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Apologies if I have missed this information somewhere. I have an offer to apply for an "Eigene Stelle" (Translation in English: Own position) with a research institution in Germany. I defended my PhD in Dec 2022. I am currently in a 2-year postdoc. Ideally, I would start the Eigene Stelle position in Dec 2024. Can I apply for this two years out? If so, does it privilege recent PhDs (so perhaps to have a chance I should apply earlier and try to defer a few months....)

Any advice appreciated

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    It is typically the job of your current supervisor to coach you on that. Admittedly, not all are equally good at that, and not all recognize their responsibility to junior personnel. In that case you probably get some coaching from your thesis supervisor. This kind of personal coaching is way more valuable than short messages from random people on the internet. Jan 11, 2023 at 8:12
  • I think you can defer DFG funding for a bit, but I'm not sure how much. Therefore, you should also try to find out what the terms of your current position are. Can you "quit" early and change to your own funding earlier if it's granted before the end of your postdoc? In case the decision on "Eigene Stelle" takes longer than expected, would you get more than two years if you change your contract to less hours per week?
    – Sabine
    Jan 11, 2023 at 16:07
  • The oldest person I know who benefited from a grant including "Eigene Stelle" was well in her forties. Her PhD defense must have been 15 to 20 years in the past. I think it is more important to explain why the probability of a successful project strongly depends on you and your skills. Could you be replaced by a (much cheaper) PhD student? Jan 11, 2023 at 20:56

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It is worth noting that the question pertains to Germany.

Submitting a proposal to the German Research Foundation (DFG) can be done at any time after completing a PhD. However, the likelihood of success varies. DFG tends to be more lenient with first-time submissions and it is recommended to explicitly mention this in the proposal. Keep in mind that writing DFG proposals is different from writing papers. In Germany, it is common for newly graduated PhDs to collaborate with their professors on proposal submissions, with the professor providing feedback and potentially serving as the Principal Investigator if the proposal is accepted. To increase your chances of success, it is helpful to have experience with proposal writing, a strong publication record on the topic of the proposal, and (preferably) guidance from an experienced professor.

I find Emmy Noether-Programm more suitable for early career scientists (keep in mind that it is quite competitive).

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