Special Funding for Early-Stage Researchers during COVID-19

Because early-stage researchers are EUF tend to hold fixed-term contracts or scholarships, coronavirus-related restrictions on teaching and research have especially impacted on this group’s research and their qualification (doctoral) projects and activities. Thanks to federal and state changes in legal frameworks and a reallocation of its own funds, the university has been able to extend employment contracts and scholarships in response to the pandemic. The Executive University Board, Scholarship Committee, and Committee for Research and Knowledge Transfer are pleased to offer the following solutions, conditional on the fulfillment of certain requirements:

  • Employment contract extensions for researchers in qualification phases
  • Extensions of Schleswig-Holstein state doctoral scholarships
  • COVID-19 Crisis Fund financial support for researchers in qualification phases

Employment contract extensions for researchers in qualification phases

On May 15, 2020, the Executive University Board informed all EUF staff by email that "…because of the current COVID-19 crisis, and following a request by academic staff members for compensation measures and contract extensions at EUF, we have decided to review contract extensions for people holding qualification positions that will expire at the end of 2021. The legal framework of the Academic Fixed-term Labor Contract Act (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG), which has been adapted to the current situation, and the internal availability of the option for extension are decisive."

In accordance with the amended WissZeitVG as of May 25, 2020, the affected researchers may request an extension of their contracts for up to six-months; see WissZeitVG

Staff can apply for extensions in the usual manner as follows: The supervisor applies for the contract extension at least six weeks before the contract is due to expire. Then the personnel department reviews whether the applied-for time period is still possible in accordance with the WissZeitVG and its amendment due to COVID-19. Please contact the personnel department if you have questions about the extension option.

Extensions of Schleswig-Holstein state doctoral scholarships

On the basis of the amendments to the Higher Education Act and the Scholarship Regulations of Schleswig-Holstein, the Commission for the Promotion of Early-Stage Researchers and Creative Talent (Scholarship Committee) has defined the conditions for granting Schleswig-Holstein doctoral scholarship holders whose doctoral work has been restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic can obtain an extension:

  • Extensions are granted for a maximum of 6 months.
  • The amount of funding remains unchanged.
  • Applicants must submit a brief application signed by the scholarship holder and the primary supervisor.
  • Applications must be submitted in writing to the chair of the Scholarship Committee at least 4 weeks before the scholarship terminates.

Details are available here.

All scholarship holders whose doctoral work has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic are advised to apply well before the end of the current funding period, even if they expect their funding to continue next year. The Scholarship Committee will decide on each application and set the procedure for granting extensions. The period covered by this special funding ends with disputation/thesis defense.

Please contact the chair of the Scholarship Committee, Dr. Simone Onur, for further information.

COVID-19 Crisis Fund for researchers in qualification phases

Because of the ongoing serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and thanks to the Executive University Board’s renewal of its co-financing, the Committee for Research and Knowledge Transfer has extended the COVID-19 Crisis Fund for researchers in qualification phases. The goal is to use Committee funds –even if these resources are limited—to support those doctoral students who are experiencing significant hardship.

The extended COVID-19 Crisis Fund, which the university announced via email on January 20, 2021, covers six half-time (.5) position contract extensions for up to 3 months. The first deadline for applications was March 1, 2021; the second and final one was planned for June 1, 2021. Further information is available in English here.

As a matter of principle, the fund only supports applicants whose cases are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who cannot be supported under more general regulations. Since other renewal options exist for Schleswig-Holstein doctoral scholarship holders and academic staff funded by the university from its own budget, they are not eligible for this funding.

People from the following groups can apply for COVID-19 Crisis Fund contract extension financing:

  • Doctoral and postdoctoral students in fixed-term qualification positions not funded through the university’s regular budget
  • Doctoral students within third-party funded projects
  • Doctoral students in fixed-term positions with a high teaching load (Hochdeputatsstellen).

For further information, please contact Dr. Martina Kattein, chair of the Committee for Research and Knowledge Transfer.