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Becoming part of the GRK 2638

Below we have provided information regarding the application process.

We will be calling for applications to fill 14 doctoral positions (TVL-13 65%, for 3 years) and 2 postdoc positions (TVL-13 100%, for 4.5 years). The call will be open from 15 March until 4 May.

The application portal is open and is to be found here:


Applicants are asked to propose a research project that matches the thematic scope of the GRK. The application may be submitted in either English or German. It should outline your project’s theoretical approach, its interdisciplinary compatibility, and its feasibility. Postdoctoral applications should not only demonstrate the interdisciplinary compatibility of the project, but also its intrinsic interdisciplinary character.

You will need to provide the following:

  1. Evidence that you have obtained a degree in one of the disciplines included in the GRK. Applicants at the doctoral stage should submit their BA and MA certificates (or equivalents) and include the transcripts of records. Postdoctoral applicants should submit the beforementioned certificates plus their doctoral degree certificate (or equivalent).
  2. Curriculum vitae in tabular form
  3. A statement of motivation (maximum: 3 pages, 1.5 line spacing) that describes how you plan to contribute to the group and how your proposed project will fit into its research agenda and areas of investigation. Please indicate which of the principal investigators you would like to have as a supervisor.
  4. A thesis proposal with a project timetable (maximum: 10 pages, 1.5 line spacing), and a bibliography. The bibliography is not included as part of the 10-page limit.
  5. A reference from a university professor or lecturer that details your academic ability and potential. Due to confidentiality reasons, the reference needs to be uploaded by the referee in the application portal upon our request.
  6. Doctoral degree applicants should submit a sample of their work (maximum: 25 pages), such as a chapter of their MA thesis, a paper (published or forthcoming), or a work-in-progress chapter of their doctoral dissertation.
    Postdoctoral applicants should submit a copy of their doctoral dissertation.
  7. Applicants from universities outside of Germany must provide proof of German language proficiency equivalent to at least DSH 1/TestDaF 3.

The documents need to be uploaded to the Dahlem Research School application portal. This application portal will be accessible immediately following the kick-off event which takes place on 15th March, 2021.

Candidates are selected according to a two-step process.

First, applications are reviewed by two of the principal investigators of the GRK – one PI is an expert in the field of the applicant’s research topic, while the other is an expert in a different field. This procedure helps us to guarantee the interdisciplinary compatibility or character of the project. Applications submitted by candidates who completed their prior qualification with one of the PIs in the research training group will be reviewed by a different PI. The supervisor of the prior qualification can serve as a referee, whom we are supposed to ask for a letter of recommendation.

Second, based on the outcome of the PIs’ assessments, the interdisciplinary selection committee will invite shortlisted candidates for a video interview by the end of June. The interviews will be held online in order to ensure a fair selection process across the board for all applicants, whether they are based in Berlin, in Germany, or abroad. The interviews will be concluded by mid-July.

The candidates are then ranked by the selection committee according to the PIs’ assessments and impressions gained from the interviews. The selected candidates will be informed by the end of July at the latest and will start their positions from October 1, 2021.

The Agreement on Doctorate Supervision ("Betreuungsvereinbarung") will be granted by accepting the applicant to the GRK. It is not necessary to have the Agreement on Supervision by the PI at hand to start the application. Docs will be enrolled and employed at the university of their primary supervisor.

FAQ Application

The GRK 2638 is specifically designed to foster a bilingual research environment. German and English will be treated as equal languages for the purposes of academic exchange.

Thus, all applicants must be able to understand both English and German at least passively at an academic level. In addition, they must also be able to actively participate in the discussions of the GRK 2638 in one of the two languages.

All certificates that prove that the applicant speaks German at a level of at least B1 will be accepted. This includes certificates issued directly by a university and qualifications obtained at German-speaking schools. A study visit to Germany is sufficient if it included an examination.

COVID-19: If the pandemic situation does not allow you to complete your examination soon, please outline in your application when you think you will be able to submit the language certificate.

It is possible to submit work samples in French. Nevertheless, English or German work samples are preferred. But all three languages will be judged equally for the purposes of the work sample.

It will not be possible to write dissertation projects in French. All doctoral theses at the GRK 2638 must be written in either German or English.

When applying for a doctoral position, proof must be provided that the MA degree will be finished by October 1, 2021. When applying for a post-doc position, the same holds for the applicant’s doctoral status. If the relevant qualification has not yet been obtained, applicants should provide a precise schedule showing when the qualification will be completed. All applicants should be aware that the review of applications requires that they submit a systematically well-thought-out research project.

No, an agreement on Doctorate Supervision with one of the PIs is not required at the time of application. Supervision commitments will generally only be agreed upon after the applicant is accepted to the GRK. Nevertheless, applicants should state their preferred PIs in the application.

No, applicants do not necessarily have to have degrees in one of the disciplines represented in the GRK 2638. However, it is important that previous academic performance be clearly aligned with the work of the PIs at the GRK 2638. Proposed research projects should mesh well with the GRK 2638’s research programme by evidencing a strong theoretical focus. It should be clearly recognizable that the project corresponds to the thematic framework of the GRK 2638 and that the PIs are able to supervise the submitted topics. Dissertation projects must fit within the disciplines represented in the GRK 2638

So long as the applicant has the relevant qualifications, there is no limitation on how many years ago the qualifying degree was completed or how many university semesters the applicant has taken courses. If you are applying to the GRK 2638 and have not worked in academia for some time, it is advisable to include a statement on your professional career in your application.

The unifying element of the disciplines represented in the GRK 2638, as well as the basis of all research projects, is an intensive focus on theory. Applicants who have most recently worked in practically oriented professional fields should discuss their interest on the GRK 2638’s theoretical focus. Additionally, applicants should make clear that they are engaged with contemporary discourse on the research fields within the GRK 2638 that they intend to work on.

An excerpt from the master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation, essays or articles that have been published, or a chapter from a published book are all acceptable work samples. In essence, the work sample is supposed to demonstrate the applicant’s research skills and working style. Select your text with the aim of providing an idea of your research personality. Applicants for post-doc positions should submit their doctoral thesis.

In principle, any person who works as a lecturer at a university can write a reference letter. If an applicant did the prior qualification with one of the GRK’s PIs it is possible to ask him or her for the reference letter as they will not assess the application during the internal review process. The reference letter could also come from the applicant’s current thesis supervisor. If you have already started the project that you intend to work on at the GRK with a supervisor outside the GRK, then please note this and provide evidence of support from your former supervisor.

Recommended Procedure

After saving and submitting your application in our online portal, the online system will request a reference from the referee. We kindly ask you to check yourself whether your referee has uploaded the reference letter to the application portal. Please access your application account and click on the small flag in the upper left corner of the screen. If you see a small checkmark, the reference letter has successfully been uploaded. A watch indicates that we have not received your reference letter.

Please get in touch with the respective reviewer if no letter was uploaded until 03 May 2021. The deadline for delayed submission of reference letters is 10 Mai 2021. Due to fairness reasons, applications without reference letters will not be considered after this date. We recommend to communicate the refereees the 3rd of May as to when they upload their letter.

Yes, this is possible. But acceptance to the GRK requires that you ask one of the GRK’s PIs to become your primary supervisor. If accepted, your current supervisor can act as second supervisor. Please ask your current (and, if accepted, former) supervisor to articulate their support for the change in their reference letter.

Secondly, it is possible to apply for an associate position at the GRK 2638. An association means that the researcher would receive non-material support through being allowed to participate in the scientific programme of the GRK. These associate positions are not advertised separately. If you are interested in one of these positions, please state this clearly in your application.

In principle, applicants should evidence that they will be able to write their doctoral thesis within the period of three years. Therefore, they should submit a clearly structured schedule that identifies the steps on the path to completion. In order to be able to write the doctoral thesis within three years, the project must already be coherently outlined and systematically thought out.

No. We will organize a guest program for collaboration on joint workshops, talks, and conferences.

Yes. All applicants for the GRK 2638 may also apply to other scholarships and job advertisements at the same time. A combination though of a staff position with us and a scholarship is not possible.

A general answer is only possible to a limited extent here. The thesis proposal should describe the proposed project and should demonstrate that the applicant is able to submit well-developed research proposals.

Basically, the thesis proposal should make the applicant’s research question clear and outline the steps that are necessary to answer it. It should also make clear which theoretical problems the research project addresses and which academic discourses it engages with. Furthermore, applicants should detail why the submitted question should be investigated in an academic text.

The postdoc positions are designed for 4.5 years in order to enable researchers to complete a habilitation thesis or its equivalent. In addition, the postdocs should establish continuity between the individual cohorts of doctoral students. The role of the postdocs in the GRK 2638 will be to support the doctoral students and assist them with their projects. They will also be responsible for structuring and supervising the collaborative work of the GRK 2638 and will play an important role in shaping the scientific programme. The postdocs should also organize writing workshops, reading circles, and other small events. To this end, postdoctoral applicants should not only demonstrate the interdisciplinary compatibility of their project, but also its intrinsic interdisciplinary character.

In order to participate in the GRK 2638, permanent residence in Berlin for the duration of the project will be required.