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Plus 3 Perspectives Programme.

With its Plus 3 funding programme, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation aims to support outstanding junior group leaders in Germany conducting basic research in biology, chemistry, and medicine.

It enables them to optimally use the productive phase of their first temporary position as research group leaders as a springboard toward obtaining a professorship in an excellent research environment. Approximately 80 % of successful "Plus 3" applicants between 2010 to 2017 have obtained professorships, and more than 40 % of them came from abroad.

Context and aims of the Plus 3 programme.

It generally takes 12 to 18 months to fully establish one's first independent research group at a new location. The group's first substantial and independent publications therefore often only appear in its fourth year. Hence, in those cases where a group leader’s employment term and core funding is limited to 5 or 6 years, the time frame in which to do productive scientific work and successfully obtain a professorship is relatively short. This is where Plus 3 offers group leaders added time, freedom, and flexibility to reach their scientific potential, to advance and develop their research programmes. Plus 3 thereby creates the best conditions for long-term prospects in an optimal research environment.

What can be funded by Plus 3?

You can apply for up to 900,000 euros of core funding for your research team for up to 3 years.

This funding includes remuneration for your position as group leader, as well as for further team scientists and technical assistants. It may also be used to finance consumables, travel, and equipment.

When can you apply?

The application deadlines are March 15 and September 15 of each year. Postmark dates apply. Please send your application to the following adress: 

Boehringer Ingelheim Stiftung
Schusterstraße 46-48
55116 Mainz

Who may apply?

If you wish to apply, you must fulfil the following prerequisites:

  • You must have been awarded your PhD less than 12 years prior to the application deadline, and you should have substantial international experience.
  • You must be doing basic research in medicine, chemistry, or biology. The Foundation does not, however, fund zoological research and e.g. systematic botany.
  • You have been leading your first independent research group at an academic institution in Germany for at least 2, but no longer than 5 years.
  • You were selected for this position through a competitive process (e.g. Emmy Noether programme) with external scientists participating in the decision process.
  • Funding of your group is limited to a period of 6 years without the possibility of an extension, and does not include any tenure-track options or similar.
  • You have an outstanding publishing record as a PhD student and post-doctoral researcher, and can demonstrate your scientific independence by at least two published original scientific articles of which you are the last author.
  • You should be able to provide evidence that your research group has already been positively evaluated.
  • Your research institution bindingly pledges to offer you a permanent position, and must contribute substantially to equipping your group. In exceptional cases and based on a statement of reasons, the permanent position requirement may be waived.


Plus 3  is among the best, most sensibly designed funding programmes on the German research landscape! With it, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation supports independent, up-and-coming scientists unbureaucratically, at a crucial stage on their route toward professorship. If I hadn’t been accepted into the Plus 3 programme, my career path would certainly have looked quite different.


Christian Hackenberger, the first Plus 3 grantholder, is now a W3 professor at the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) and at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. For his outstanding achievements, he was awarded, among other things, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize by the German Research Foundation.

Photo: Silke Oßwald

What cannot be funded by Plus 3?

  • Plus 3 is not a supplement to insufficient research grants or core funding, but rather is intended as a structural programme and bridge during the key phase on the way to obtaining a professorship in an optimal research environment.
  • The Plus 3 programme is not aimed at scientists whose research groups are embedded in a department or a senior research group, and are not independent of such. Instead, applicants have to demonstrate scientific independence comparable to the status of group leaders in the Emmy Noether programme of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).


Do you have any questions?

If you still have questions after referring to the Guidelines for Applicants and the FAQs Plus 3, please call us or email us