Information for early career researchers

Participants of an Oberwolfach Seminar in front of the Boy surface sculpture in OberwolfachPrograms for early career researchers

Two out of the six main programs of the MFO address especially to early career researchers: The short-term program "Oberwolfach Seminars" and the long-term program Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows.

Oberwolfach Seminars

The Oberwolfach Seminars are week-long events for up to 25 participants. They are organized by leading experts in the field and address Ph.D. students and postdocs from all over the world. The aim is to introduce the participants to a particular hot development. The topics are announced at the beginning of each year in our annual schedule. Thanks to the support of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation, travel expenses can be reimbursed up to 150 Euro in average per person. See the details on the application process.

Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows

The focus of the program Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows (OWLF) for postdoctoral researchers is to support outstanding mathematical junior researchers in the realization of own research projects during an important period of their scientific career. Early career researchers, having received their doctoral degree not more than 5 years ago, can apply for a stay from one to three months at Oberwolfach in order to realize a research project either individually or in small groups. Applications can be made at any time. More information can be found in the overview of the program.


Depending on the scientific program you are participating in, we are able to offer several grants covering travel expenses. Early career researchers may for example apply to participate in an Oberwolfach Workshop as

Your eligibility for any of these grants is decided by the MFO, subject to a prior application. Please find details on each grant and information how you can apply in the overview of grants.

Support for families

Having young children it might be difficult to organize a week-long or even longer research stay. Within its capacity, the Institute will try to facilitate your visit with small children. In some cases we will try to provide accomodation in the Institute. In other cases we will provide contacts for suitable accomodations nearby. Furthermore, the Institute can help with finding and funding child support (baby sitting, child care arrangements), if necessary. Please, see the information leaflet and send us the filled in application form in due time prior to your stay. Kindly note, that the accomodation of older children and other accompanying persons at the Institute will unfortunately not be possible.

If you stay at the Institute with small children, the reception can provide further information about the facilities available on site.

Further hints and external resources

The Leibniz PostDoc Network has prepared a "Welcome Package for PostDocs" (PDF) -  a document with general information on the stay in Germany, the academic work life in Germany and special support programs within the Leibniz Association. The Welcome Package document was prepared by PostDocs for PostDocs.

Please check also our information pages on funding opportunities in Germany and our cooperations with other institutions.

Group of early career researchers in front of the Boy surface in Oberwolfach

Experiences of other early career researchers

Early career researchers can benefit from our scientific program in various ways. In many cases a stay in Oberwolfach was the bridge for the further research career. People often mention the excellent networking possibilities and the inspiring and supportive atmosphere. Here are some of their impressions from a survey of 2015 and from reports of former Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows:

“Time passed extremely quickly, but I was more productive than in any other five weeks this year.”

“The Leibniz fellowship is probably unique in being able to offer young researchers the opportunity to talk with so many different mathematicians. As a consequence, we now have a joint research project.”

"I invited three of my collaborators and we were able to start a new project in one case and finish one in the other case."

"[...] my stay at the MFO was by far the best time in my whole scientific life. The impact on my scientific career was huge: - An OWP report I published was the basis for my habilitation in Germany. - I had the time to introduce myself in new areas of research. - I started collaborations with different researchers."

"The Oberwolfach Workshop had a huge impact on my scientific career. I had an opportunity to meet in person so many people in my area of research, including several with whom I've moved on to have several joint papers and many more from whom I've received important professional advice and seminar invitations. The talks exposed me to many possible topics related to my research program. The ideas and contacts I've initiated during my MFO stay have powered my research program for several years."

"[...] My first visit was before I received my PhD and my last was after I had become Professor. Along the way, the interactions at Oberwolfach inspired my research [...] Thank you Oberwolfach."

More impressions can be found in the reports of former Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows. Furthermore, in our annual report of 2016 we published an interesting interview with Eleonore Faber.