Lower Saxony – Scotland
Tandem Fellowship Programme

The Lower Saxony – Scotland Tandem Fellowship Programme is an excellent opportunity for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to conduct joint research at the most recognised higher education institutions in Lower Saxony and Scotland. 

The promotion of internationalisation and competence building is a central component of the programme. It leads to cross-border European cooperation in science and research, strengthens both regions as producers of excellent knowledge in the European environment as well as deepens the links between participating higher education institutions.

ECAS offers two different types of fellowships within this programme distinguished by the target group and the deadline for submitting the joint project proposals: 

    1. The first type is the fellowship for tandems of postdoctoral researchers who must have received their doctoral certificates no more than ten years prior to the publication of the respective open call. The application deadline for the current call for this particular fellowship is 31 March 2023.
    2. The second type is the fellowship aimed at doctoral students, for which the application deadline is 15 April 2023. There is no restriction on the time frame or duration of doctoral studies prior to the application for the programme.

As the details of each separate call for proposals differ according to the type of applicants envisaged, we recommend that you review all the sections  and documents available below in order to obtain tailored information for the call that suits you best.


The programme is funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK) and supported by participating Scottish universities in accompanying functions, including logistical and technical assistance as well as providing an academic collaborator.

The fellowship of up to 1,400 Euro per month is paid in addition to a regular employment contract between a fellow and a respective Lower Saxonian or Scottish higher education institution. The funds are designated to support each researcher during their stay abroad, which can be planned and separated into shorter individual stays throughout the duration of the whole fellowship (eight months). The grant enables each researcher to spend up to four months at their partner institution. 

During the stay, the tandems can intensify their collaboration by working on the joint project, presenting concrete results and, potentially, preparing an application for third-party funding.


Project proposals are invited from tandems composed of two applicants representing the same type of early research career, either:

    • Postdoctoral researchers or individuals with a postdoctoral position who have completed their PhD within the last ten years,


    • Doctoral students

Regardless of the type of researcher mentioned above (postdoctoral or doctoral), each applicant must have an employment contract (extending over the duration of the proposed fellowship) with a Lower Saxonian or Scottish university, university of applied sciences or recognised higher education institution.


All proposals must be submitted in English, using the application form provided on our website. Each tandem partner must complete and submit a separate application form (including all required documents) via email at: fellowship@ecas-academia.org. There are no restrictions regarding the choice of theme or subject. 

Please bear in mind that your application will be assessed by all members of the Selection Committee, who may or may not have advanced or limited knowledge in your particular field of expertise. Proposals should therefore be comprehensible and, if possible, written in terms accessible to the educated non-expert.

Required Documents:

1. Postdoctoral researchers:

      • CV.
      • PhD/Dr. (med.) certificate/M.D. certificate.
      • List of most important publications.
      • Detailed description of the tandem research project (max. 4 pages; written in Times New Roman (size 12) or Arial (size 11) font with single line spacing in between), incl.:
        – substantiation that the selection criteria are met,
        – timeline and roadmap for planned stays at your partner’s institution (max. four months per fellow),
        – description of the state of research in the relevant field.
      • Confirmation of an employment contract with the Scottish/Lower Saxonian home institution as well as the declaration exemption from work for the entire period of the stay abroad (for more information please see: application form).

2. Doctoral students:

      • CV.
      • Master’s degree and a confirmation of the admission to doctoral studies.
      • List of most important publications.
      • Detailed description of the tandem research project (max. 4 pages; written in Times New Roman (size 12) or Arial (size 11) font with single line spacing in between), incl.:
        – substantiation that the selection criteria are met,
        – timeline and roadmap for planned stays at your partner’s institution (max. four months per fellow),
        – description of the state of research in the relevant field.
      • Confirmation of an employment contract with the Scottish/Lower Saxonian home institution as well as the declaration exemption from work for the entire period of the stay abroad (for more information please see: application form).

Please remember that the application must be signed by the Dean/Head of School/Head of Faculty/the applicants’ line manager of home and host institution.


The selection is made according to the following criteria: 

I Impact on Lower Saxony, Scotland & Society (20%)
II Excellence, Quality & Academic Output (40%)
III Feasibility (20%)
IV Sustainability (20%)

Please note the percentage distribution of each individual criterion indicated in brackets at the end of all the individual criteria listed above. 

Important: Please refer to all criteria in your application form (section: Project Description) and demonstrate how exactly your project meets and fulfils each individual selection criterion.


The application period is currently open for two different types of fellowship, each of which requires a different call and application form (you can download the files by clicking on the respective button on the top of this page). In addition, these two open calls have different deadlines for the submission of project proposals, namely:

    • Postdoctoral researchers are invited to submit their proposals by 31 March 2023,


    • Doctoral students have time to do so until 15 April 2023

Regardless of the type of fellowship and the relevant deadline, all applicants must submit their proposals and required documents by email to: fellowship@ecas-academia.org.

All fellowships currently offered cover a period of maximum eight months – starting on 1 May 2023 and ending on 31 December 2023. Applicants must ensure that they plan their research stay within the stated time frame.


During each application period, ECAS offers and hosts multiple Information Zoom Sessions on all current open calls.

These sessions are a unique opportunity for all researchers interested in international projects across the North Sea, as well as for all academic staff and international services to learn more not only about the development of the programme, but also about other ECAS activities.

Please find the details of the upcoming Zoom session regarding the details of the open call for doctoral students below:

Date: 3 April 2023 (Monday)
Time: 13:00 – 14:00 CET / 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm GMT
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86732009363
Meeting-ID: 867 3200 9363

The last session on the call for the postdoctoral researchers took place on 15 March 2023.

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Technical University of Braunschweig
  • Technical University of Clausthal
  • University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Göttingen
  • University Medical Center Göttingen
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University Hannover
  • Hannover Medical School
  • Heriot Watt University
  • University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen
  • University of Hildesheim 
  • Jade University of Applied Sciences
  • Leuphana University of Lüneburg 
  • Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
  • University of Osnabrück
  • University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück 
  • University of St Andrews 
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Vechta
  • University of the West of Scotland

(this list is constantly being expanded)

For further information, please check the Academic Matching Tool here.


Each member of the Selection Committee for the Lower Saxony – Scotland Tandem Fellowship Programme represents a different field of research and offers a unique insight into their area of expertise. The aim of such an interdisciplinary committee is to fairly evaluate the merits of each applicant and identify the most suitable projects for the programme. 

Prof. Hiltraud Casper-Hehne
Hiltraud Casper-Hehne is Professor of Intercultural German Studies/Linguistics at the University of Göttingen. She was Vice-President for Research and International Affairs since April 2009 and Vice-President for International Affairs at the same institution since April 2011. Moreover, since April 2021, she has held the position of the University Representative for International Affairs. She gained her PhD from the Institute of German Linguistics. In 2003, Prof. Casper-Hehne completed her habilitation on intercultural everyday communication.

Prof. James Conroy
James Conroy is Professor of Religious and Philosophical Education (Pedagogy, Praxis & Faith) and Vice Principal (Internationalisation) at the University of Glasgow. He also serves as the Academic Director of ECAS. Prior to his appointment as Vice Principal, Prof. Conroy was Dean of the School of Education. From 2013 to 2021, he was appointed Dean of Global Engagement for Europe at the University of Glasgow.

Prof. Simone Pika
Simone Pika is Professor for Comparative Cognitive Biology at the University of Osnabrück. She earned her PhD from the Westphalian Wilhelms-University of Münster and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. This was followed by positions as postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta in Canada, the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and Assistant Professor at the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester in England. In 2010, Prof. Pika was awarded with a Sofja-Kovalevskaja award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and in 2017 with an ERC-Consolidator Grant of the EU.

Prof. Jörg Philipp Terhechte
Jörg Philipp Terhechte is Professor of Public, European and International Law at and Vice President of Leuphana University of Lüneburg as well as a lecturer at the University of Glasgow. He also holds the position of the Academic Director of ECAS. Since 2021, he is a visiting professor at the University of St Andrews.

Prof. Neville Wylie
Neville Wylie is Deputy Principal (Internationalisation) and Professor of International History at the University of Stirling. He graduated in Medieval and Modern History from the King’s College London. Subsequently, he transferred to the University of Cambridge where he gained his MPhil in International Relations (1990) and a PhD in International History (1994).

Dr Marcus Beiner
Marcus Beiner is the Deputy Head of Department “Research, Innovation and Europe” of the Lower Saxonian Ministry of Science and Culture. In this role, he leads the Europe and International Affairs Division. Dr Beiner studied philosophy, literature, and history, and dedicated two decades towards working in science management. 

(In an advisory capacity)


The application documents remain with ECAS and become its property. The applicants’ data will be stored in accordance with the German Federal Data Protection Act and the EU Data Protection Regulation, insofar as they are necessary for processing the application or the fellowship. The documents of unsuccessful applicants will be deleted and destroyed after a reasonable period of time.

  • If you do not yet have a partner, but wish to submit an excellent project idea, ECAS will support you prior to the deadline in identifying suitable partner institutions in Lower Saxony or Scotland. 
  • ECAS reserves the right not to consider incomplete applications. The applicants are responsible for the timely submission of complete documentation.

GENERAL for all applicants


Who may apply for the fellowship programme?
The Tandem Fellowship Programme is open to the postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students, who:

      • are citizens or permanent residents of an EU Member State or the United Kingdom (should you need a residence permit for the research stay in the other region, you must obtain it yourself),
      • are employed at a Lower Saxonian or Scottish higher education institution.

Can we (as a Tandem) apply with any chosen subject area?
Yes, the programme is open to all subjects and explicitly promotes interdisciplinary research approaches.

How do I proceed if I am lacking a tandem partner?
ECAS is happy to help you find a suitable tandem partner. Please contact us in this regard in due time before the respective application deadline.

Do I need to obtain and submit a language certificate?
A language certificate is not compulsory for this programme, even though the English language skills will be indispensable for conducting the project. The Selection Committee will assess your language skills based on the quality of your application.

What happens to my application documents after I have submitted them?
The application documents remain with ECAS and become its property. The applicants’ data will be stored in accordance with the German Federal Data Protection Act and the EU Data Protection Regulation, insofar as they are necessary for processing the application or the fellowship. The documents of unsuccessful applicants will be deleted or destroyed after an appropriate period of time.

Do I have to submit my certificates as originals or certified copies?
No, please submit only simple copies (scans) of your certificates.

Parts of my application documents are in German. Can I submit the application partly in German language?
No, if you do not have a translation, please translate the documents yourself and then submit the document in both language versions.

Do both my tandem partner and I have to complete and submit Annex 4 of the application form?
It is sufficient if only one of the partners sends a copy of the completed Annex 4, while the other partner clearly indicates that the said annex is included in the application in the other correlated application.

Who is the academic collaborator that we should propose in the application form?
You must propose an academic who will be available to you and your project in an advisory capacity as an academic collaborator. This person must be employed at a participating Scottish institution, although not necessarily at the home institution of the Scottish tandem partner. As the main tasks of the academic collaborator are to support the content of your project and to introduce the tandem to the research network, we recommend that you propose a person from your research environment. 

Please note that an academic collaborator is not your tandem partner. It is a person who will supervise your project in case you need support of this kind. 


Can I receive this fellowship as a holder of another funding programme?
No, in principle not. However, there are grants that may be compatible with the Lower Saxony – Scotland Tandem Fellowship Programme. Please send us an email explaining the premise and regulations of other funding in question at: fellowship@ecas-academia.org. We can only provide information about possible compatibility or lack thereof on a case-by-case basis.

Who makes final decisions regarding the acceptance of rejection of submitted applications and how is the selection justified?
ECAS has convened an interdisciplinary Selection Committee with an excellent expertise, which thoroughly reviews each individual application and decides on the awarding of the fellowships. (For more information see: “Selection Committee”).
The variety of selection criteria, their weighting among each other and the guarantee of confidentiality of the decision-making process in the Selection Committee means that the decisions cannot be explained in detail to the applicants. However, we may provide you with a written breakdown of the assessment of your application after the decision has been made.

Will there be any personal interviews conducted as part of the application and selection process? What does a personal presentation to the Selection Committee look like?
The Selection Committee is free to invite applicants for interviews, should this be necessary. An interview usually takes place as an online video conference, and its main premise is to give the committee the opportunity to ask questions about your application. Should an interview be required, the invitation will be sent out in good time so that you can save the date accordingly.


Do I need a visa for a stay abroad in Germany or the UK?
Please make sure independently that all documents required for your entry and intended stay have been applied for in advance and are available before you travel. The ECAS Post-Brexit Information Hub may provide answers to some of your questions on this topic: https://ecas-academia.org/post-brexit-information-hub/.

Who is in charge of the health, accident and personal liability insurance?
Insurance is not included in the fellowship benefits. Please take out insurance at your own expense – if you do so, please provide us with proof that all necessary insurance policies are in place before you start your stay abroad.

Can I be accompanied by my family during the research stay?
Of course, your family can travel with you and your host institution – if informed in due time – will try to provide assistance regarding their stay abroad. However, please contact the relevant offices yourself well in advance of your trip in order to plan your family’s stay in the host region.


How long can the whole joint fellowship be?
The maximum duration of the currently offered fellowship extends over the period of the following eight months: 1 May 2023 – 31 December 2023. 

How much time can each fellowship holder spend at their tandem partner’s institution abroad?
As the entire fellowship can last up to eight months per tandem, each fellow is invited to travel for a maximum of four months. The research stay can be continuous or split into shorter stays, depending on the individual schedule and not exceeding a total of four months per person.
Example: You are a researcher from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg with a tandem partner at the University of Glasgow. You apply for the Tandem Fellowship Programme with the intention to spend a total of four months researching in Scotland at your partner’s institution. As it might be difficult for you to relocate for four consecutive months, you decide to divide the planned stay abroad into shorter sections spread over the duration of the entire fellowships as follows: Travel A:  1 June – 31 July 2023 and Travel B: 1 October – 30 November 2023. 

How high is the monthly grant?
The monthly fellowship amounts to a lump sum of 1,400 Euro per fellow, which compensates for additional expenses for the stay at the other location. It might not be possible for the fellowship to cover the entire cost of living, therefore an existing contract with the home institution is a prerequisite for application, as salaries from this employment are not counted towards the fellowship. At particularly expensive locations, a certain personal contribution may be necessary, since the fellowship only covers additional requirements.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to increase the fellowship rate to cover individually justified additional needs (e.g. for families). It is also not possible to apply for individual benefits such as visa fees. If the period of the stay abroad does not extend over exactly one or more months (due to a short stay or the split up of the stay abroad) the fellowship will be granted on a pro-rata basis for the incomplete month.


What happens in case I get sick before or during my fellowship stay and am not able to go to the host institution or work on the project?
Please inform ECAS immediately at: fellowship@ecas-academia.org or ECAS Academic Coordinator Karolina Michniewicz directly at: michniewicz@ecas-academia.org and we will do our best to find a solution.

What happens if I cannot travel at the submitted and approved time and would like to postpone my stay? What if I have to cancel my research play completely?
We are well aware that managing schedules with different professional and personal factors can be difficult and challenging. Therefore, we are always available to discuss your options individually. In any case, please inform ECAS immediately at: fellowship@ecas-academia.org or michniewicz@ecas-academia.org and we will do our best to find a solution.

What happens if my tandem partner is withdrawing from the programme?
It depends on when your tandem partner withdraws their participation. Please contact ECAS immediately to discuss the situation and find a solution: fellowship@ecas-academia.org or michniewicz@ecas-academia.org

What happens if my partner and I fail to set up a research project as a result of the fellowship?
The implementation of the research project is a precondition for the granting of the fellowship. Please consider the agreements of the fellowship contract.

What happens to my teaching obligation during my research stay?
You can continue to fulfil your teaching obligations. Please talk about the details with your home institution and agree here individually how any obligations will or will not continue to be fulfilled. However, the essential requirement is that these obligations do not jeopardise the research project supported by the fellowship in any way. Please consider the agreements of the fellowship contract.

I would like to get a part-time job abroad and earn some extra money. Is this possible and will the salary count towards the fellowship?
Please indicate any additional jobs in the host region to ECAS. The prerequisite is that the secondary employment does not interrupt the research project supported by the fellowship in any way.

Additional information for the POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS

The admission criteria state that the dissertation may not date back more than ten years. From what exact point in time is this date counted?
This depends on the publishing of the respective open call. The general rule is that you should have obtained your doctoral degree ten years prior to the said publication date. Since the current open call for the postdoctoral researchers was announced in November 2022, we count ten years back to November 2012.  

I have not yet received my doctoral certificate – can I still apply?
Yes, you can still submit your application. However, you must have successfully defended your dissertation by the deadline of the respective call. If this is the case, please state this in your application and put forward a confirmation from your institution that you will be awarded your doctorate. Please submit your certificate as soon as you receive it.


If you have any questions about the above or require more general support regarding the programme and application process, please contact Karolina Michniewicz (ECAS Academic Coordinator) at:

E-Mail: michniewicz@ecas-academia.org or fellowship@ecas-academia.org

Phone: +49 152 3897 3666 or +49 4131 677 1913