Do I meet the application requirements?

The basic formal requirements for submitting an application are:
– University graduates from the participating countries
– Nationality of a participating country
– Permanent residence in the home country
– Above-average (good to very good) university degree (Master’s, Magister, Diplom; Bachelor’s degree is not sufficient) from one of the participating CEE countries
– At the time of application, the degree must not have been awarded more than five years previously
– Doctoral students are admitted as long as the doctoral project is not completed during the funding period
– Environmentally relevant and practical topic (for the home country, the EU or globally)
– for the application very good knowledge of German and/or English is required (application and selection interview in German or English)
– Sufficient knowledge of German must be proven to the host institution at the beginning of the stay
If you have any individual questions, please feel free to contact the staff of the DBU’s MOE Fellowship Program directly.

Can I apply with a Bachelor’s degree?

You can only apply with a bachelor’s degree if the bachelor’s degree includes admission to doctoral studies. The “normal” three/four year bachelor’s degree is not sufficient for application.

Do the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have to be completed in the home country?

One of the degrees must have been completed in the home country. An above-average (good to very good) university degree (Master, Magister, Diplom), ideally from one of the participating CEE countries, is required.

Can I apply for a fellowship if I am already in Germany for professional or training purposes at the time of application?

No, that is not possible. The only exceptions are temporary stays for a German language course. Applications from interested parties who already live in Germany are not possible.

Are certain disciplines given priority?

There is no priority specialty. University graduates from all disciplines are eligible to apply.

How strict is the 5-year limit between studying and applying?

The limit is very strict. Only exceptions are made for current PhD students.

Do I already have to have a host institution in Germany?

A host institution in Germany does not have to be organized at the time of application and is not a funding requirement. However, you must research well in case you are invited to the selection interview and propose several professionally suitable host institutions in the interview.

Application procedure

When are the application deadlines?

Application deadlines can be found on the DBU homepage. CEE Fellowship and then on the respective country page.

Which documents do I have to submit? Where do I have to submit the documents?

The following documents in German or English must be submitted to the application end MOE Fellowship:
– complete curriculum vitae
– Copies of complete university transcripts (bachelor’s and master’s/master’s degrees). If the degree certificate is not yet available, a certificate of academic achievements to date (list of courses incl. grades) in the Master’s program as well as the expected date of graduation must be submitted no later than six weeks before the Fellowship begins.
– Project description: Description of a current and practice-relevant topic with environmental and/or nature conservation relevance, which you would like to work on at a host institution in Germany and which is of interest in your home country, the EU or globally. Only topics for which suitable hosts in Germany are available are possible.
– Statement of a university professor from the respective home country or the current supervisor
– Proof of language skills (German and/or English), if available

Are there local contacts?

In almost every country there are coordinators and a network of former fellows. They will be happy to answer any questions. Contact details can be found on MOE Fellowship and then on the respective country page.

Necessary contents of the project description

– Introduction (What is the central question to be investigated? Why is the topic important? What are the problems?)
– Scientific state of knowledge (What is already known about this topic? Is there already research on this topic? Where is the current knowledge gap?)
– What is the project goal? (What do I want to learn? Are there already ideas on how to achieve the goal?)
– Methods (Which methods / investigations / laboratory experiments, literature research, surveys, etc. should be conducted?)
– the meaningful project description should contain at least 3 pages
– a time and work plan is desirable, but not mandatory
– The application must be written in accordance with the recognised principles of scientific work, with appropriate citations and in the form of a personal contribution.

Can I apply without German language skills?

German language skills are not yet required at the time of application.

At what level must the English language skills be?

If you do not have a good or very good command of the German language, you must have an advanced knowledge of English.

Are language courses funded by the DBU?

At the beginning of the fellowship, all fellows take part in a 3-4 week
German intensive course in Osnabrück. The costs for this language course are covered by the DBU. Additional language courses can be funded by the DBU upon request.

What are the chances of success in obtaining a fellowship?

This depends on the quality of the respective applications.

Can I apply as a PhD student in the MOE Fellowship Programme?

In principle, PhD students are eligible to apply. However, it must be ensured that the doctoral thesis and the examination are not completed until after the fellowship. Interested students who complete their doctoral project before or during the fellowship period are not eligible to apply.

Are there any priority topics at the DBU that have a positive impact on an application?


Is an application photo necessary for the application?

An application photo is not required, but is welcome to be provided.

What language should the university supervisor’s recommendation be in? Can you do the translation yourself?

The recommendation of the university supervisor with full details of name, university, institute, address should be in German or English. Translation by the applicant is not permitted.

How can the language skills be proven?

Language proficiency can be demonstrated by an official language certificate or transcript (e.g., IELTES, TOEFL, ESOL, UNIcert, Cambridge English certificates, TOEIC, school English for at least 6 years or study in an English language program or study of English language courses for at least one semester/trimester) and is valid indefinitely….
The assessment of a language teacher must not be older than two years.

What happens if the application documents are incomplete?

Incomplete applications will result in rejection.

Is there an age limit for applicants?

No, there is no age limit, but a convincing resume is expected.

Selection interviews

How long does a selection interview take?

The selection interview lasts 30 minutes. Applicants have 10 minutes to present the project idea, after which there are some questions from the members of the selection panel.

Who takes part in the selection interviews?

A jury of German and local environmental experts, representatives of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the state coordinators and alumni representatives take part in the selection interviews.

What language are the selection interviews in?

The selection interviews are held in German or English.

How should the presentation be structured?

The presentation should include a brief introduction to the topic, identify the environmental issues, present methods and any showing ways to solve problems. A schedule and work plan is desirable, but is not mandatory.

Guiding questions for the presentation:

1. What is your topic of interest? Shortly present what you want to study (including the potential methods) and why.

2. What do you want to achieve during the Fellowship period? How does the stay in Germany help you to fulfill these objectives? Set realistic goals (these goals can be preliminary and subject to changes, ideally include a work plan) and explain why you want to go abroad.

3. Have you been in contact with potential host institutions? If not, which organisations work on the topic you are interested in? Present suitable organisations for your Fellowship. The DBU can also assist you in establishing contact.

Do I have to send the presentation by e-mail before the selection interview?


When will I know the result?

The decision of the selection panel is usually communicated 1-2 days after the selection interviews.

Before the stay in Germany

Will the accommodation costs during the introductory seminar be covered by the DBU?


Will the accommodation costs during the language course be covered by the DBU?

No. The DBU takes over the organization of accommodation during the German course and settles the costs with the first Fellowship payment.

Do I have to pay the travel costs to Osnabrück or to the host institution myself?

The travel expenses to Germany (Osnabrück) have to be paid by the Fellows themselves. The onward travel to the host institutions will be subsidized with a lump sum of 100 €.

When do I get the Fellowship for the first month?

The stipend for the first and second month will be paid in cash at the introductory seminar.

Will the Fellowship be paid in cash or will it be transferred?

The fellowship will be transferred to a German bank account in the middle of the month starting in the third month of funding.

Is it necessary to open a German bank account?

Yes, the bank account opening with German IBAN is mandatory. Fellows must be account holders.

What do I have to pay attention to when opening a bank account?

Information on opening an account can be obtained at the introductory seminar in Osnabrück. In principle, however, you should make sure that the account maintenance fees are not too high and that you do not have to pay any fees when opening an account.

Do I have to pay taxes and social security contributions for the Fellowship in Germany?

In Germany, the Fellowship is exempt from tax and social security contributions.

What is the easiest way to find accommodation?

Normally, the on-site supervisors help to find suitable accommodation. If this is not the case, it is advisable to check the online daily newspapers on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In university cities, the advice on finding housing on the university websites is also very helpful.

Are there agreements to be signed at the host institution as part of the professional supervision there?

This is handled very differently by the individual host institutions and cannot be answered in general terms.

Is it necessary to enrol at the university in the Fellowship location?

No, you don’t have to. You will receive more information about this at the introductory seminar.

Do I have to pay any tuition fees/semester contributions myself?


Which insurances does the DBU take out for me?

For the funding period, the DBU takes out health, accident and liability insurance for the Fellows free of charge. This is an international insurance for foreign fellows in Germany with limited insurance coverage.

Do I have to stay insured in my home country?

This is a question that each Fellow must decide for him/herself. If you have a chronic illness, you should definitely stay insured in your home country, as known pre-existing conditions are not covered.

Do I have to cancel scholarships for PhD studies in my home country?

No, but I must inform the DBU about the receipt of such scholarships.

May I pursue further gainful employment during the fellowship?

The commencement of further gainful employment must be agreed in advance with the DBU.

Can the Fellowship start date be postponed?

A postponement of the Fellowship start date is only possible in exceptional cases and after early consultation with the DBU.

Can I bring my car to Germany?

In principle, it is possible. However, the vehicle must be re-registered and the required vehicle insurance and vehicle taxes must be paid in Germany.

What happens if I do not attend the German course?

Unless sufficient justification is provided, non-participation will result in revocation of the Fellowship.