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Frequently Asked Questions

Please see our list of Frequently Asked Questions for further information about the program.

Any additional questions should be sent to with the subject line “Question” and we will respond as soon as possible.

Why fund team projects rather than individuals? Science is an inherently collaborative enterprise, with innovations often arising through the integration of diverse perspectives and skill sets. Yet, the structure of academia and of conventional funding schemes (especially at the postdoctoral level) are typically set up to promote individuals rather than teams. In the new Ecology of Animal Societies Department, we aim to create an integrated, collaborative, and interdisciplinary research community, and the teams funded through this grant will form a core component of this growing community.

How will applications be evaluated? Applications will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed research, the previous records of the applicants, the apparent ability of the team to carry out the project, and the fit of the research topic to the department. We aim to support projects that are truly integrative, with all team members contributing in a synergistic manner (rather than individual projects that run “in parallel” with little interaction).

Do all team members have to be based in Konstanz? No, however at least one team member must be based at the University of Konstanz / MPIAB during the project. Team members based at other institutions can be included, however they cannot receive salary support.

Are teams allowed to have additional collaborators (beyond the 2-3 postdocs who will receive salary from the grant)? Yes, additional collaborators are welcome. Please provide letters of support from any additional collaborators, in which they specify what their contribution will be. In addition, please specify in your budget any additional research funding that will be needed for the incorporation of these collaborators.

Can we propose a lab-based project? Our department focuses on field research, and we do not currently have any lab facilities available. However, your project may have a lab component if another institution can provide the necessary lab facilities. Please provide a letter of support documenting the commitment of such additional collaborators to provide the resources required for your project.

Can our project include a component focused on human behavior? Yes. While the primary focus of the institute is on non-human animals, we welcome connections to human systems, and are happy to have these included in research projects.

Can we propose a purely theoretical project or a project using existing data? Yes. In cases where existing data will be used, this should either be publicly available (please include link or relevant information demonstrating access) or a letter of support from the person providing the data should be included.

How much research funding can be provided? We have chosen not to provide a range or cap for the proposed budget, rather we leave it up to your team to come up with a realistic estimate of the resources required to carry out your project. Your budget should be as concrete and detailed as possible, however budgets are ultimately non-binding and can be adjusted up or down if needed as projects progress. Our goal is to provide the support your team needs to be successful in your research.

What can be covered by the research funding provided? Research funding can cover all project-related expenses including field work, equipment, travel, computing time, etc. Salaries for research assistants can be included, however salaries for PhD students will not be granted.

Can / should teams be interdisciplinary? A major goal of this program is to enable integrated teams to tackle challenges that could not be tackled by individuals alone. In many cases, interdisciplinary expertise may be important to pursuing your research, and we therefore welcome interdisciplinary teams. However, teams where all members come from the same discipline are also welcome. In either case, it should be clear from your proposal how each team member will contribute, and why collaboration is important to the project aims.

Can teams be composed of more than 3 people? It is unlikely that applications requesting salary for more than 3 people will be accepted, however we will consider these and may accept them in exceptional cases. If you are proposing a team of more than 3 members please clearly specify in your proposal why the additional team members are crucial to the project.

Do all team members need to have the same start date? Team members should strive to agree on a mutual start date (between June 2020 and June 2021). However, we recognize that the postdoc years can be a volatile period, and therefore we can accommodate slightly varying start dates if needed. Start dates are flexible and will be discussed after teams have been selected.

What additional support will be provided? Team members will be employed at the University of Konstanz (TV-L salary scale, level E13), and will receive standard employment benefits. You will be provided with institutional support such as office space, administrative support, etc. In addition to research funding, support for travel to conferences or for meetings with out-of-town collaborators can be provided (please include this in your budget).

Who can I contact with additional questions? Please send any questions to and we will respond as soon as possible.