Application FAQs


Please find frequently asked questions to the application process here:


Application FAQs

What do I need to know about a Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research” fellowship?

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research” is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). It is an international centre for advanced studies. The center is located at the RWTH Aachen University. The goal of the center is to strengthen the link between history, philosophy, and sociology of science and technology with science and technology studies (STS) on the one side and with science and engineering on the other side. Fellows are expected to be in residence in Aachen for the entirety of their fellowship; the centre does not fund archival or field research trips.

The international center awards grants to scholars from all around the world and of varying disciplines. The fellowships are usually awarded for twelve months. Fellowships are very competitive and will be reviewed by the international scientific board. Fellows are selected based on the strength of their proposal. Other factors are also taken into account, as we aim for a diverse group in terms of disciplines, nationalities, and gender.

What is the application deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year?

The deadline for applications is December 31, 2021.

Who is eligible to apply to the program?

Applicants must have a completed PhD degree with above average grades in one of the participating disciplines. We particularly encourage interdisciplinary proposals. The only exception to this rule are for those submitting exceptional projects.

What do I need to include in my application?

Submissions should include a letter of motivation (400 words max.), a short CV (max. 2 pages), a project proposal (max. 1800 words, including abstract and timeline), certified copy of your university PhD degree, one recent publication (e. g. peer-reviewed article, book chapter). The application should be written in English. Please make sure to send all documents and certificates electronically as a single pdf file (up to 8 MB) to

Is it still possible to consider my application after the deadline?

No. We regret that we cannot consider any applications received after the deadline.

When will I be notified whether my application was successful?

The top candidates are selected by the scientific board based on the strength of their applications and will be invited to an interview. All applicants are informed via email as soon as a decision has been made, which will be no later than July 2021.

What are the main criteria for a successful application?

We judge almost exclusively on the strength of the project description. A successful project will very clearly correlate with one of the themes announced in the call. It will also be innovative and new; finally, it will be well-written. Fellows will be elected by the scientific board of the international center.

I’m interested in an interdisciplinary fellowship. Can you suggest possible partners at RWTH and the Research Center Julich?

Yes, we can facilitate these contacts. However, you can also develop your own contacts at RWTH and the Research Center Julich; our websites are a good place to start for finding affiliated faculty. Please note that when applying for an interdisciplinary fellowship with a RWTH and/or and the Research Center Julich counterpart, you will need to provide a letter of support from this colleague.

Who should I address my cover letter to?

You may address your cover letter to the selection committee or to both directors, Gabriele Gramelsberger and Stefan Böschen.

What kind of references should I provide? What is required of my referees?

We ask you to list three scholars who know you and your work well. These can be current or former colleagues or advisors. We only ask for contact information of your referees; they do not need to provide letters during the application process. In some cases, we will contact your referees when choosing successful candidates. However, we often take candidates without contacting their referees.

I am applying with someone else. How do we submit our application?

If applying with more than one person (maximum two) for a joint fellowship, each applicant should create their own profile and upload the same cover letter. All members of the group should also include the same project description, research schedule, and references. Each applicant includes their own CV.

Can I submit my application via email?

Yes. Please notice that on the final day for submissions, many people are trying to submit and this can cause problems. We strongly advise people to submit their applications before the final day.

How much funding should a fellow expect?

Fellows will join the international centre usually for a period of twelve months eligible for a full stipend or contract buy-out. The fellowships provide a full grant commensurating with the applicants’ level of professional experience, working space in fully equipped offices, logistic support, and access to the interdisciplinary research landscape as well as research labs at the RWTH Aachen University. Fellows who take unpaid leave during their fellowship will receive financial compensation in form of a stipend. Alternatively, the centre pays for a teaching replacement at the fellow’s home institution. We individually negotiate stipend amounts with you and financial compensation with your home institution.

The fellowship grant covers your rent and costs of living. No additional funding is available through our university. It may serve as a point of orientation that the gross annual salary of a chair at a Nordrhein-Westfalen university averages 87,000 euros, that of a tenure-track junior professor (with one or two book publications) is ca. 72,000 euros, and that of a lecturer/assistant professor is ca. 60,000 euros per annum. Please note that these are the gross salaries and 40–50 percent of these wages are deducted for taxes, social security, and health insurance—all of which the Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research” is not allowed to pay in a stipend. However, stipends are usually tax-free in Germany. However, this depends on the amount of the granted stipend.

Important to consider in your financial plans is the cost of accommodation: furnished accommodation in Aachen is usually around 500 to 800 euros for a studio apartment and up to 1,000 euros and more for a two-bedroom apartment. There are many attractive neighborhoods in the city and public transport is excellent. With regards to further costs, grocery shopping is relatively inexpensive in Germany and costs range between 400–800 euros per month, depending on the number of people in the household. Public transportation is also quite reasonable—a monthly ticket costs about 60 euros.

How can I find accommodation at Aachen?

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research” offers help for finding accommodation. It has an agreement with milestone offering fully-furnished student and guest apartments (including WLAN, heating, electricity, etc.) in a recently renovated cloister close to the centre of Aachen. However, fellows have to rent the apartment by their own. Further information can be found at the website of the location.

How is living in Aachen?

Aachen is a lively city with more than 50,000 students. It is the westernmost city in Germany directly at the boarder to Belgium and The Netherlands. It is known as medieval Imperial residence of Emperor Charlemagne of the Frankish Empire. It takes 1 hour by train to Liège, Maastricht, Brussels, Cologne and Dusseldorf, 2 hours to Frankfurt, 2.5 hours to Paris and Amsterdam, and 4 hours to London. The Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research” is located 5 minutes by foot to Aachen central station. The nearest international airports are at Maastricht, Dusseldorf, Cologne-Bonn, and Frankfurt.

Do I need a visa?

When you come from a member state of the European Union you don’t need a visa. Fellows from non-EU countries have to apply for a visa. We will provide you with all information and an official invitation/contract when you have been appointed as a fellow. You can find further information on visa regulations at the German Foreign Ministry’s webpage.

How are my data processed and protected?

Handling application data for employment
Personal data of applicants are collected and processed to properly conduct and complete an application procedure based on finding the most suitable applicant and the possibly ensuing fellowship. Processing this data is based on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Informationsfreiheitsgesetz Nordrhein-Westfalen - IFG (North Rhine-Westphalian Data Protection and Freedom of Information Act).

The collected application data will be saved for as long as necessary subject to relevant retention periods for completing certain tasks and, if necessary, also for meeting documentation duties. Every six months at the latest any transferred / provided data will be deleted if the application does not result in a fellowship.

Recipients of personal data (Art. 4 no. 9 GDPR)
Application data is transferred to:
- The department, the directorate, the services or unit where the applicant has applied for fellowship,
- The Directorate of Human Resources Management and Development,
- The staff council, the gender equality officer and as necessary the representative body for severely disabled persons and/or the representative body for youth and trainees to observe respective participation rights.

For further information on RWTH's Privacy Policy see here.

My question has not been answered here. Who can I contact?

If you have read through all of the FAQS, and still have a question that has not been answered, please send an email to Please note that this email address will only be checked during normal working hours in Aachen, and we may need a few days to get back to you.