RWTH Junior Principal Investigator Fellowships


Doris Klee, Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development at © Copyright: Peter Winandy


Doris Klee

Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development


+49 241 80 90221



RWTH is now inviting excellent and experienced early career researchers to apply for 6 Junior Principal Investigator (JPI) fellowships. Support will be provided for a period of four years, with an optional fifth year. The program is designed to attract and support stellar researchers with international experience. Applications from women as well as others whose background and experience enrich the culture of the university are particularly encouraged.

The fellowships offer early-career high-potential researchers an exceptional opportunity to sharpen their research profile. The experience is designed to prepare them for success in highly competitive grant programs as well as to enhance their career prospects of becoming a professor.

  • JPIs will have the chance to develop a T-shaped profile, build strong networks, shape emerging fields and produce high-impact publications.
  • JPIs are expected to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the University’s Profile Areas and strategic alliances.
  • JPIs are expected to help foster new interdisciplinary collaborations.

Although the fellowships are awarded based on an open call for proposals, JPIs will be associated with a specific RWTH institution or Profile Area and are expected to establish a strong presence there.


Eligible Individuals

  • must have completed their doctoral degree within the last three years
  • must have a strong academic record including publications in peer-reviewed journals, invited lectures, conference presentations and research awards
  • should have at least two years of research experience outside of Germany
  • must have identified a host institution or Profile Area at RWTH. Contact information for the Profile Areas can be found at RWTH Profile Areas.

What We Offer

  • Successful candidates will be employed as junior research group leaders (full position, pay grade TV-L 14)
  • Additional funding for one full-time doctoral candidate and a research budget for consumables
  • Opportunity to supervise doctoral candidates
  • Mentoring and career development support through the University’s Advanced Talents program offered by the RWTH Center for Young Academics
  • Access to the shared cutting-edge research infrastructure in the Profile Area
  • General RWTH services including access to child care and other resources offered by the Family Services Center.


The fellowship will be awarded for a period of four years, with an optional fifth year.


To apply for the 2020 JPI Fellowship Program, you need to submit the following:

  1. A cover letter, including a statement explaining what makes your research unique and stimulating (max. 1 page)
  2. An outline of your research proposal (max. 4 pages, excluding references). This should describe the main idea behind your research, the methods you intend to use, the potential impact of your research on both your field and others, as well as the importance and societal relevance of your
  3. CV (max. 4 pages)
  4. A copy of doctoral degree certificate (and, for languages other than English or German, a certified translation of the doctoral certificate)
  5. Copies of other degrees certificates (e.g. B.A./B.Sc./M.A./M.Sc.)
  6. A list of publications including copies of your top five academic papers
  7. Contact information for references

How to Apply

The application process opens December 16, 2019. Please submit your application, preferably in the form of a single PDF file.

Please submit your completed application to

ERS Exploratory Research Space
Call: Junior Principal Investigator Fellowships 2020

If you experience problems uploading your documents on the ERS website please send us your application with all your contact details by email instead.

The deadline for applications is February 26, 2020 at 11:59pm (CET).
Please read the requirements and instructions carefully before applying.



All proposals meeting the formal requirements will be evaluated by the Rectorate, selected RWTH faculty members and external reviewers. Short-listed candidates will be invited for on-site interviews and to give a presentation at a symposium hosted in May 2020 at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

The timeline is as follows:

  • December 16, 2019 to February 26, 2020: Applications can be submitted via the ERS online portal.
    Call: Junior Principal Investigator Fellowships 2020
  • May 4, 2020: Decisions on the next stage of interviews will be sent out
  • End of May 2020: Interviews are expected to take place at the end of May and final decisions made so that fellowships can begin in July 2020
  • July 2020: Start of fellowships