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Young investigators groups

At Jülich, internationally outstanding postdocs are given the opportunity to establish their own junior research groups. Those who make it through the multiple stages of the selection procedure have clear career prospects. Furthermore, Forschungszentrum Jülich encourages close links between the leaders of junior research groups and university partners.

In 2019, there was a total of 21 young investigators group leaders at Forschungszentrum Jülich. They were financed either with external funding (Helmholtz Young Investigator Group, Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, Emmy Noether Programme, ERC, etc.) or with funds from Jülich itself. Almost half of the young investigators group leaders are junior professors. We support junior research group leaders all the way from the application process to establishing themselves on an academic career path once the funding period has ended, and we help them achieve increased visibility both inside and outside Forschungszentrum Jülich.


Excellent postdocs who aspire to work in a specific research field that fits Forschungszentrum Jülich’s scientific focus can either apply to a vacancy for a young investigators group leader or submit a speculative application to the appropriate institute directly. A young investigators group can be financed with external grants or the institute’s own funds.

List of institutes

Job advertisements from the scientific sector for postdocs

Development paths for young investigators group leaders

Running a young investigators group qualifies scientists for management positions both within and beyond the scientific community. That is why emphasis is put on preparing young investigators group leaders at Forschungszentrum Jülich to take on equivalent management positions. Along with the classic career path of becoming a professor, young investigators group leaders are also primed for reputable positions as senior scientists or a move into industry once the funding period for their group has ended.

Depending on the funding programme, young investigators groups at Forschungszentrum Jülich are subjected to an evaluation, which reviews the quality and direction of the group and its management. In many cases, this evaluation is also used to help make a decision regarding the group leader’s long-term prospects at Jülich. The criteria and decision-making framework for the evaluation are determined and released in advance to guarantee transparency in the process and to allow young investigators group leaders to gauge their long-term prospects.

What’s on offer

Leaders of young investigators groups face the challenge of taking on a responsible management position for the first time, while also continuing to enhance their own research profile. We support these excellent young scientists in this endeavour by offering internal professional training measures and promoting widespread networking within Forschungszentrum Jülich. This involves holding annual networking meetings for the young investigators group leaders and providing opportunities for exchange with members of Jülich’s Board of Directors. What’s more, in order to offer the best possible support for our young investigators group leaders, one-on-one meetings can be organized with the relevant contact at UE-N. These are a confidential forum where challenges and opportunities can be discussed.

Courses (P-E) (in German)

Helmholtz Leadership Academy

Contact UE-N