Frequently Asked Questions

Which are Horizon2020 Associated Countries?

The following countries are considered as Horizon2020 associated: Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia and Armenia. Please consult the official document of the EU commission to see the current status.


What kind of funding options do exist?

The OUTGOING scheme consists of an initial outgoing phase to an international partner organization (outside Germany) with a duration of 12 to 24 months and a mandatory 12-month return phase to the University of Siegen. The length of the outgoing phase depends on the requirements of your project and needs to be discussed and decided upon together with your supervisor. The OUTGOING scheme is open to external applicants (not located at the University of Siegen), also.

The INCOMING Fellows apply for a project that will be located at the University of Siegen for a period of 24 months.

Who can apply for a Fellowship?

Researchers, who have already recieved their doctoral degree at the time of the respective calls deadline, or have been actively working in research for a minimum of 4 years in a fulltime equivalent. You need to comply with the corresponding Mobility Rule and meet the criteria on nationality if applicable. We expect applications from scientists, who have a promising research project idea, which addresses one of the 7 Research Challenges defined by the University of Siegen.

Who can not apply?

Candidates, who hold a permanent position with the University Siegen, or any of the partner organisations where a research stay is planned during the fellowship (initial outgoing phase or secondment), are not eligible to apply for the program. Also, if you do not comply with the Mobility Rule, or are not considered an Experienced Researcher, your application will be rejected.
There are certain restrictions to the nationality of applicants in the OUTGOING Scheme:
a) If the initial outgoing phase takes place in an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 Associated Country (see here for definition), the candidate can be of any nationality.
b) If the host of the initial outgoing phase resides in a Third Country (neither EU Member State, nor Horizon 2020 Associated Country), the candidate must be a national or long-term resident of an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 Associated Country.

I am not an EU resident; can I still apply?

Yes, but under certain restrictions.

  • For incoming researchers: No restrictions, researchers of all nationalities can apply
  • For outgoing researchers:
    a) If the initial outgoing phase takes place in an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 Associated Country (see explanation above), the candidate can be of any nationality.
    b) If the host of the initial outgoing phase resides in a Third Country (neither EU Member State, nor Horizon 2020 Associated Country), the candidate must be a national or long-term resident (see below) of an EU Member State or Horizon 2020 Associated Country.

Example: An applicant with a Mexican nationality wants to go to the University of Hyderabad in India within the outgoing scheme. She/he is considered a long-term resident and is therfore eligible if she/he lived and worked for at least 5 full consecutive years e.g. in Spain.

What does long-term residence mean?

Long-term residence means a period at any time in the past of legal and continuous residence within one or more EU Member States or Horizon 2020 Associated Countries (time can be spent in more than one country), which lasted at least 5 consecutive years. Time spent in procedures for obtaining refugee status in an EU Member State or H2020 Associated Country will be counted.

What does the Mobility Rule mean?

Mobility Rule: Candidates cannot have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the planned research and training activity for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the STAR call-to-apply deadline. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

This sentence refers for the INCOMING mobility scheme to Germany, since this is the country you will work in for your project. For the OUTGOING mobility scheme it refers to the country where you plan to spend the first 12-24 months of your research (this is the initial outgoing phase). Depending on which country you choose for the initial outgoing phase, you are not allowed to have spent (working and/or living) more than 12 months there since December 2018 (this is the 3 years backwards from our application deadline for the first call).

Example: Your CV looks roughly like this:

  • June 2015: PhD completed in Dublin, Ireland
  • Aug 2015 – Sept 2018: PostDoc position in Tokyo, Japan
  • Oct 2018 – Dec 2018: Family time in Sweden
  • Jan 2019 – today: PostDoc position in Cologne, Germany

You would not be eligible to apply for the INCOMING mobility scheme, because your time spent in Germany since December 2018 exceeds the maximum of 12 months. But you would be eligible to apply for the OUTGOING scheme. You could even apply for a project that has its initial outgoing phase located in Dublin (time there is beyond the “past 3 years” limit) and for Japan (only 9 months are counted because these lie within the relevant period)

I have submitted my PhD thesis but the defense will take place after the call’s deadline, can I apply for the programme?

If you have 4 years fulltime equivalent research experience, you do not need to have completed your PhD by the end of the call deadline. If not, you need to be in possession of a doctoral degree at the date of the call’s deadline. This includes all obligations that need to be fulfilled for a doctoral degree according to the rules of your country.

What does 4 years of fulltime equivalent research experience mean?

Your research experienced is measured from the date when you obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate, even if a doctorate was never started orenvisaged (e.g. Masters degree). It means, for example, that you can have been employed as a fulltime researcher for 4 years, but also an employment for 8 years in a 50% part-time position.

Is there any conflict in applying for other programmes than STAR at the same time?

There is no disadvantage in applying for other programmes at the same time.

Is there an age limit for applicants?

There is no age restriction.

Which breaks in the career path can be relevant?

Breaks in your career path can be relevant in the evaluation of your application through the external reviewers. Your scientific track record will be assessed according to the quantity and quality of your achievements in relation to your current career stage. Therefore you should explain if there are any delays. Reasons for unavoidable delays in your career can be for example:

  • Pregnancy, childbirth, or childcare
  • Care of family members
  • Chronic illness or disability
  • Long periods of serious illness
  • National military or civil service

Those who want to explain extended qualification phases, publication gaps, etc. can do so by stating the circumstances in your application (e.g. in the cover letter and/or your CV or a separate document).

Can I apply if my supervisor has a non-permanent contract with his/her university?

Yes, but your supervisor must be employed with his/her university for the entire period of your research activities within the STAR-Programme.

Can I hand in more than one proposal for one call?

Each candidate can only submit one application per call.

Can I apply again in the next call, if my application fails the first time?

You can either resubmit a revised proposal, or apply with a new project idea within the next call.

How will gender aspects be incorporated in the selection process?

For each call for proposals, ranking lists will be prepared on the basis of the scores awarded by the external reviewers. From these, the best 6 female and the best 6 male candidates for INCOMING fellowships and the best 4 female and 4 male candidates for OUTGOING fellowships will be selected and invited to the interviews.
The final decision on successful candidates is based on the overall score obtained by each person in the peer review and personal interview. Thus, a final ranking will be established for each funding scheme and from this the highest scoring candidates per call will receive a fellowship.

When can I start my fellowship?

The selection process will most probably be completed and candidates informed by April/May following the respective call deadline. The earliest possible start date could be June/July 2021 for the call 2020 and June 2022 for the call published in 2021.

What will my salary be?

You will have a fixed-term employment contract with the University of Siegen throughout the whole fellowship independent of your actual workplace (outgoing phase or secondment). Contracts will last 24 months (incoming scheme) or 24-36 months (outgoing scheme).
You will hold a full position with 39.83 working hours per week and 30 days of paid leave per year. Employment conditions include mandatory health insurance, long-term care insurance, federal pension fund, unemployment insurance and accident insurance.
Your income (as employer gross salary) will be composed of the following components:

  • Living Allowance: 4880,- EUR; The Living Allowance will be adjusted through the application of a country correction coefficient to account for differences in the cost of living in the country of the host organization.
  • Mobility Allowance: 600,- EUR

The minimum amount of the sum of Living Allowance (after correction) and Mobility Allowance will not fall below 3,836 EUR.

  • Family Allowance: 500,- EUR
    The Family Allowance will be paid to fellows who have at least one of the following family obligations: a) marriage, b) relationship with equivalent status to marriage, or c) dependent children maintained by the researcher. Eligibility for the Family Allowance will be determined at the date of the respective STAR-call deadline and will not be revised during the fellowship.
    The net salary of the fellow results from deducting all compulsory (employer/employee) social security contributions and direct taxes.

What is the country correction coefficient (CCC)?

The country correction coefficient (CCC) accounts for differences in the cost of living in each country. It therefore adjusts the Living Allowance for the location of your research project accordingly. For the INCOMING scheme and during the 12 months return phase of the OUTGOING scheme, the CCC for Germany will apply (97%). For the initial outgoing phase of the OUTGOING scheme the CCC of the country where your host institution is located will apply. There will be no adjustments for short term stays e.g. during secondments. The CCC can vary strongly between countries e.g. 139,8% for UK, or 63,4% for India. For more details on the CCC for each country look up the table in the documents section of the STAR-website. STAR will not change these figures throughout the programme.

For what can I use Research, Training and Networking Costs?

This allowance should cover all expenses related to the individual research and training of the fellow. Please state possible expenses in your budget plan, which is a mandatory component of your application. The monthly budget of 800,- EUR can (after notice to the project manager) be pooled for larger expenses. Purchases >1000,- EUR can only be made if stated in the budget plan and approved by the project manager.
The  Research Training and Networking Allowance can be used for but not limited to:

  • Consumables: e.g. laboratory supplies, chemicals
  • Equipment: e.g. scientific instruments or devices needed for your project
  • Books, maps, etc.
  • Travel and accommodation: including secondments, conferences, other networking activities
  • Publication costs
  • Training courses
  • Visa and other fees

How important is the knowledge of German language for the Fellowship?

For the fellowship and your research related activities you do not need to speak German. The application language of STAR is English. All communication and documents of the application process will be provided in English, as well as all coaching and training activities during the programme. Also, the project manager of the programme is fluent in English. She is the first point of contact for all issues concerning the fellows and will help and connect to relevant departments if needed. If you want to learn German during your stay in Siegen, there are opportunities through the Universities language courses.

How do I find accommodation in Siegen? Does the university support the new Fellows with these issues?

The STAR-project manager and the Welcome Center of the University of Siegen offer advice and support in all organisational questions concerning your stay in Siegen. They will help with all topics related to moving to Siegen, including obtaining a visa, help with accommodation, health insurance, child care, etc.

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