HZDR High Potential Program

The HZDR High Potential Program is a recruiting instrument to attract excellent external postdocs (maximum of six years after receiving their doctoral degree) and not older than 40 years of age. The HZDR supports the candidates with a yearly funding of 100 k€ to promote talented early stage researchers and give them the opportunity to build an early scientific independence. Funding will be granted for up to two applicants per year.

Funding conditions:

  • The board of directors provides funding of 100 k € per year for personnel costs (including the own position) and costs of materials and supplies.
  • The program runs for three years and has the option of an extension by two years or a tenure track position in case of proven scientific excellence.

Target group:

  • Postdoctoral researchers, who received their PhD degree not longer than six years before their application and are not older than 40 years. Periods of childcare can be considered by up to two years per child.
  • The scientific work has to fit to the overall strategy of the HZDR and the hosting institute.
  • Candidates who have proven their excellence by outstanding publications, third-party funding acquisitions, international cooperation and technology transfer activities can apply.


  • Twice a year, there is an open call for applications: on May 1st (deadline for applications July 1st), and October 1st (deadline December 1st). Next call May 2025
  • The candidates should get in touch with the contact person before applying. The application documents have to be prepared and submitted in accordance with the respective host scientist(s) and institute director(s).
  • List of application documents: CV, publications, support letter, and motivation letter (one page). The selection committee can request additional external review letters.
  • The HZDR selection committee, chaired by the Scientific Director, decides on the admission in the program.

Contact person:

Dr. Birgit Gross, Research Programmes & International Projects

Phone: +49 351 260 3486

Email: b.gross@hzdr.de