FAQ: International Senior Fellowship Programme (June 2023)

FAQ: International Senior Fellowship Programme (June 2023)

What is the College for Social Sciences and Humanities?

The College for Social Sciences and Humanities is a joint research institution of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Ruhr University Bochum and the TU Dortmund University. Based in Essen/Germany and designed as a new Institute for Advanced Study for the social sciences and the humanities, the College was founded in 2021 under the umbrella of the Research Alliance of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr), a cross-university research initiative that has been promoting the Ruhr region as an excellent location for cutting-edge science in the national and international academic landscape since 2007.

What is the mission of the College?

The mission of the College is to foster top-level research in the social sciences and the humanities within the UA Ruhr. Moreover, the College strives to enhance the international visibility and networks of the UA Ruhr in the social sciences and humanities. To achieve these goals, the College hosts interdisciplinary research professorships and junior research groups as well as the International Senior Fellowship Programme. This programme facilitates collaborations between outstanding international visiting fellows and scholars from the UA Ruhr through tandem partnerships.

Who can apply for a Senior Fellowship?

The International Senior Fellowship Programme addresses advanced and highly established senior researchers (preferably R4 level) who are active members of a foreign university/research institution. Eligible candidates should have an outstanding and internationally recognised research profile in the social sciences and/or the humanities. Furthermore, applicants must have completed their doctorate at least six years prior to their application and express their intention to utilise the fellowship for a tandem partnership with a member of the UA Ruhr.

German citizens may apply for a Senior Fellowship provided that they are active members of a foreign university/research institution and meet the other criteria mentioned above.

Candidates whose application for a Senior Fellowship has been declined are generally able to reapply.

Who can function as a tandem partner?

Tandem partnerships can be established with advanced, highly experienced senior researchers (at least R3 level) from one of the three member universities of the UA Ruhr (i.e., University of Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr University Bochum, TU Dortmund University) working in the field of the social sciences and/or the humanities.

UA Ruhr members whose application for a tandem partnership with an international senior fellow has been declined are generally able to reapply. This possibility applies to intended tandem partnerships both in identical and in other constellations.

In general, members of the UA Ruhr in the social sciences and humanities are welcome to contact the office of the College at any time with proposals for potential international senior fellows.

What is the duration of a Senior Fellowship?

Fellows generally receive funding for six months.

When and how often will the College publish a call for application?

The College normally publishes a call for application once a year in spring. Fellowships may be awarded to up to 20 senior fellows, with ten fellowships starting in spring (March) and the other ten starting in autumn (September).

When can fellowships be started?

Fellowships, as well as the corresponding tandem partnerships, usually start on 1 March for the spring cohort and on 1 September for the autumn cohort.

Which funding options does the College offer?

Depending on the senior fellow’s individual situation, the College is able to offer the following funding options:

  • Fellows who are granted leave of absence with continued payment of their salary from their home institution will receive a general allowance of € 3,050 per month (pre-tax), a family allowance of € 250 per month (if applicable) and a mobility allowance of € 125 per month to cover relocation costs.
  • Fellows who are granted leave of absence without continued payment of their salary from their home institution can be funded by means of a compensation agreement within reasonable limits (usually equivalent to a W3 professorship with approximately € 7,100 pre-tax per month). Alternatively, fellows may receive a monthly grant of € 5,000 (pre-tax).
  • If necessary, the College may also cover, within reasonable limits, the costs for a substitute of the fellow at the home institution.

Applicants are requested to indicate the preferred funding option when submitting their application.

Fellows receiving a grant should be aware of the fact that full and compensatory grants are exempt from social security contributions in Germany. In many cases, remunerations by means of grants may incur tax liabilities. In these cases, fellows must file tax declarations. Whether the grant is subject to taxation in Germany can be checked upon request by the administration of the College. In any case, fellows bear full responsibility for ensuring proper taxation of their income.

What can senior fellows expect from the College?

All senior fellows will receive a fellowship contract and will be provided with a dedicated office space on the premises of the College for Social Sciences and Humanities. The facilities available include well-equipped meeting and conference rooms with modern technology, enabling the organisation of (hybrid) events such as workshops, lectures, and conferences. Additionally, individual IT support and access to a personal library service will be provided. A professional fellow management will also offer further support.
To support research collaborations between international senior fellows and their tandem partners, each fellowship includes an individual budget of € 7,500 max. (€ 1,250 per month) for joint workshops, conferences, publications, etc.
Along with the College’s fellow management, the tandem partners provide individual support for the integration of the international senior fellows into the academic landscape of the UA Ruhr and beyond. A professional event management team will provide further support in regard to the organisation and implementation of academic events.

Fellows with children will be offered support in finding accommodation, schools and childcare. Moreover, costs for one-time travel to and from the College will be reimbursed in accordance with the guidelines of the State Travel Act of North Rhine-Westphalia. Visa costs will be reimbursed entirely. Costs for accommodation, health insurance, childcare, and school fees need to be covered by the Fellows.

What does the College expect from its senior fellows?

In addition to working on the research project related to their fellowship, the College addresses the following expectations to its senior fellows:

  • on-site attendance on at least three days per week (Tue.-Thu.)
  • active participation in the weekly colloquium (Wed.)
  • willingness to attend and contribute to other formats and events (e.g., reading groups, workshops, lectures, network events)
  • implementation of at least one specific (sub-)project during the period of the fellowship (e.g., conference, workshop, evening lecture, seminar)
  • organisation of project-related events (e.g., conferences, workshops, panels) in the premises of the College
  • regular visits of the tandem partner’s home institution (e.g., on the basis of guest lectures or joint seminars)
  • reference to the College in talks and publications related to the fellowship (also after the duration of the residency)

Long-term absences are to be coordinated with the Director of the College.

All fellows are expected to follow the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice outlined by the German Research Foundation.

The working language of the College is English, knowledge of German is not mandatory.

Which criteria are crucial in the selection of international senior fellows?

The selection of new international senior fellows will be based on the following prime criteria:

  • academic excellence of the applicant’s research profile (proven, in particular, by high-level publications with significant resonance in the relevant scientific community)
  • collaborative character of the project that the applicant intends to work on with the tandem partner during the residency
  • academic quality and originality of the project and its objectives
  • realistic possibility of a successful implementation of the project and its objectives
  • potential for innovation for the social sciences and the humanities within the UA Ruhr
  • potential for follow-up activities with the tandem partners and/or the UA Ruhr

In addition to these criteria, the selection committee will ensure a balanced representation of the academic disciplines and institutions relevant for the College within the UA Ruhr as well as of the applicant’s home institutions abroad.

How can suitable candidates apply for a Senior Fellowship?

Applications for Senior Fellowships are possible via an application form available on the website of the UA Ruhr.

Applications must include information on the following aspects:

  • general information on the applicant’s name and home institution, the starting date and preferred form of remuneration for the fellowship, the topic and the intended outcome of the planned research project and the name of the applicant’s potential tandem partner from the UA Ruhr
  • an outline of the project (10,000 characters max. including blanks) which entails a brief description of the intended character and desired outcome of the collaboration with the tandem partner (e.g., lecture, seminar, workshop, article/book chapter, grant proposal)
  • CV (incl. a list of the applicant’s five most important publications)

Applicants are required to include a letter of intent as part of their application in which the potential tandem partner confirms their commitment to collaborate with the applicant throughout the fellowship. Once the fellowship is granted by the College, successful applicants are requested to submit a written confirmation of leave of absence from their home institutions.

In general, fellowships cannot be commenced until a fellowship contract has been signed by all relevant parties. In the case of compensation payments for the personal salary of the fellow or the fellow’s substitute, a corresponding compensation agreement must be signed by all relevant parties prior to the commencement of the fellowship.

Who is part of the selection committee?

The selection of international senior fellows and their corresponding tandem partners is conducted by the Scientific Board Members  of the College.

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