellowship Committee for pre-screening and about twice the number of available fellowships are selected for an interview (~30% of applications). During the pre-screening, the Committee reviews a condensed application form, which includes a summary of the applicant’s main scientific achievements along with the three most important publications, summary and biological significance of the proposed work, justification for choice of the host lab, as well as reference and acceptance letters.

 

For applicants who successfully passed the pre-screening, an interviewer, who is an expert in the area of the application, will be selected from among the EMBO Members and EMBO Young Investigators. When it is not possible to arrange a personal or video interview, the candidate's application is sent for written evaluation.

 

All applications are then evaluated by the Fellowship Committee based on:

  • Previous scientific achievements of the applicant.
  • Novelty and biological significance of proposed research. Applications to continue exploring a topic similar to the PhD project, usually receive lower priority for funding.
  • Appropriateness of the host laboratory for the proposed research and training of the applicant.

The Fellowship Committee then meets to take the final funding decisions. Typically the outcome of the selection is known between 14 to 16 weeks after the evaluation deadline and is provided on the EMBO website www.embo.org shortly after the committee meeting.

 

Carefully read the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships guidelines for further information.


Note the following when submitting your EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship application:

Interviews normally take place within 6 to 10 weeks of the evaluation deadline. The interview may take place outside the applicant's country of residence; therefore, applicants must have a valid passport. Candidates* may be requested to give a seminar as part of the interview procedure. The interview should take place at the interviewer's convenience and the applicant is responsible for contacting the interviewer.

 

Interview travel expenses will be reimbursed by EMBO. A claim form together with receipts has to be returned to the EMBO Fellowship Office.

 

Candidates are expected to travel by the less expensive means of transportation, avoiding air travel when reasonably possible. Subsistence and accommodation expenses are refunded up to the EMBO standard daily rate.

 

 

 

Research Integrity

 

EMBO expects responsible conduct of research from its awardees. All the research activities carried out with the support of an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship shall be in compliance with fundamental ethical and research integrity principles. In line with our commitment with these principles, we require all EMBO Postdoctoral Fellows to complete an online course on research integrity.

 

 

 

FAQs

 

What is the scientific scope of EMBO?

EMBO funds basic research in the (molecular) life sciences. Information on the EMBO subject areas is available on our website at: http://www.embo.org/about-embo/subject-areas Please contact the EMBO Fellowship Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if in doubt whether your proposal falls within our scope.

 

Are there any age restrictions?

There are no age restrictions. 

 

I am not a national from an EMBC Member State. Can I apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship?

Yes, but only if you apply to go to a host lab in one of the EMBC Member States.

 

I am a national from an EMBC Associate Member State. Can I apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship?

Yes, but only if you apply to go to a host lab in one of the EMBC Member States or Associate member State.

 

I am not a national from an EMBC Member State, but I have a PhD from an institution in an EMBC Member State. Can I apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship in a Non-Member State?

No, you are not eligible.

 

My nationality/one of my nationalities is from an EMBC Member State, but I have studied and earned a PhD in a Non-EMBC Member State. Can I apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship in another Non-Member State?

No, applicants need to be EMBC Member State nationals and need to have a PhD from an institution within one of the EMBC Member States in order to be eligible to apply for the fellowship to work in a Non-Member State.

 

Which are the EMBC Member States?

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom.

 

Which are the EMBC Associate Member States and countries/territories covered under a cooperation agreement?

India, Singapore, Chile and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan.

 

I have a medical degree (M.D.). Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship provided you have appropriate research experience, i.e. comparable to PhD. Please contact the Fellowship Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) prior to submission.

 

I received my PhD officially from Spain, but spent the entirety of my working for this in Germany. May I apply to go to a lab in Spain?

Yes, if you can clearly show that you spent the full duration working in Germany then you are eligible to apply to go to Spain.

 

I received my PhD officially from Spain but spent the entirety of my working for this in Germany. May I apply to go to a lab in Germany?

No. Germany would be considered as the country you normally work in and therefore continuing to work in Germany would violate the mobility requirement.

 

I have performed work for my PhD in more than one country. I worked in both France and Belgium. Am I eligible to apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship in France or Belgium?

Please contact the Fellowship Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to determine your eligibility.

 

Can I move from one laboratory to another within the same country? 

You may do so only in case you have not been working in the host country for more than six months at the time the application is complete.

 

I worked in the host country for 14 months after completion of my PhD, then for two months in another country. Can I apply for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship to go back to the host country?

No, your application will not be considered.

 

Can I apply more than once for an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship?

Reapplication is allowed once irrespective of a change of project or host laboratory. You can apply two times in total, provided that all eligibility criteria are met each time. A submission is counted as an application once receipt has been acknowledged and a reference number has been assigned.

 

Can I apply for other fellowships at the same time as I apply for the EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship?

Yes, but as soon as you accept another fellowship you need to inform the EMBO Fellowship Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please mention any other fellowship you are applying or planning to apply for in the online application form. This information is important to us for statistical purposes, but has no influence on the evaluation process and outcome.

 

I have collaborated with the host supervisor before and we have co-published. Am I eligible to apply?

Please contact the Fellowship Office ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to determine your eligibility.

 

Can I apply with a project that involves collaboration between several labs?

As an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow, you can only have one official host lab and one official host supervisor. You can apply with a research proposal that requires collaboration with other laboratories, but you have to choose one main supervisor. You should describe the planned collaboration(s) within the research proposal. 

 

Is it possible to add figures or tables in my application?

No, neither figures nor any special formatting is possible in the application system.

 

My application has been rejected. Can I receive feedback?

We do not have comments from the committee and therefore cannot provide individual feedback.

 

Are journal impact factors or journal name taken into account when evaluating applications?

Journal impact factors are not used in the evaluation and selection of applications and should not be mentioned in the publication list. EMBO encourages evaluation of the quality of the scientific work and its impact on the field, rather than the journal in which it was published.

 

What are my chances of success?

We receive on average 600 applications per evaluation deadline. The success rate is around 15%. 

 

Do I have to pay tax on my EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship?

If you receive an EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship in an EMBC Member State, you will be working under an employment contract from your host institution. Taxes will be deducted from your salary according to national and local regulations. If your host institution is located outside EMBC Member States, you will receive a stipend from EMBO. Whether you will have to pay taxes on the stipend received or not depends on the destination country. In either case, EMBO cannot advise on national tax regulations and we strongly recommend fellows to contact the relevant authorities in the host country if they have any questions.

 

Can I work on a stipend at the receiving institute? 

EMBO provides grants for the host institution to issue a contract in EMBC Member States. Working on a stipend is not a possibility in these countries.

 

Outside EMBC Member States, while some institutions/countries may require their fellows to work on contracts, EMBO will only provide a stipend. Please find out with your future supervisor what the conditions are before you apply. Please contact us in case you foresee any potential issues.

 

I am currently a holder of an EMBO Long Term Fellowship. Can I convert this stipend-based fellowship into a contract under the updated EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme? 

No. EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded to applicants entering the Spring 2020 call. The evaluation process of these applications will start on 14 February 2020 at 14:00 CET, and the first EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships will be awarded in early June 2020. All previous awardees will keep receiving stipends as EMBO Long-Term Fellowship holders.

 

Do EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships cover bench fees, overheads, funds for consumables or any other financial benefits to the host supervisor/the receiving institute?

EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships do not provide any of the above.

 

Do EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship provide travel allowances to its fellows to attend meetings, conferences or workshops?

EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships do not offer any travel grants for fellowship holders.

 

Can I contact current EMBO Fellows or alumni?

Due to data protection and privacy reasons, we cannot provide contact details of EMBO Fellows. Successful applicants are listed in the annual EMBO Facts & Figures brochure which is available on our website at

EMBO Facts & Figures 2018

 

Deadlines

Applications accepted throughout the year

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Contact

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David del Álamo Rodríguez

David del Álamo Rodríguez
 Programme Head
 T. + 49 6221 8891 122

 

 

Inga Strazda

Inga Strazda
Postdoctoral & Advanced Fellowships Specialist
T. + 49 6221 8891 561

 

Ingrid Busby

Ingrid Busby
Short-Term Fellowships Officer
T. + 49 6221 8891 409

 

Benardine Ngu

Benardine Ngu
Finance & Fellowships Officer
T. + 49 6221 8891 107

 

Larisa Bulgatova

Larisa Bulgatova
Fellowships Officer
T. + 49 6221 8891 551