Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

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Application for the Graduate Programme

The IAB offers up to 7 doctoral scholarships to outstanding researchers from the social sciences and economic disciplines (starting 1 October each year). The most recent Call for Applications has now been published (as of early December 2020).

We invite applications for 7 doctoral scholarships

GradAB is a three-year programme of high-level training in labour market research, which can be extended for another year under certain conditions. Part-time scholarship is possible.

The English language course programme provides training on labour market research, methods, and data at an advanced level.

Doctoral students benefit from:

  • a professional research and policy-consulting environment in one of the key institutions advising high-ranking social policymakers,
  • IAB’s large network of renowned national and international universities, research and policy institutions,
  • IAB’s unique data resources on employment and social security (administrative and survey data)

The scholarship offers financial support of 1,350 euros per month plus 1,800 euros per year for participation in scientific conferences and further training. Extra support for research visits is available. In addition, most of our GradAB participants work as junior researchers on a 25 % position in one of IAB’s research departments (employment subject to social insurance contributions/ minimum 1,029 euros per month). Please note however that the IAB does not guarantee the availability of any vacant job positions at the start of the programme.

We invite applications from outstanding graduates in the fields of economics, sociology or other social sciences who hold a master’s degree and have a strong interest in labour market research.

The IAB aims at increasing the share of doctoral students with disabilities. For this reason, applications from disabled persons are highly welcome.

If applicants are otherwise equally qualified, female applicants will be given preference.

Application documents

Application documents should include: 

  • Application form 
  • Complete, tabular CV 
  • Copies of school-leaving certificates and certificates of vocational training and professional activities, copies of university certificates already attained 
  • A reference letter from a professor with respect to personal and academic qualification of the applicant. The letter of recommendation must be submitted to the programme coordinator directly ( 
  • An outline of the project describing the fundamental, perhaps preliminary ideas of the dissertation proposal. The project outline submitted in English should be between 10,000 and 20,000 characters long, including spaces and the list of cited literature. The following points can provide a basic overview: 
    • Providing reasons for selecting the topic, and determining its place in current labour market research 
    • Illustrating major problems and issues of the project in the field of labour market research 
    • Providing a (non-exhaustive) list of relevant literature 
    • Considerations regarding the theoretical approach, the methodology of project implementation, and the data to be used (e.g. IAB data sets) 
    • Documentation of the FDZ data sets can help in deciding on data research and preparing the project outline

Please note that applications without the project outline will not be considered!

Selection process

  1. All applications will be submitted to a selection commission composed equally of representatives of the IAB and the School of Business and Economics of the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. 
  2. Outstanding applicants will be invited to a personal interview with members of the selection commission. The interview will involve a short presentation of the planned idea of the project, followed by a discussion. 
  3. Based on the written documents and personal presentation, the selection committee will decide on scholarship offers and inform the applicants.

Schedule 2020/2021

  • Commencement of the programme: 1 October 2021
  • Maximum programme duration: Up to 4 years
  • Application deadline: Please submit your application in English by 15 March 2021
  • Personal interviews: 15 April 2021

Co-operation partner

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU):

The image shows the logo of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)


Dr. Sandra Huber
GradAB coordinator

Further information

  • Website of the Graduate Programme of the Institute for Employment Research: 
    • Click the link or
    • Scan the QR-Code below: Die Grafik zeigt den QR-Code, der auf die englischsprachige Website des Graduiertenprogramms des IAB führt
  • Call for Applications 2021 (PDF, not accessible): Download


Dr. Sandra Huber

Dr. Sandra Huber (programme coordinator)


Institute for Employment Research (IAB) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Regensburger Strasse 104
D-90478 Nuremberg