Contact Information

Graduate Academy Heidelberg University

Service Point

Im Neuenheimer Feld 370
Room 3
69120 Heidelberg

Telephone Icon 17x17 +49 (0) 6221 / 54 - 19765

Office hours
Mon: 10 am–12 pm
Tue:    2 pm–4 pm
Wed: 10 am–12 pm
Thurs: 10 am–12 pm &
            2 pm–4 pm


Information about financial support for young researchers (primarily doctoral candidates) during the COVID-19 pandemic


► The federal government – funding approvals, expansion of BMBF frameworks
► The German Research Foundation (DFG)
► The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
► The Begabtenförderungswerke



The federal government – funding approvals, expansion of BMBF frameworks

In their press release 043/2020 Externer Inhalt on April 8, 2020, the BMBF announced a temporary change in the WissZeitVG in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for students and academia. Specifically, the change in Section 7 (3) WissZeitVG permits a six-month extension of the total possible term of an employment relationship for the purpose of qualification under Section 2(1) WissZeitVG if the employment relationship existed between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 (see also: Was befristete Beschäftigte in der Forschung jetzt wissen müssen Externer Inhalt).

On October 1, 2020, the BMBF put into effect an act for the extension of time-limited contracts for academic employees. An extension of a fixed-term employment relationship can now be granted for up to twelve months, and the reference period for applicants now extends from March 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021.

The new Section 7 (3) WissZeitVG, which extends the fixed-term limits, applies to all university employees who have a fixed-term employment contract, perform academic tasks and are working towards further academic qualification. No distinction is made between employees covered by collective bargaining agreements and those not covered by such agreements. Only university professors are excluded. Due to a special feature of the LHG in Baden-Württemberg, the university is currently examining the extent to which research assistants (geprüfte Wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte) can also benefit from this regulation.

For Juniorprofessoren, Juniordozenten, and Akademische Räte und Oberräte auf Zeit, the state of Baden-Württemberg has created a new Section 45 (6a) LHG. It is modeled on Section 7 (3) WissZeitVG and also creates an extension option of six months for the above groups, which will be increased to twelve months when the LHG amendment goes into effect.

Fixed-term employment contracts will not be automatically extended; the employee and the university must actively apply for the extension.




The German Research Foundation (DFG)

As of May 20, cost neutral extensions as well as supplemental funding can be requested in a number of funding measures to mitigate pandemic-related disruptions to current research and to enable successful transitions to new projects and career paths.

The measures include:

  • extensions of Collaborative Research Centers and Research Training Groups using exisiting funds
  • carry-over of funds from 2020 to subsequent years
  • compensatory, bridging and additional funding
  • extensions of deadlines, fellowships and employment contracts for doctoral students

Full details can be found at “Information for Applicants and Funding Recipients” Externer Inhalt.




The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

COVID-19-related information for international scholarship holders, updated February 2021




The Begabtenförderungswerke

The 13 Begabtenförderungswerke base their funding framework on BAföG (federal funding for students), with details in the article Keine Nachteile beim BAföG wegen Corona Externer Inhalt.

Paragraph 4 of the article specifically refers to pandemic-related delays in studies and states that such unavoidable delays are valid within the meaning of Section 15 (3) No. 1 BAföG and therefore can be the foundation for a reasonable extension of funding beyond the maximum funding period. This is also applicable if, for example, examinations are delayed.

Anecdotal reports from many scholarship holders state that in many cases, extensions are not granted and students are referred to the pandemic-related, interim financial aid provided by the BMBF Externer Inhalt.

The pandemic-related interim financial aid provided by the BMBF was extended on November 20, 2020 through March 2021.


Verantwortlich: Falk
Letzte Änderung: 2021-02-26
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