Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows


The focus of this 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. The MFO offers undisturbed working conditions with an excellent infrastructure embedded in an international environment.

Junior 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. The MFO offers a scholarship support (optional, up to a postdoctoral financing, depending on an existing position), including full board and lodging. The fellowship at the MFO can be combined with a postdoc position elsewhere. It is also possible to apply for an additional OWLF research stay in conjunction with an invitation to a workshop, mini-workshop or study group at the MFO.

Please find some impressions from Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows of the past years in the list of the fellows.

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Opportunities and Conditions

The MFO provides working space for postdocs for totally 100 person-weeks per year. The duration of a stay in Oberwolfach can be from one to three months and can be split into at most two periods within one year after approval. It is the intention of this program to enable shorter but more intensive research phases with a perspective exceeding the duration of the stay at the MFO. The possibility to visit Oberwolfach Workshops in the own field of research during an OWLF stay is a plus of this program.

The Institute wishes to increase the number of female participants. Female mathematicians are strongly encouraged to apply.

In order to take into consideration the special needs of the postdocs the program is set up very versatile and flexible, and aims at:

  1. Individual persons, realizing a larger project (e.g. revision of the dissertation prior to its publication, finalization of a large research project)
  2. Small groups of two to four persons (also from different countries), applying for a common project or for a project with related subjects that can be realized during a common research stay at Oberwolfach.
  3. Applications of postdocs together with an established senior researcher (e.g. the advisor of the dissertation), who will also stay at the MFO for shorter periods.
  4. Support of research stays in order to conduct a large project (e.g. for a Heisenberg fellowship of the DFG or of other, also international, funding institutions or universities)
  5. Common funding of postdocs together with universities, Max-Planck-Institutes and other research centres so that the total duration of the fellowship will cover a period of at least one year.

In order to foster the contacts of the postdocs with active research groups at universities and other research centres, the research stay at Oberwolfach can be split into two periods not less than one month. Small research groups should spend at least half of the stay together at Oberwolfach. The period of the research stay can also be proposed depending on the date of Oberwolfach workshops, mini-workshops or seminars that are close to the fellow’s field of scientific research.

The financing of the Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows is usually provided by a scholarship support for the duration of the stay at the MFO. During the stay at the MFO a short trip (1-2 weeks) to a nearby university or conference in connection with the research project will be possible, in agreement with the Institute’s Vice Director.

Researchers not being an Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellow who wish to work together with the postdocs at the Institute are offered free board and lodging at the MFO provided the stay has been approved together with the application of the Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellow. Subsequent applications are possible. In this way, it is possible to invite up to 4 collaborators to the MFO (subject to the capacity of the MFO).

Application within the European Post-Doctoral Institute (EPDI)

An application as an Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellow can also be arranged through an application within the European Post-Doctoral Institute [more].

Cooperation with universities and research centers

A special importance is given to the cooperation with universities and research centres from which both sides can benefit: The Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellows by a longer funding and by a close cooperation with a research group in the own field of scientific research. The research centre by a partial financing and by the attraction for outstanding scientists that is given by the cooperation with the MFO. Recognized institutions offering their own postdoctoral programmes do have the possibility to propose candidates to the MFO for a common funding, that will find special consideration by the MFO’s selection process.


Applications should be made to the Vice Director of the MFO with a specified research project. As the Oberwolfach Leibniz Fellowships are rather special, the applicants should give specific reasons for the expected benefit from the other Oberwolfach programs during the proposed stay.

The evaluation of the application is done by the Scientific Committee of the MFO in cooperation with the Institute’s Vice Director. Applications can be made at any time. The evaluation will take about two months after having received the complete set of documents.

  • Application form (including dates for the proposed visit)
  • Research statement and plan for the visit (3 - 10 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Publication list
  • Copies (pdf) of 1 - 4 most significant papers
  • Two letters of recommendation (to be sent directly to the MFO by the respondents)

Applications should be sent to the Vice Director of the Institute, preferably by e-mail to owlf@mfo.de, with attachments in pdf format.

Publication of Results

The MFO publishes the series Oberwolfach Preprints (OWP), which mainly contains research results related to a longer stay in Oberwolfach. In particular, this concerns the OWLF program.

Moreover, fellows should submit a short report (about one page) after their stay at Oberwolfach with a description of the scientific activities during their fellowship, which can also include some personal review on the stay at the MFO. This report will be made public on our web page.