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Fellow Programme – Frequently Asked Questions

What criteria are considered in selecting the Fellows?

We welcome all project ideas that connect to our research agenda – and we are open to unusual approaches, provided that we are able to supervise them appropriately. We are interested in the candidates’ achievements as much as we consider their capabilities and their aims. An important aspect of the decision is to consider how to bring together a well balanced group, apt to enrich each other intellectually.

In order to compose a promising application, we would like to ask you to reflect about the following and to develop a convincing line of argument:

  • Why would you like to join HIIG as a fellow?
  • Which projects would you like to realise throughout your stay and how do you plan to implement them?
  • How does your project as well as your research profile connect to HIIG's research programmes?

Do I need to submit references? How can I submit a reference anonymously if required?

A successful application may include references – however, they are not mandatory. If you would like to send us one, please note that references first and foremost serve to inform us about your scientific work. We do not need references to be anonymous – you can upload all documents online directly. If the person providing the reference would like to send us a document directly, we would like to ask for an email to with the subject line »reference for –your name–» so that we can match it appropriately.

May I apply as a fellow if I am still in my Master's programme?

The programme is primarily aimed at (PhD-)researchers who have already finished their Master's thesis. If, however, you manage to submit a convincing application with a project idea that matches our institute well, we may in exceptional cases also take master students.

I do not speak German, may I apply nevertheless?

It is not compulsory to be in command of the German language - we do however ask you to be fluent in English to make for a valuable exchange. Of course, it would be an advantage to understand German so as to be able to follow some specialist discussions and some interesting events, such as the monthly event “Digitaler Salon”, which is in German only.

I cannot come to Berlin for a job interview. Is it possible to have a Skype-interview?

Absolutely! We do not expect you to travel for the interview - the majority of the talks, if not all, will be conducted via Skype. If you are in Berlin at the time of the interview, you are of course very welcome to come by - we would be happy to get to know you personally. We will do our level best to match the interview times to your time zone.

Who reviews the applications?

The submitted applications will be evaluated by a team researchers of the HIIG including the heads of the research programmes, project managers from the corresponding projects as well as the fellowship coordinator. If the project proposals connect to research projects of other colleagues, they will be consulted as needed. The final decisions will be reached in consultation with the directors.

Will I be informed about the current status of my application, before the final decisions are announced? When will chosen candidates be notified?

We will review all documents thoroughly and will contact you if any further information is needed. Due to the high number of applicants, we can neither inform you about the current status, nor react to requests regarding individual applications during the course of our review. The interviews and the ensuing decisions will normally be made within one month after the application deadline.

How many Fellows are chosen per year?

The number of suitable applications lies way beyond our capacity. We are a young institute with about 50 employees and we currently have capacities for four fellows to work with us at once.

Unfortunately, I cannot come to Berlin. Is it possible to work remotely?

The main idea of the Fellow programme is to have the opportunity for on-site exchange. We thus do expect the applicants to move to Berlin (or surroundings) for the time of the fellowship. We surely do use Skype, have hangouts or telcos and alike, but we also appreciate to communicate directly and regularly, and moreover strive to closely involve all fellows in the programme and in our activities.

Is it possible to be employed elsewhere as a Fellow?

The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society raises no objections, if you wish to do a side job. You will need to retain a certain degree of flexibility to take part in fixed voting / presentation meetings throughout the programme and sundry events of the institute, moreover to meet our endeavours to integrate our fellows into the academic community to the best of our ability. This should be compatible with the side job.

Will the stay be financed? Do you support applications for outside grants?

You can apply for travel allowance and we do provide possible visa subsidies. Each fellow needs to arrange his/her individual funding for the time of the stay. We do, of course, support applications for outside grants if possible. If you have been chosen as a Fellow, we would gladly send any confirmation documents needed to the respective institution.

According to your announcement, I can apply for travel allowance of up to € 700,- and receive visa subsidy of up to € 200,- in certain cases. What is needed to receive a subsidy – and how likely will it be granted?

These subsidies primarily address candidates, whose home institutions can not cover the costs. If you want to apply for travel allowance, you need to turn in a letter by your home institution, stating, that they can not cover the costs and an informal letter of application. If we confirm, we can refund the costs within the defined budget, once you submitted the original receipts.

Unser Forschungsansatz

Das HIIG erforscht die Entwicklung des Internets aus einer gesellschaftlichen Perspektive mit dem Ziel, die damit einhergehende Digitalisierung aller Lebensbereiche besser zu verstehen.


With the series, we want to initiate debates across disciplines by making current research results available to a broad academic public as Open Access.