Deadline: July 14, 2024

Applications are for the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS) Fellow Programme 2025 are now open. RIFS conducts research with the aim of investigating, identifying, and advancing development pathways for transformations towards sustainability. Its research approach is transdisciplinary, transformative, and co-creative. The Institute cooperates with partners in science, political and administrative institutions, the business community, and civil society to develop solutions for sustainability challenges.

The Fellow Programme is among RIFS defining features: each year, around 20 people are invited from across the world to join the Institute. Working closely with their research groups, projects and other fellows, they pursue innovative ideas and topics to advance sustainability transformations. Supported by the Institute in their work and aspirations, fellows are invited to develop their ideas in a supportive international community drawn from all sectors of society. RIFS helps fellows to extend their networks at the national and international levels and provides organizational and financial support for their activities. Fellows will join an ever-growing network of over 300 former fellows from over 50 countries.

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The proposed research or other activities must be complementary to the Institute’s research programme. The thematic focus of the proposed project should engage with topics addressed by at least one of the Institute’s research groups. Applicants are otherwise free in their choice of topic and activities, which may include scientific investigation, the development of policy recommendations or business models, contributing to public discourses and debates, art-making, education and public outreach, or other activities. They strongly encourage applicants to contact relevant research groups before submitting their application in order to gain a better understanding of our research and align their proposal with the work of the group(s). 


  • Fellows are granted a stipend during their time at RIFS. The exact amount is determined by the Fellow’s relative seniority and family circumstances.


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  • They welcome applications from all parts of society, including science, public administration, the private sector, civil society, media and the arts, and from all parts of the world.
  • Applicants from the scientific community are expected to have a PhD or similar level of experience when their fellowship commences.
  • Non-academic applicants should have at least three to five years of relevant work experience in their chosen field.


Your application must include the following documents as individual PDF files, each not exceeding 5MB:  

  • Letter of motivation (max. 2 pages): Explain your motivation for undertaking a fellowship at RIFS, your expectations regarding their research, and how they can support your work. Also specify the research group(s) that your proposed project would engage with. 
  • CV and achievements (max. 3 pages combined): Your CV (max. two pages) should identify the key stations of your career. Outline the key achievements of your professional life on a third page. Refrain from providing personal information such as your age, marital status, number of children, nationality, photos or similar information.
  • Project proposal (max. 5 pages): Describe your planned project, including specific activities and outputs. Proposals should be structured as follows: title, abstract (max. 300 words), description of work, including intended outputs/results, time plan and estimated budget. Do not include your name or any other personal information in this document, as your proposal will be submitted for external review.

An application will only be considered complete, if all of the above documents are submitted.

You may also submit an optional annex (single PDF, max. 10MB), containing any additional information you wish to provide, such as a list of publications, portfolio of artistic output, or other work relevant to the proposal, etc. All documents must be submitted in English.

Click here to apply

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For more information, visit RIFS Fellow Programme.

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