Leibniz Junior Research Groups


The Leibniz Association connects 95 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services.

The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad.

They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 20,000 individuals, including 10,000 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.9 billion euros.


The Leibniz Association recruits promising postdoctoral candidates from Germany and abroad by offering them attractive working conditions: early independence, a first-rate research environment and excellent networking opportunities.

As a leader of a Leibniz Junior Research Group, postdoctoral researchers are given the opportunity to pursue their own research projects and establish themselves in their respective fields on the way to a full professorship or tenured position.

Successful candidates will receive funding of up to 1.7 million euros to set up a Junior Research Group over a period of five years. This may include personnel costs for the group leader, doctoral researchers and, in some cases, postdoctoral staff, as well as funds for equipment and facilities.

Applicants must have a track record of outstanding academic work in their field. They will be assessed on their academic performance, career status and future career prospects. The proposed scientific project will be judged according to its academic and methodological quality, prospects of success, originality and relevance.

The hosting Leibniz Institute must guarantee that the proposed Junior Research Group will be granted scientific independence.

In general, candidates should have obtained their doctorate no more than five years ago (Child-raising adjustment: add two years per child under the age of 12).

The Leibniz Association explicitly encourages applications from international candidates. German language skills are not required initially. Successful candidates are, however, encouraged to learn German and will be offered support in this area.

Candidates need the support of the Leibniz Institute of their choice in the application process. Interested researchers should therefore start by contacting their chosen Leibniz Institute. Applications are submitted to the Leibniz Headquarters by the director of the Leibniz Institute in question.

Please get in touch with the respective Leibniz Institute early enough to allow sufficient time for application procedures. For a list of all Leibniz Institutes and contact persons, please visit https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/about-us/leibniz-competition/best-minds/.

The Leibniz Institutes will inform the Leibniz Headquarters of their potential candidates for a Leibniz Junior Research Group by 27 March 2020 via an expression of interest. Full applications must be submitted by the Leibniz Institutes by 30 April 2020. Applications undergo an external peer review process and are evaluated by an interdisciplinary academic panel. Funded projects are scheduled to start on 1 January 2021.

Further information on the call for applications and application procedure can be found at: https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/about-us/leibniz-competition/leibniz-competition-2021/

Please also check our FAQs: https://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/en/about-us/leibniz-competition/leibniz-competition-2021/faq/

Leibniz Association
Dr Karin Effertz
Division Leibniz Competition
Email: bestminds@leibniz-association.eu
Chausseestraße 111, 10115 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 206049 39


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