Humboldt Initiative: Structured PhD Programmes

Humboldt Initiative: Structured PhD Programmes

In its Institutional Strategy, Humboldt Universität created its own format for funding structured PhD programmes. The Humboldt Graduate School serves as the umbrella organisation supporting initiatives of this kind.

Important: This funding line has been terminated. No further applications will be accepted.


Professors aiming to establish structured PhD programs in their faculties or institutions can apply for flexible funding in response to the call for proposals for the Humboldt Initiative Structured PhD Programmes funding line.

The proposed initiatives should be designed in such a way that they continue beyond the funding period, either by securing support from faculties and/or departments or by successfully applying for further funding (e.g. as a DFG Research Training Group, integration into a Collaborative Research Center, support by foundations etc.) during the initial funding period.

Who can apply?

Professors wanting to establish structured PhD programmes at one or more Humboldt-Universität institutions or in an interdisciplinary research context. Applications should be submitted via the relevant faculty or faculties.

What are the relevant criteria?

The proposed initiatives should be of a high academic quality and have significant development potential with regard to promoting the structured PhD programs. Applicants must also commit to observing the Humboldt Graduate School’s PhD and supervision standards (German).

What kind of funding is provided?

The funding is awarded for a maximum of three years and may not exceed €200,000 in total. The funding is approved in the form of a total sum and can be allocated as desired.

Some examples of how the funding can be used include:

  • Promoting the further academic development of all the doctoral students in the programme
  • Participation of doctoral students in key qualifications courses
  • Travel allowances for doctoral students
  • Coordination activities, e.g. hiring more secretarial personnel or student assistants
  • PhD scholarships (the amount is based on DFG PhD scholarships)

The funding may not be used to provide printing allowances for publications.

For awarding scholarships by funds made available by the Humboldt Initiative Structured PhD Programme, the guideline Stipendienrichtlinie - Strukturierte Promotionsprogramme has to be applied.

What is the deadline for applications?

Applications can be submitted at any time. A selection committee makes preliminary funding decisions which are then finalized by the Vice President for Research. The selection committee meets at least four times a year. Applicants are advised to discuss their proposal with the office of the Humboldt Graduate School before submitting their application.

What is the application procedure?

The deans submit the funding applications for initiatives relating to structured PhD programmes to the selection committee.  

Applications include the following documents:

The application form (DOC) (German) with information on

  • Concept and aims of the initiative
  • Budget/list of measures and positions requiring funding
  • Proposed schedule/duration of funding
  • Prospects for the programme’s continuation (planned applications for third-party funding, decentralized funding) as well as
  • Statement of the relevant faculty/faculties

Call for proposals - Humboldt Initiative Structured PhD Programs (German).

Guidelines for applicants can be found here (German).

Associated programmes


Aug 20, 2014

Additional information

For further information, please visit our section on frequently asked questions (FAQ) (German).

Should you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us:

Humboldt Graduate School
Office for Promotion of Young Researchers in the Excellence Initiative
Phone: +49 (0)30 2093-1715