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Rise up!

The Rise up! programme is aimed at outstanding and exceptionally creative basic scientists in biology, chemistry, and medicine who have accepted their first appointment to an associate professorship at a German university. With Rise up!, they can bring forward an especially innovative research programme that may have a lasting impact on their field.


Context and aims of Rise up!

Starting your first associate professorship (W2) opens up opportunities to broaden your research horizons and explore questions over the longer term. Truly bold and innovative undertakings, however, require financial leeway that, in many cases, exceeds the core funding of associate professorships. Rise up! offers the freedom to be creative, to take risks, and to advance truly innovative research at this important career stage.

What can be funded?

You can apply for up to 600,000 euros for a research period of up to 3 years to advance a defined research programme.

The funding can be used towards scientific personnel, consumables, and project-related equipment, as well as travel and publications.

How and when can you apply?

To submit your application for the Rise up! programme, please use our online application portal.

The application deadlines are 15 March and 15 September of each year.

Who may apply?

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

  • You have accepted the call to an associate (W2) professorship at a German university. In case you have already taken up this position, the start date must be less than 12 months prior to the Rise up! application deadline.
  • This is your first call to a tenured or non-tenured associate professorship at W2 level or equivalent (e.g., W3 positions "ohne Lehrstuhl/ ohne Leitungsfunktion" in Baden-Württemberg).
  • You should have substantial international experience.
  • Your research focuses on fundamental questions in the biological, medical, and chemical sciences. A clear link to the life sciences is required. The foundation encourages applications, which have the potential to provide novel important insights into fundamental processes. The foundation does not, however, fund zoological research or systematic botany, for example.
  • You propose an especially bold and creative research programme that may have a transformative impact on your field of research.
  • You have a proven track record and can demonstrate international visibility of your scientific achievements.
  • For the proposed research, you are not receiving and are not expecting to receive any
    • institutional funding in addition to the core funding associated with your professorship
    • third-party funding (e.g., ERC grants) 
      equivalent or above the scope of Rise up! funding.

The funding provided by the Rise up! programme offers me the unique opportunity to realize a new and innovative research project that significantly expands my own research spectrum. The support form the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is of great importance to me, as it provides ample room for creative ideas during an important phase of my career.


Lena Burbulla, W2 professor in the Heisenberg Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG) at the department of Metabolic Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine at Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich and at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich.

Photo: Copyright © DZNE/ Frommann

Emerging scientists in Germany are supported by several excellent programmes to start their first independent research group. Yet, similarly equipped follow-up funding to continue the most promising research lines with multiple employees is generally scarce. The new funding programme Rise up! allows me to keep the pace of my early research career. At the beginning of my professorship, I can thus boldly expand promising research lines with the necessary momentum, set new accents, and lay the foundation for long-term contributions to my research field.


Florian I. Schmidt is associate professor at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn. 

Photo: Copyright © Alessandro WInkler, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, 2003

What cannot be funded by the Rise up! programme?

  • Rise up! does not support W2-level research group leaders at non-university research institutions.
  • Rise up! does not replace an associate professor's core funding. The conditions and amounts of core funding have to be guaranteed in writing at the time of submission of the Rise up! proposal.


Do you have any questions?

If you still have questions after referring to the Guidelines for applicants and the Rise up! FAQs, please call us or email us