Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Media Information
Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts


Questions regarding the application procedure:

Carina Schmidt


Questions regarding your stay at the Institute:

Barbara Schröder


Application Period

There are two rounds of submission each year for scholarship applications, with corresponding submission deadlines of 15 January and 15 August.

Information about the next application period will be available soon.


Online Portal for Application


General Information on the Scholarship Program

Scholarships for International Researchers


One of our primary aims is to promote academic exchange with foreign scholars. Towards this end, we extend scholarships to researchers whose primary place of residence is outside of Germany in order to give them the chance to to work on their research projects here at the Institute. To this end, a limited number of short-term scholarships (up to a maximum period of four months) are awarded each year. Additionally, the scholarship programme serves to promote personal and institutional contacts with scholars working in the fields of comparative and international private law and thereby continually expand the Institute’s global network.


The research project in question must correspond to the academic interests of the Institute, as only then can it be ensured that scholarship recipients will be able to engage in meaningful academic exchange with other researchers and find relevant literature in our library.


Applicants applying for the current round of scholarship awards are advised that topics presently being researched at the Institute include, in particular, the following:


- Comparative Legal Methodology

- Uniform Private Law

- European Contract Law, especially Sale of Goods Law
- Partnership Law
- Close Corporations
- Company Valuation Law
- Comparative Succession Law (Europe and other continents)
- International Succession Law (especially the European Succession Regulation)

- International civil procedure and economic analysis of the law

- Family and Succession Law in Islamic countries

- Procedural Law in Islamic countries

- Comparative and International Private Law in Islamic countries
- Chinese Product Liability Law, Family Law, Nonprofit Organisation Law, Civil Procedure, and Company Law
- Korean Family Law

- Japanese Company Law

- Japanese Capital Markets Law


Applications are also possible for projects that are thematically related to any of the other focal points of Institute research.

Important Information for Applicants

The Max Planck Institute offers a limited number of short-term scholarships (maximum of 3 months) for legal scholars whose primary place of residence is outside of Germany. The scholarships are financed by the Max Planck Society and are awarded each year in connection with two windows of application.


Scholarships are available for:

- Foreign doctoral candidates,
- Foreign post-doctoral candidates and other advanced-stage researchers,
- Foreign professors or other senior researchers of equivalent academic achievement.


As regards large-scale research projects, particularly dissertations, scholarships will generally be granted only when the project is at an advanced as opposed to a preliminary stage.

Previous scholarship recipients are not excluded from applying for a subsequent grant, even as regards the same research project (e.g. a doctoral thesis). In such cases applicants should describe in their research proposal the progress made on their project since the first scholarship grant.


In order to give the greatest number of researchers the chance to work at the Institute, grants are not as a general rule extended to applicants who have already received two scholarship awards.

Applicants need not be proficient in German. However, if you envision that your intended research will include an inquiry into German law, your research proposal should indicate how you will – as necessary – obtain the desired information from foreign-language sources.


To ensure smooth and effective communication with Institute staff members and other guests, applicants should at a minimum have a strong command of either German or English.


Please take careful note of our application process guidelines. Applications which are incomplete or deviate from the guidelines will not be considered.

How to Apply

Please use our online portal to apply for a scholarship.


The following documents should be prepared and at hand for your online application. We recommend that you print and tick off items on the checklist that we have created. Please be advised that application materials should be in German or English. In exceptional cases, French documents will also be accepted.


Step 1: Preparation of your Application Documents


A. Statement of Purpose (maximum of one page)

Please state why you are applying for a research scholarship at the Institute. What goals and expectations are connected to a research stay at the Institute? Where do you see the links between your research topic and our current or previous academic work? Who could serve as possible dialogue partners at the Institute? (It is not required that you have already established contact with such individuals.) Would it be possible to proceed with your research project at another research institute? Please sign your statement of purpose.


B. Curriculum Vitae

Please submit an up-to-date CV that describes in particular your professional training, your past academic activities and employment, and your current job situation.


C. Research Proposal (maximum of two pages)
Please present the research project that you would like to work on in connection with the scholarship. You are asked not to submit your proposal in simple outline form. Be advised that the research proposal is the most important part of your application. It should not only generally describe your topic of research but also identify the central problems and challenges associated with the project. Additionally, the proposal should be formulated so as to be understandable for legal researchers having other areas of specialisation. You are not required to submit a timetable and work plan.


D. Updated List of Publications


E. Letters of Recommendation

Doctoral and post-doctoral candidates (up to five years after receipt of their doctoral award) are required to submit two letters of recommendation. It is strongly recommended that submitted letters of recommendation be printed on official letterhead and bear the signature of the author. As regards doctoral candidates it is expected that one of the provided letters of reference will be from the supervisor of the doctoral project. If this is not possible, you should in addition to the two required letters of reference include an official confirmation of your status as a doctoral candidate. If your referee chooses to send the letter of recommendation directly to the Institute, please ensure that this occurs within the relevant application period. For applicants other than those specified above, the submission of letters of recommendation is optional. Please note that a letter of recommendation will be considered most informative, if written by someone who knows you and your research well.


F. Proof of Doctoral Degree

Applicants who have already obtained their doctoral degree should upload their doctoral diploma or some other official confirmation onto the application portal. If you have not yet completed your doctoral project and are not in possession of a letter of reference from your doctoral supervisor, please provide us with an official confirmation of your status as a doctoral candidate.


G. Scholarship Period

Please indicate in your online application the desired time frame for your scholarship stay. The number of months requested does not have any impact on your chances of approval. It is possible, however, that you will be offered a scholarship for a period shorter than applied for. The minimum scholarship period is one month.


Step 2: Transmission of Documents via the Online Portal

Once you are in possession of the above-described documents, you should register on our online portal. Registration requires only your first and last name, an email address and a password.


Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation email. Please be advised that this process may take some time to complete.


To make application, please complete the following steps:

- Sign in on the online portal. You will need your email address and your password.
- Application takes place entirely online. Please be sure to have assembled all the necessary documents prior to commencing your online application – it is advised that you use the checklist we have provided (checklist as PDF document).
- When you have all the documents at hand, carefully fill out the online application form and upload your documents.
- It is permissible to send letters of recommendation by mail. They should be forwarded to the following address:


Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
Scholarship Administration
Mittelweg 187
20148 Hamburg


Please be advised that letters of recommendation received after expiration of the application deadline will not be considered.


The application process is completed once you have filled out the online application form and uploaded your documents.


You will receive a confirmation email shortly after successful transmission of the application and your documents. A decision as to applications will be made approximately 8-10 weeks after the conclusion of the application period.


Here you find answers to frequently asked questions.