Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible to apply for BIGS-DR?

ZEF seeks to attract exceptional scientists globally, who have earned an excellent Master's degree or equivalent in fields such as economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, agricultural and resource economics, agronomy, nutrition, public health, medical science, biology, ecology, forestry, mathematics, or earth sciences. A strong interest in interdisciplinary research is mandatory.

What is the research concept that I need to submit?

Within the application portal, you will encounter fields prompting you to enter the title of your research concept, your research questions, the operationalization (including theories/approaches/data), and the most significant publications.

What is meant by 'Excellent Grades'?

The grading systems at universities vary, therefore it is mandatory to include the grading scale of your university in your application. 'Excellent grades' typically refer to a GPA above 3.0, a percentage of 80% or higher, or a grade of 2.0 or higher in the German system.

Is part-time study an option in BIGS-DR?

No, BIGS-DR is a full-time program.

Can I apply for BIGS-DR if I already have funding?

Yes. BIGS-DR welcomes students with scholarships to join the program. You must apply through the online platform by May 1st for the October intake providing the proof of funding for a minimum of three years, covering living expenses. A monthly stipend of 1200 EUR or more is generally needed.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the DAAD-EPOS scholarship is August 31st of each year, at 11:59 PM Central European Summer Time (CEST). The program is expected to start about one year after the deadline. For applicants with secured own funding, the deadline is May 1st, with an intake in October of the same year.

Is there an age limit for applying to BIGS-DR?

BIGS-DR is a structured program designed for young talents at the beginning of their careers. The last academic degree obtained should be within the last six years, counting backward from the application deadline.

Do I need to reach out to professors or senior researchers at ZEF before applying?

No prior contact with professors at ZEF/ University Bonn or senior researchers at ZEF is necessary. Upon acceptance to the program, ZEF will assist you in finding the appropriate main supervisor. The professors who have supervision capacities are listed in the application portal.

Where can I find the regulations and forms for the DAAD EPOS scholarship?

Inform yourself about details and requirements if you want to apply for DAAD- EPOS funding

Is work experience a requirement before applying?

For applicants seeking DAAD EPOS scholarships, proof of at least two years of professional work experience is mandatory, along with a statement of their current work situation at the time of application. All details are listed in the DAAD forms. For other applicants, work experience is not a mandatory requirement.

I have a degree from a University in China, India or Vietnam. Do I need special documents?

Yes, You need to upload documents from the Akademische Prüfstelle (APS). Otherwise, your documents are incomplete. More details:

What should the format of my CV be?

The Europass CV- format is mandatory. Your CV must include information on publications, funding from third parties, lecturing, conferences, and research activities, among other things.

Can I apply if I have completed a one-year Master's program?

Yes, as long as you have completed a Master's thesis.

Can I apply if I am in the final semester of my Master's degree?

Yes, you must submit your degree certificate by end of October of the year of application. In the meantime, you will need to provide us with copies of your most recent transcripts.

Can I send documents for review to determine eligibility?


Can I reapply to BIGS-DR if I have applied before?

Yes, with updated documents.

What happens if application documents are missing?

Incomplete applications will be rejected.

What happens to my documents after the application?

If you are accepted, your application documents will be kept on file at BIGS-DR. Your personal information will be stored in the BIGS-DR application database for the amount of time necessary to register your application and scholarship. ZEF adheres to the German Federal Data Protection Act. Applications that are unsuccessful or incomplete will be deleted after the review process.



Dr. Silke Tönsjost
(Academic Coordinator)
+49 (0)228 / 73-1794

Max Voit
+49 (0)228 / 73-1727

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