PhD Scholarships

Background to the PhD Scholarships

In line with one of the founder’s wishes, a special focus of the Gerda Henkel Foundation is support for up-and-coming scholars. Special attention is made when approving grants to enable qualified young researchers of both sexes to conduct scientific work for a limited period of time and in order to improve their academic training. As part of its Ph.D. programme, the Foundation seeks to promote highly-qualified new academic talent. Only those candidates are considered whose study achievements and exam performances show them to be especially gifted and whose Ph.D. theses can be expected to yield well above-average results. At present, each year about 50 scholarships are awarded.

Application

Type and scope to the scholarship

Duration: 2 years

It is possible to apply for:

  • basic scholarship sum

if appropriate:

  • supplement for travel abroad (monthly endowment for stays of for weeks or more)
  • family grant award (for children who have not yet turned 18 under presentation of the child’s birth certificate)

and if required:

  • travel expenses
  • material expenses

Application documents

From now on, it is only possible to apply electronically for the general research grants. The necessary application documents can be uploaded in the electronic application form.

The following documents must be included in an application for a PhD scholarship (in German or English):

  • description of the research proposal (max. 8 pages)
    • plus bibliography if necessary (in addition to the max. 8 pages)
    • documents printed on one side only, at least font size 11 and line spacing 1.5.
  • time schedule and working plan with information about the necessary travel to archives, libraries and museums or other destinations required for the completion of the dissertation (max. 2 pages)
  • detailed cost calculation (estimates if need be) of the probable travel and material costs
    • no college or tuition fees
  • curriculum vitae in tabular form
  • certificate(s) of the university degree qualifying for PhD studies (generally Master certificate; for direct doctorates: seminar attendance certificates; please do not send Bachelor certificates). Please send us copies, references do not have to be attested.
  • two expert opinions which provide information on the applicant's qualifications and about the quality of the doctoral project:
    • the choice of the referees is up to the applicant
    • the second report needs not be compiled by the person who later acts as second examiner for the Ph.D. thesis
    • signed personally by the author and sent to the Gerda Henkel Foundation
    • signed version by email (scan with signature to gutachten@gerda-henkel-stiftung.de) or fax is accepted.

Please note that the Gerda Henkel Foundation will not contact any referees and the applicants are responsible for requesting the letters of recommendation themselves.


Please do not send the following information:

    • High School Leaving certificates
    • internship certificates
    • seminar grades (only required for direct PhDs)
    • employment references


Please note the following information:

  • Applications which are incomplete or too voluminous will not be given consideration. The same holds true for applications for which no expert opinion has been submitted.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered any more after the expiration of one year.
  • Proof of enrollment does not need to be produced.
  • We will acknowledge receipt of your application and we would ask you not to contact us by phone on this matter.


Please note the following application requirements:

  • Only applicants who are not older than 28 years at the time of concluding their master studies may be included in the selection process.
    • Example: If an applicant was aged 25 when graduating, then he or she can still apply to the Foundation for a Ph.D. scholarship when aged 35.
    • This age limit shall be extended to take the following situations into account: night school, bringing up children, military service, work experience and other exceptional circumstances.
    • It will not be possible to include the application in the selection process should there be no special reasons for graduation after the candidate turns 28.
  • For an application to be considered in the selection process the overall master grade awarded must be at least 1.5 or above in Germany (comparable with grade A in other countries). For candidates with a foreign degree, a special examination for inclusion in the selection process will be performed in the Foundation's office. The final grade achieved in legal exams also will likewise be assessed separately.
  • The Foundation will not grant scholarships for the completion of Ph.D. projects. A final scholarship is a grant that succeeds another grant exceeding 12 months and bestowed by a different party and/or the application for a scholarship not exceeding 12 months.

Please do not additionally send the documents by email or postal mail.

Payment

The simultaneous receipt of salary or retirement pension and a scholarship is not possible. The period of support for Foundation stipend holders working on Ph.D. can be extended by up to 12 months if the holder becomes a parent during the period covered by the stipend and has an entitlement to maternity or parental leave. Individual arrangements must be discussed with the Foundation’s administrative office.

Duration: 2 years

Monthly scholarship award: 1,600 euros

Foundation stipend holders working on Ph.D. or research projects with children, will receive a monthly family grant in addition to their scholarship. The family grant is awarded on presentation of the child’s birth certificate and disbursed for children who have not yet turned 18.

•    for one child: EUR 400
•    each further child: EUR 100

Monthly endowment for scholarships abroad: 400 euros

Travel aid: as required
Material aid: as required

Deadlines

Applications for PhD scholarships are considered throughout the year. Recipients of PhD scholarships will be selected four times a year. The review and approval process of a complete application is generally completed within six months.

The Foundation’s bodies will meet and decide on the present application at the earliest date possible. We will acknowledge receipt of your application and we would ask you not to contact us by phone on this matter.

Form

Electronic Application Form for the Foundation

1. Please complete the application form in full.

2. The application form can be saved at any time. You can return to and edit the form for a period of ten days. You can access the form via your own personal link. However, after this period(10 Days), your data will be deleted from the server.

3. Once you have completed the form, you will receive a short summary, which needs to be confirmed in order to be sent to the Foundation electronically.

4. During the transmission process your data will be sent to the Foundation in electronic form. Confirmation of receipt will be sent to the e-mail address provided in the application.


Please follow these rules when uploading your application files:

  • All documents need to be uploaded as pdf-files.
  • Please do not upload secured PDF documents.
  • A single file may not exceed a file size of 6 MB each.
  • You cannot upload more than one document per upload field.
  • The application can only be sent, if all necessary documents are included.


Please note the following additional information:

  • Your data will be stored by the Gerda Henkel Foundation for the purpose of processing your application and will not be passed on to third parties.
  • The Gerda Henkel Foundation will be happy to provide you with information about the data that we have stored on your person at any time. If so required, personal data can be changed or deleted.
  • This form may only be used to make an application to the Gerda Henkel Foundation. The Foundation reserves the right to delete application data without prior notification, if necessary.

Publishing Aid

Publishing aid is currently only awarded to especially successful Gerda Henkel Foundation scholars. Please include the following documents:

  • two-page summary of the academic merit and innovativeness of the monograph/collection
  • cost calculation by the publishing house
  • manuscript on which the calculations have been made (digital)
  • copy of the (preliminary) PhD certificate

Applications can be submitted at any time.

    Important note on submitting applications

    Please take a look at the information provided in this section and under General References. We would of course be happy to assist you should you have any further questions.

    Contact Persons PhD Scholarships

    Anna Kuschmann, M.A.
    Project Assistant General Research and PhD Grants
    - PhD and Research Scholarships, Publishing Aid -
    kuschmann@gerda-henkel-stiftung.de

    Judith Wonke, M.A.
    Project Assistant General Research and PhD Grants
    wonke@gerda-henkel-stiftung.de

    General Information for Applicants and Beneficiaries

    Frequently asked questions

    General questions regarding the application

    Does the Foundation provide funding for master students?
    No, the Foundation does not provide support for studies under PhD level.

    Can I apply if my project belongs to another field than the academic disciplines cited on the website?
    No. But please have a look at the thematic requirements of the special programmes “Security, Society, and the State“ as well as the funding programmes “Democracy“ and "Lost Cities".

    Are foreign academics allowed to apply for funding programmes?
    The funding activities concentrate basically on German and foreign academics in the fields of historical humanities. Candidates can apply regardless of their nationality and place of work.

    In which languages does the Foundation correspond?
    German and English.

    Should application documents and references be submitted in English or German?
    The Foundation accepts both, although German is preferred where possible.

    Are there formal requirements on how the application documents should be compiled?
    The project description should not be longer than 8 pages. Documents should have at least font size 11 and line spacing 1.5. Please read carefully all instructions in the section general references.

    Are there any substantial requirements for the structure or form of the description of the research project?
    No, there are no substantive requirements. Applicants for a research scholarship should make sure that in addition to the content presentation, information on the method, the state of research, the sources and research relevance are included in the description, especially if the transcript of the study is in the foreground.

    Should the proposal include a detailed list of publications or is it enough to note the cited references in footnotes? Is an additional list of publications with for the project relevant references necessary?
    It is sufficient to note the references of the proposal in footnotes. A list of publications with for the project relevant references can but must not be submitted.

    What should my working plan and schedule include?
    They should include detailed information about the work stages planned for the period of funding, including research trips and their planned duration.

    Can I apply for financing for my own post instead of a research grant?
    No. The Foundation is not providing funding for posts at research institutions.

    What do you require for travel and material expenses claims?
    We require a list of costs with each individual expense in as much detail as possible. Please have a look at the information provided under http://www.gerda-henkel-stiftung.de/calculation_travel-material-expenses.

    Does the Foundation pay for childcare during the period for which a stipend is awarded?
    Foundation stipend holders working on Ph.D. or research projects receive a family grant on presentation of the child’s/children’s birth certificate(s). The grant is paid for children who have not yet turned 18.

    What is the Foundation’s policy is a stipend holder becomes a parent during the period for which a stipend is awarded?
    The period of support for Foundation stipend holders working on Ph.D. or research projects can be extended by up to 12 months if the holder becomes a parent during the period covered by the stipend and has an entitlement to maternity or parental leave. Individual arrangements must be discussed with the Foundation’s administrative office.

    Can anyone request funding for printing?
    Publishing aid can only be claimed for projects which are already receiving funding from the Gerda Henkel Foundation. However, not all projects will be awarded funding for printing as the current budget for publishing aid is extremely limited.

    Does the Foundation sponsor individual journeys to participate in scientific conferences?
    At present travel expenses are only paid for larger research projects or PhD and research scholarships. Funding applications for independent trips to participate in conferences/congresses are in principle not considered.

    Can I change anything in my electronic application form after having sent it to the Foundation?
    No, that is not possible. Please inform us about any differing information when sending us your application documents or fill out a new application form and let us know you have sent a new form in a short note or email.

    If my confirmation of receipt includes a request for missing documents, will I be sent another confirmation once these missing documents have been submitted?
    No, you are responsible for making sure that all the necessary documents and references are properly submitted. Due to the number of applications we receive, we regret that we are not in a position to send further confirmations after the initial confirmation of receipt.

    What happens to my submission if it is incomplete?
    Incomplete submissions will not be considered and will be put back to the next selection round. Incomplete applications for PhD scholarships will not be considered any more after the expiration of one year.

    Does the Foundation provide reasons for refusing applications?
    The Academic Committee’s deliberations are confidential so the Foundation does not provide detailed reasons for refusals.

    General questions regarding the applications for scholarships

    Can I continue to work during the time of my scholarship?
    No, the simultaneous receipt of salary and a scholarship is not possible.

    Can I continue to draw a retirement pension during the time of my scholarship?
    No, the simultaneous receipt of a retirement pension and a scholarship is not possible.

    In which case can I apply for an overseas bonus?
    Should a beneficiary leave the country of her/his principal residence and spend more than four weeks abroad for research purposes, the Foundation shall grant a flat-rate overseas bonus. This should be seen as an extension to the scholarship, intended to cover the extra costs of food and accommodation. The Foundation shall not cover any accommodation costs for that period if an overseas bonus has been granted.

    Can I apply for funding of college or tuition fees?
    No, the Foundation does not cover college or tuition fees.

    If I am given a doctoral grant, do I have to start my doctorate immediately?
    Doctorates must be started within twelve months of the grant being agreed.

    Questions regarding letters of recommendation

    Who can write letters of recommendation?
    Applicants are free to choose a relevant expert. The Foundation does not make recommendations in this regard.

    What should be included in letters of recommendation or references and what form should they take?
    The Foundation has no specific requirements as far as references are concerned. Referees generally provide an assessment of the quality of the project and the applicant’s qualifications.

    In what form should expert assessments be submitted?
    Expert reports must be sent to the Foundation by their authors with a personal signature. Transmission via email (as scan with signature) or fax is possible.

    Can authors send their expert assessments to the Foundation via email?
    Expert assessments can be submitted via email (as scan) or fax. They must in all cases be signed by the author.

    Should letters of recommendation be submitted in English or German?
    The Foundation accepts both, although German is preferred where possible.

    Do you accept letters of recommendation from abroad?
    Yes.

    Do you accept letters of recommendation from other subject areas?
    Yes.

    Does the second letter of recommendation for an application for a phd scholarship have to be compiled by the person who later acts as second examiner for the Ph.D. thesis?
    No.

    Specific questions regarding the PhD-Scholarships

    Can doctoral students from overseas apply for a doctoral grant?
    Yes.

    Can students write their doctorate overseas?
    Yes.

    Can I apply for a doctorate grant if I have finished my undergraduate degree but not officially graduated?
    No, to make sure all applicants are treated equally, we do require a written confirmation of your degree results. The Foundation will however accept provisional attestation from the university showing individual grades and the overall grade.

    Can I submit an application for doctoral funding if I have not yet been formally registered by the university or not yet had my place confirmed?
    Yes.

    Which documents do I have to submit for funding if I have already started my doctorate?
    Please submit the same documents as for a standard doctorate grant.

    Can I apply for funding for the completion of my doctorate ("final scholarship")?
    No, the Foundation will not grant scholarships for the final completion of Ph.D. projects. A final scholarship is either a grant that succeeds another grant exceeding 12 months and bestowed by a different party and/or the application for a scholarship not exceeding 12 months.

    Can all applications for doctoral funding include an application for travel or material expenses?
    Yes, as long as the foreseen expenses are directly linked to the doctorate.

    Which certifications should be submitted when I am applying for a PhD scholarship?
    Please send in certificate(s) of the university degree qualifying for PhD studies (or seminar attendance certificates for direct doctorates). Please send us copies, references do not have to be attested. Please do not send certificates of High School Leaving, Bachelor certificates, internships, seminar grades (only necessary for direct doctorates) and employment references.

    Can I apply with a 1.5 grade or does the grade have to be better than 1.5?
    For an application to be considered in the selection process the overall master grade awarded must be at least 1.5 or above in Germany (comparable with grade A in other countries).
    We will check any applications with degrees obtained outside Germany before deciding whether to put them through into the next stage.

    What does the Foundation mean by its age limit of 28?
    The age limit refers to obtaining a degree. If you were 25 when you obtained your master degree, you could apply for doctoral funding at the age of 35, for example. Exceptions will be made to take the following situations into account: night school, bringing up children, military or civil service, work experience and other exceptional circumstances. If there are no extenuating circumstances, applications from those older than 28 cannot be accepted.

    Are there any interviews? Can I present my subject to the Foundation in person?
    No, decisions are based solely on the application submitted.

    Can I ask when the Foundation’s quarterly committee meetings are held?
    No, the Foundation does not provide any information about when the committees meet to assess applications. Once all necessary documents have been submitted (incl. reference), you should expect to wait approximately six months for our decision.

    Can I reapply if my application has already been refused?
    Yes, a second application is possible. However, all the documents must be submitted again.

    Questions regarding grants in general

    What should I do once I have received the letter of approval?
    Please let us know by postmail whether you accept the grant and the terms of appropriation. If you do accept, please also supply your current bank details and include when you wish payments to start. Please note that all credit transfers and standing orders are being switched over to the pan-European SEPA system. Instead of a bank sort code and account number, the Foundation requires the IBAN and BIC details. You will find the corresponding information on your account statement and possibly on your bank card.

    What are my obligations if I accept the funding?
    You must inform the Foundation of any changes which have a bearing on the payment of the grant or the amount paid. Teaching positions and other employment must be agreed with the Foundation if they exceed an average of 5 hours a week.

    Can I work during the grant period?
    Yes, as long as the employment does not exceed an average of five hours a week.

    How should references be made to the Foundation in my work?
    We ask that the Foundation be mentioned in any publications that arise from the funded project. The Foundation should also be included in the imprint of any publications for which publishing aid was supplied. For other media, such as conference posters or flyers, please use the logo available on our website. Please also mention the Foundation at events and in any contact with journalists (e.g. via your university’s press office), including in any press releases.

    Can the grant or parts thereof be used for other purposes?
    No. The grant is only to be used for the purposes detailed in the letter of approval.

    Can grants be transferred to overseas accounts?
    Yes. Please supply your SWIFT/BIC code and IBAN. We would however prefer to make transfers to a German account.

    Do I have to take out insurance if I am awarded a grant or does the Foundation cover those costs?
    As grant recipients are not technically employed by the Foundation, national insurance contributions are not paid. The Foundation recommends that all grant recipients take out medical insurance. No additional funding is available for these costs.

    Invoices

    What kind of information about my bank account do I have to submit?
    Please note that all credit transfers and standing orders are being switched over to the pan-European SEPA system. Instead of a bank sort code and account number, the Foundation requires the IBAN and BIC details. You will find the corresponding information on your account statement and possibly on your bank card. Please send us these details or submit them with your next invoice.

    Do original receipts have to be sent?
    Generally yes. Should third parties need the originals for billing purposes (e.g. university offices), please submit copies and ensure that the originals are held for at least ten years in case they need to be checked.

    Will my family’s costs be reimbursed for research trips?
    No. These must be covered by the grant recipient.

    General questions

    What is the phone number for Henkel AG & Co. KgaA in Düsseldorf?
    +49 (0)211 7970