Fellowship FAQ

Fellowship FAQ

Eligibility


The Fellowships are intended for applicants whose PhD thesis is close to completion (see question 2) or those at a postdoctoral level who have obtained their doctorate within the last 10 years. Unfortunately, we do not offer Fellowships for PhD students.


A PhD thesis is close to completion if the applicant has completed the research and writing phases and is in the stages of review during the time of application for the Fellowship. A brief summary of the expected amount of work to complete the thesis should be included in the application.


Not as such. Applicants for re:constitution Fellowships should be in the early stages of their career, either as a scholar (of law/legal studies or political sciences, social sciences, philosophy or other neighbouring disciplines) focusing on legal issues, the rule of law and/or democracy in Europe or as a practitioner with a relevant university degree. For practitioners, a PhD is not required.


No. It is important to be a RESIDENT of the European Union, a non-EU EEA country, a EU candidate country in active accession negotiations or pursuing the start of negotiations, the United Kingdom or Switzerland for the duration of the Fellowship. EU candidate countries in the context of the re:constitution Call for Applications include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. You do not need to be a citizen of one of these countries in order to be eligible for the Fellowship.


EU candidate countries in active accession negotiations or pursuing the start of negotiations” in the context of the re:constitution Call for Applications include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.


We accept applications from scholars whose PhD has been obtained no longer than approx. 10 years ago. This includes the possibility that you may already have completed your habilitation project. As a practitioner, you should have obtained a university degree and relevant practical experience.

Application


No, we do not expect any formal letters or confirmations of acceptance by your potential host institutions. We recommend applicants to reach out to host institutions of their choice before or during the application process, so that in case of success the visit could be arranged more smoothly.


There is no need to send us any samples of your academic work or recommendation letters along with your application. However, in the application platform you will be asked to name two references.


Yes. A short bibliography should be part of your project outline.


No. You are not expected to have published articles prior to your application but you can of course mention (forthcoming) publications in your CV.


This is not strictly necessary. If you apply, you will be asked to enter your current affiliation. This helps the reviewers to find out about your current role at the time of the application. As careers progress quickly, we understand that your affiliation is also subject to changes during the Fellowship.


No. You can only hand in an application for one track per application period. Track 1 is open to both applicants with an academic profile/track record and applicants from practice. Track 2 is reserved exclusively to applicants working in practical work environments.

Mobility Phase/s


re:constitution invites applications for Fellowships once a year. The Fellowships will be awarded for the period from October 2024 to July 2025 and comprise two tracks:

Track 1: “Full-time” Fellowships

During the Fellowship, you will spend a mobility period of 6 months in total including research stays at two institutions/organisations in another European country than the one you normally reside in (in the EU, non EU-EEA, EU candidate countries, the United Kingdom or Switzerland). You can take your periods of mobility flexibly between October 2024 and July 2025. You do not have to spend the whole Fellowship year abroad! You will receive the stipend for your 6-month mobility period only. The stipend covers all of your costs for working and living in another European country. Please note that both mobility periods are integral to the Fellowship.

Additionally, Fellows in Track 1 are required to attend three Fellows’ Exchange Meetings: in October 2024 (in Berlin), February (online) and June 2025 at a European location (outside of Germany).

Track 2: “Part-time” Fellowships

During the Fellowship, you will spend a mobility period of 3 months full-time or 6 months part-time for a research stay at one host institution in another European country than the one you normally reside in (in the EU, non EU-EEA, EU candidate countries, the United Kingdom or Switzerland). You can take this period of mobility flexibly between October 2024 and July 2025. You will receive your stipend for this one mobility period only: The sum is either 2.500,- € per mobility month to cover a 3-month full-time mobility phase, 1.250,- € per mobility month to cover a 6-month part-time mobility phase. The stipend covers all of your costs for working and living in another European country. Please note that this mobility period is integral to the Fellowship.

Additionally, Fellows in Track 2 are required to attend at least two out of the three Fellows’ Exchange Meetings. Participation in the kick-off meeting in October 2024 in Berlin is mandatory. Subsequently, at least one of the two remaining meetings needs to be attended, either in February (online) or in June 2025 at a European location outside of Germany.

During these meetings, they will get to know the other Fellows and discuss topics related to democracy and the rule of law with each other and with other guests. The costs for these meetings will be covered by the programme entirely – independently of the stipend.

Fellows of both tracks present their re:constitution research project in the Online Fellow Talk series. While Track 1 Fellows need to ensure their full participation in all the Fellow Talks in the series, participation in as many sessions as possible is appreciated, but not mandatory for Track 2 Fellows. 


For Track 1: No. You need to split your mobility phase in order to spend two shorter periods in different work environments, e.g. spending 3 months at a university and 3 months at an NGO. The differentiation between academic and practical work environments at two host institutions is important, because you will be able to engage with a range of experts from various backgrounds, which will be beneficial for your project and your personal development. In the application form, you need to mention two potential institutions. There is also a degree of flexibility, e.g. if your initial plans are no longer possible for some reason, then you will be able to change your host institutions during the course of the Fellowship (see question 3).

For Track 2: Yes, because Fellows in Track 2 carry out one single mobility phase at one host institution. Since the Fellowships are designed to converge academia and practice, we encourage practitioners to approach host institutions in academia if beneficial to their projects. Further collaboration with another institution or other institutions during this time is not required, but optional.   


For Track 1: No, you need to spend two individual mobility phases in two different work environments, one in academia and one institution in a practical environment, no matter what your personal background may be. The re:constitution Fellowships follow the general objective of bridging the gap between the academic and the practical “worlds”. You should therefore be willing to spend time both in an academic institution and an institution of (legal) practice.

For Track 2: You are free to choose the most suitable host institution related to your research project and topics of interest. In accordance with the programme objective of bridging the gap between academia and practice, we encourage Fellows to step out of their usual work environments. Therefore, we encourage Fellows in Track 2 to approach host institutions in academia if beneficial to their projects.


International mobility is a core element of the re:constitution Fellowships, so it is preferable that you spend most of the time in the city/country of your host institution. However, this depends on your obligations at your home institution and on the flexibility of your host institution. The aim of the Fellowship and the three/six-month mobility phases is to work on your personal project outside of your usual work environment. Therefore, we strongly encourage the personal exchange with other European traditions in other EU member countries, which should be evident in your mobility plans. Nevertheless, we try to be flexible concerning the demands of future Fellows and are trying our best to find a solution that is suitable for everyone. In the outline of your project and your preferred host institutions, you could add a suggestion on how you would like to plan your stay abroad.


You can spend your mobility phases in all EU member states, non-EU EEA countries, EU candidate countries in active accession negotiations or pursuing the start of negotiations and also in the United Kingdom or Switzerland. You are free to choose the type of institution according to your track, e.g. a court, a lawyer’s office, a specialised NGO, a (local) government body or think tank, a university, an academic institute, a law department that is relevant to the topic of your project. Please see the host institution(s) selected by previous re:constitution Fellows in our Fellowfinder here on our website or via our network map.


No, this is not required, though we recommend to all applicants to reach out to potential host institutions in advance to find out about their conditions for a short-term research stay.


When applying for the Fellowship, you will be asked to name your potential host institutions. Personal contacts are not required initially, but it might be an option to check beforehand whether there is any interest in welcoming you and cooperating with you on your project. We recommend applicants to reach out to host institutions of their choice before or during the application process, so that in case of success the visit could be arranged more smoothly.


The period of 6 months can be chosen individually according to the Fellows' personal preferences and other obligations, to take place during the period from October 2024 to July 2025. There are several possibilities for splitting the mobility phase, i.e. 2 months at host institution A starting in November 2024, then 4 months at host institution B from March to June 2025, etc. It is not required to split the time evenly into two 3-month periods.


No, absolutely not. We welcome as much international mobility as possible (see question 3).


The search for accommodation should be organized individually, but initial support by the re:constitution coordination team is possible.


This will impossible once you have been offered a Fellowship, as we have a fixed amount of Fellowships and respective funding available for each track. However, during the application period, please reach out to us in case you would like to correct and change your application before the deadline – even after you have submitted it.


We strongly encourage all Fellows to spend as much time as possible in-person at their host institution(s). In case of changing personal circumstances and in close consultation with the re:constitution coordination team, a combination of personal and remote collaboration with host institutions may be possible.

Stipend


No. You will receive the stipend only for your period of mobility according to the specifications of the preferred track: Track 1 offers an overall mobility period of six months, to be spent at two separate host institutions; Track 2 offers a mobility period of three months on a full-time basis and six months on a part-time basis. During these mobility phase(s) you will spend your research stay(s) in other European countries than the one you reside in. This mobility phase is the core element of the Fellowship, and with the stipend corresponding with your mobility phase we want to ensure that you can focus on exchange and debate with your cooperation partners at your host institutions about your project and beyond.


By accepting the Fellowship the Fellow commits himself/herself to adhere to the standards of a German public science institution, i.e. a researcher cannot receive two or more stipends simultaneously. Double funding, i.e. receiving an additional scholarship from German public funds, is not permitted. The Forum Transregionale Studien that organises the re:constitution Fellowships reserves the right to terminate or interrupt the Fellowship in such cases.


In principle, you can accommodate a re:constitution Fellowship with employment, i.e. at a university, but especially during the mobility phase, it may be more difficult to accommodate both. Based on our experience, it might be good to check before the start of the Fellowship if your employer supports you in pursuing such a project, or if it might be necessary to come to an agreement about the terms and conditions of your absence. For example, some organisations suggest a period of unpaid leave or reduced working hours, meaning that you can stay employed during the time of your mobility phase.

As the stipend is an additional type of income, it might be worth checking with your financial authorities beforehand if there are any rules or regulations regarding double income. Since the taxation of income varies between countries, we strongly encourage Fellows to seek the advice of a financial expert in their home country regarding the receipt of the stipend and related questions like the declaration of the stipend as an additional source of income. Unfortunately, we cannot offer any advice on tax-related issues.


The stipend which you will receive during the mobility periods is intended to cover your living expenses abroad, so you do not need to pay the travel and accommodation costs related to the Fellows’ meetings yourself. The re:constitution programme covers all travel and accommodation expenses to enable the Fellows to attend these exchange meetings.

Review Process


All applications will be reviewed by an independent evaluation committee of members of the re:constitution Advisory Board, partner organisations and alumni.


The re:constitution evaluation committee considers every application in terms of plausibility of the outlined project in relation to the objectives of the programme (as indicated in the call); and the relevance and quality of the applicants' qualification and/or practical training and experiences for the Fellowship. Therefore, you should clearly outline your ideas for your project and describe the potential impact of the proposed project. All applications for re:constitution Fellowships undergo the same evaluation process in general, but the reviewers will distinguish between Tracks 1 and 2. We aim to put together a diverse group of 15 early career experts from academia and practice who jointly constitute the re:constitution cohort of Fellows for 2024/2025.