FAQ on the Mercator Scholarships
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the application for the Mercator Scholarships. Further frequently asked questions with regard to our funding programmes and the participation in the Integrated Track, can be found here. If you have any further questions, please contact mercator-stipendium(at)uni-koeln.de.
For general questions relating to the doctoral models at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Cologne, please see the FAQ of the Central Doctoral Office.
Can I apply for the fourth funding year only in case I have been granted a three-year doctoral funding by the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School or the University of Cologne?
No. If you have been granted a three-year scholarship offered by any funding body, you are welcome to apply for the fourth funding year as long as the funding body has no objections to you completing your doctorate at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Cologne. .
What kind of funding do I have to prove in order to be able to apply for the fourth funding year?
We require an official document which proves that you have obtained funding for three years and that you are still in the first year of your doctoral studies by the end of the winter semester 2020/2021. It is irrelevant whether you have been offered a scholarship or a doctoral position (employment). Please provide a scan of the Grant agreement (Scholarship, contract of employment etc.) indicating the starting date of the funding period. If necessary, please clarify in advance if a combination of both funding programmes is possible.
The full three-year funding of my doctoral studies is granted under the condition of a pending successful mid-term evaluation. Can I apply for the forth funding year?
Yes. Even if the three-year funding is only granted under the condition of a pending successful mid-term evaluation, you are welcome to apply for a Mercator Scholarship. Please note that in this case the Mercator Scholarship may only be granted under the condition of the successful mid-term evaluation.
I am a research assistant (Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in) at a university institute. Can I apply for the forth funding year?
To guarantee the successful completion of the programme within the given timeframe, you can only apply for the fourth funding year if you are allowed to spend your complete working hours per week on your doctoral project and if you are still in the first year of your doctoral studies by the end of the winter semester 2020/2021. As the scholarships offered by a.r.t.e.s. are full-time scholarships, part-time work for up to 8 hours/week can be permitted upon written request to the General Management.
Will the University of Cologne be my home university if I am granted the Mercator Scholarship?
Yes. Persons funded by the Mercator programme are enrolled at the University of Cologne and partake in the structured doctoral programme „Integrated Track“. This also applies if only the fourth year is funded by the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School. The participation in the programme requires both the continuous enrolment and the completion of the final doctoral examination at the University of Cologne. Moreover, the first supervisor must be a member of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Cologne who is entitled to confer doctorates. Under certain circumstances, it is possible for candidates to have an external second or third supervisor who is entitled to confer doctorates at another faculty or at other universities in Germany or abroad.
Can I apply for the Mercator Scholarship for a financial support to help me finish my current doctoral dissertation project (‘Abschlussförderung’)?
No. The Mercator Scholarship is designed exclusively for doctoral candidates who pursue a doctoral project with a distinct practical or professional focus that requires additional time to conduct the practice phase in the non-academic institution. Thus, the programme does not provide financial support to enable applicants to finish their current doctoral projects. An application for the fourth funding year is possible by the end of the first year of doctoral studies.
What should be the content of the „Confirmation letter of the proposed non-academic institution“?
With the confirmation letter, the proposed non-academic institution confirms the possibility of a cooperation on the doctoral project, its willingness to host the applicant during the practice phase as well as the candidate’s access to necessary information, collections, etc. Please use the template. The confirmation letter can be submitted later – at the latest by November 17, 2020.
Does the non-academic institution need to meet certain requirements?
No. First and foremost, you have to submit suitable and realistic practice- and profession-oriented research project. Of course, your independence and autonomy need to be guaranteed at any time during the cooperation.
Are there any requirements where the non-academic institution must be located?
No. There are no restrictions. Nevertheless, we recommend to choose an institution inside Germany or in a neighbouring EU country. Please note that the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School is unfortunately not able to cover travel costs.
What is the ‘research proposal for the doctoral dissertation project’ (‘Exposé zum Promotionsprojekt’) with regard to the application for the Mercator Scholarship?
The ‘research proposal for the dissertation project’ is one of the most important parts of your application and offers a concise overview of your doctoral project. It should elaborate aspects such as your research question, thesis, methods and the relevance of your project to your field of research. Moreover, the proposal should provide an explanation of the project’s practice orientation (i.e. its societal relevance and profession orientation. Please also give reasons for choosing the proposed non-academic institution). You should also attach a preliminary bibliography on which you plan to base your research. In terms of formal requirements, the research proposal has to be a cohesive text of 8,000–13,000 characters, including spaces (not counting footnotes, appendix, bibliography and time & work plan for the four-years research period).
Which documents can I submit at a later date and what deadlines apply?
You can submit your university diploma, the report on your degree thesis and the confirmation letter of the proposed non-academic institution by November 17, 2020 by e-mail to mercator-stipendium(at)uni-koeln.de. All other documents must be submitted via the web portal by the application deadline of October 23, 2020 at the latest.
May I simultaneously apply for more than one funding programme?
It is not possible to apply simultaneously for a Mercator Scholarship and for an a.r.t.e.s. Doctoral Scholarship in the winter semester 2020/21.
If you have – successfully or not – applied for a scholarship for the preparation of a doctoral dissertation project in the summer semester 2020, you are eligible to apply for a doctoral scholarship in the Integrated Track or for Mercator Scholarship in the winter semester 2020/21. In this case, you will have to choose between the two funding programmes as it is not possible to apply for both of them simultaneously.
When applying for an a.r.t.e.s. Doctoral Scholarship or for a Mercator Scholarship in the winter semester 2020/21, you may not apply for a scholarship for the preparation of a doctoral dissertation project in summer semester 2021.