RUB Research School

Scholarship of Wilhelm and Günter Esser Foundation

To fund the completion of dissertations at the RUB.

The Wilhelm and Günter Esser Foundation awards scholarships to support the completion of dissertations at the RUB, preferably in the natural sciences departments, of doctoral researchers whose final phase of the dissertation can no longer be financed through employment, e.g. at the chair or the previous funding organization (e.g. DAAD, Foundation).

There are two calles each year: Deadline 15. December (funding period from April to September following year) and 20. June (funding period from October to March).

The scholarship can be awarded for a period of 1 to max. 6 months. A total of 20 scholarship months can be awarded.

Information about previous Esser scholarship recipients can be found on the GdF website.


The funding is granted as a scholarship in the amount of 900,- € per month and paid monthly. The funding can be applied for a period of 1 up to a maximum of 6 months according to the expected time needed for the completion of the dissertation. The largest period of requested funding must be within the funding period of the call. Completion of the dissertation is given priority for funding, but the period of preparation for disputation may also be requested for funding. An extension of the final scholarship is not possible. There is no entitlement to benefits.


Applications are open to RUB doctoral researchers who are well advanced in their dissertation work and who expect to complete the dissertation within the requested funding period. Before submitting an application, applicants are asked to discuss possible further funding of the doctorate with the previous funding organization (e.g. DAAD, foundation) or the supervising chair.

Review criteria

In addition to financial need (no further financing by e.g. chair or funding organization), further selection criteria are the scientific qualifications of the applicants, the status of the project and the research activities during the applied funding period with regard to the expected completion of the dissertation within this period, as well as the quality of the application. An overview of the criteria for the review of applications can be found here.

Review Process

The review process is based on a subject-related review of a RUB postdoc and reporting by a member of the Early Career Researchers Board of RUB Research School. The subject-related rapporteurs of the ECR Board forward the applications with a summary assessment to the decision-making body of the Research School - the Executive Board. The Executive Board decides on the final funding recommendation, which is forwarded to the GdF for the Esser Foundation via the RUB Rectorate. The RUB Research School is responsible for the selection process as well as for sending out the acceptance and rejection letters; approvals are sent directly to the scholarship holders. Please take into account that the funded doctoral candidates will be asked to present their doctoral projects in a public setting.


To apply please send in the complete application including the following documents (combined in one PDF-file)

  • completed application form (Download PDF-Form - Form function active after saving, Download Word-File)
  • Presentation of the doctoral project (max. 1-2 pages plus list of relevant literature) taking into account
    • scientific question/aim
    • method
    • research results to date
    • current status of the project (including information on research activities already completed and, if applicable, parts of the dissertation completed)
  • Letter of recommendation by two (junior) professors, including statements on:
    • scientific question/aim
    • method
    • research results to date
    • current status of the project
    • Comment on the justification for the final grant requested.
    • Relevance and feasibility of the research activities requested for the funding period for the completion of the dissertation.
  • CV
  • Copy Master degree
  • Confirmation (with explanation, if applicable) from the previous funding organization or chair as to why continued funding of the doctorate is not possible.

Duties of scholarship holders

By accepting the final scholarship, the scholarship holders undertake to

  • to use the funds for the intended purpose
  • to send a final report to the RUB Research School after completion of the work, including a statement by the first supervisor on the progress of the dissertation during the funding period and, if applicable, an explanation of why the dissertation could not be completed during the funding period
  • The Foundation must be informed immediately of any changes in financial circumstances or the modification or discontinuation of the funded project.

All scholarship holders are invited by the GdF for the Esser Foundation to present their project in a multidisciplinary lecture.

Please send your application to Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein (Speaker of the RUB Research School). Please submit the complete application documents in one PDF file by email to until the application deadline.

Letters of recommendation and, if applicable, confirmation from the previous funding organization or chair as to why continued funding of the doctorate is not possible can be submitted separately by email until the end of the application period upon request.

Application Deadlines:

20.06.2024 (Decision in September, Funding period October - March)

15.12.2024 (Decision in March, Funding period April - September)