Information for Berlin Fellows


  • Internal LIFE fellows receive their regular doctoral stipend during their stay abroad.
  • External LIFE fellows must apply for financial support at their own funding institution first. Only if they do not get any funding from this institution, can they apply for LIFE funds.
  • Start organizing your stay abroad about half a year before you plan to leave!

What to Do to Organize your Trip

  • Contact a researcher at one of our partner institutions and agree about a possible collaboration/your cooperation within an existing project/the research you will be doing overseas
  • Inform the local coordinator about your plans
  • Get a written invitation from the researcher abroad briefly describing your collaboration
  • Talk to your advisor and ask her/him for a written approval
  • For MPIB fellows: also talk to your Center's director or Research Group head and get his or her approval
  • Write an application to the "Leitungskonferenz" of the MPIB (keep in mind that they meet only once a month!)
  • In the letter, state briefly with whom you are going to work and what you are going to do during your stay and mention that both your advisor and the inviting researcher have approved your plans (attach their letters).
  • In terms of budget, please list visa fee and flight costs.
  • Regarding health insurance, please ask the inviting institution about their rules. At the University of Michigan, for instance, you have to prove that your insurance covers as much as the University's insurance does. Otherwise you have to contract the University insurance (most often required by the University). For more information see the homepage of the International Center of the University of Michigan.
  • For the application, add a project proposal in which you describe in more depth what your research plans are for the stay abroad.
  • Pass your letter, the proposal, and the letters from your advisor and the inviting researcher on to Silke Schäfer who will forward it to the "Leitungskonferenz" via Ulman Lindenberger.
  • As soon as you have received the official answer of the "Leitungskonferenz" (or, alternatively, Ulman Lindenberger's OK) you can book your flights. LIFE fellows paid by the MPIB can book their flights with the travel agency used by the MPIB. In that case you do not have to advance money on loan. Please send a copy of the approval of the "Leitungskonferenz" to .
  • In addition, you can now arrange all visa and insurance issues. Contact the LIFE coordinator of the host university. They will be supporting you.
  • And, please, get in contact with the inviting University's international office that will help you especially with the visa requirements and the University's health insurance rules. The visa procedure takes about six to eight weeks (you have to get papers from the inviting University sent over, then an appointment will be scheduled at the embassy, afterwards they'll send you the visa).
  • If you want to learn about fellows' experiences with this procedure you can ask Silke Schäfer for a list of fellows who have been on a research stay and find out more from them.

Based on Berlin Fellows' Experiences

Check whether the university accepts a tourist visa or you need a special one, e.g., a J1-visa is required by UVA.

For the J1-Visa following steps are necessary:

Keep in mind that the fees mentioned are likely to rise over time!

Don't forget to take care of your health care insurance (if required by host university; see above). See

Go to Editor View