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DAAD Short-term Research Grants for historical research


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Hi, I just finished my master degree and I'm considering apply for the DAAD short-term research grant hoping that I could research in some German archives.

So, I need some advice from those with relevant experiences. 

According to the DAAD's notice, applicants are required for the confirmations from Doktorvater/-mutter(academic advisor) and the host institution. Following is the exact statement 

"Letter confirming supervision by an academic adviser in Germany, which refers to the applicant's proposal and confirms that the host institute will provide a workplace"

I think this "supervision" means the case in which someone researches in labs, especially in the fields of engineering or natural sciences. But I don't think I would need advice or a workplace while doing my research because most I have to do will be find, read and collect primary sources in the archives. 

For historical researches, how should I prepare those 'confirmations'?

Edited by YSheo
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Doktorvater/mutter is actually a Ph.D. advisor, not merely an academic advisor. That would be my first question to the DAAD: what exactly are the requirements to apply for the grant? Next, I would start reaching out to universities, or affiliated universities, near your desired archives, and begin talking about possibly sponsoring your trip as a host university, not financially. German bureaucracy is very picky with few exceptions, especially the DAAD. If you do not receive a sponsor, then you need to talk to the DAAD about their possible exceptions. It might be possible to use your home university as a sponsor, but I'm not entirely sure. My last comment revolves around your research itself. The DAAD recently switched its funding targets to better represent 'Third World' scholars and research topics. I had to change my statement to reflect the DAAD's new target, but not every researcher can do that. In short, talk to the DAAD as they will be able to answer your questions on their requirements.

Edited by Tigla
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10 hours ago, Tigla said:

begin talking about possibly sponsoring your trip as a host university, not financially

I really appreciate your valuable advice! But could you tell me more about what "sponsoring" exactly means? I do not well understand that an academic advisor or an academic institution "sponsor" my research even if they would not provide any practical assistance during my research. Is it just nominal? 

Plus, I would appreciate if you give me more information about 'new target topics' you mentioned above. I'm from an Asian country and interested in the German's everyday life under the Division and Cold War. So I plan to examine and collect local sources from my desired local archives. Do you think I have little chance to get the grant? 

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16 hours ago, YSheo said:

I really appreciate your valuable advice! But could you tell me more about what "sponsoring" exactly means? I do not well understand that an academic advisor or an academic institution "sponsor" my research even if they would not provide any practical assistance during my research. Is it just nominal? 

Plus, I would appreciate if you give me more information about 'new target topics' you mentioned above. I'm from an Asian country and interested in the German's everyday life under the Division and Cold War. So I plan to examine and collect local sources from my desired local archives. Do you think I have little chance to get the grant? 

Are you sure you don't need to be in an enrolled PhD program to receive this kind of short-term grant?

I was rejected (and that was after printing 30 pages and paying $30 postage to NY!).  I found a "sponsor" by writing to him and telling him what I was interested in doing in Germany and if he would write a sponsor letter.  German academics do this all the time.  It's just a formality. You are not actually expected to participate in the host institution's life or whatever.

Finally, it sounds like unless you use a transnational approach to your proposal, you are not within the targeted area of research.  While I have not read DAAD's new initiatives, there is a strong push within German studies to explore Germans' and Germany's interactions with Asia, Latin America, and Africa. If you are coming from an Asian country, you could write a topic about interactions between your country and Germany, perhaps during the decolonization period? Or the development of  trade partnerships?

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23 hours ago, YSheo said:

Plus, I would appreciate if you give me more information about 'new target topics' you mentioned above. I'm from an Asian country and interested in the German's everyday life under the Division and Cold War. So I plan to examine and collect local sources from my desired local archives. Do you think I have little chance to get the grant? 

 

TMP's answer hits most of your questions. I want to stress the transnational approach that TMP mentioned, though. Follow your research plan, but the unfortunate reality is that academics need to always adjust to funding schemes and initiatives. I suggest trying to find a way to include your home country in your research, in a very broad manner that makes sense to your work. Don't force a transnational approach if one does not exist. 

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  • 1 month later...

I can second TMP. I have had grants from the DAAD before, and the sponsorship is a formality - the advisor is there for you if you need help (i.e. getting access to an archive, suggesting where you might go to look for a particular category of documents, allowing you to participate in their department's research colloquium, etc.). The relationship will be what you make of it - it's a way to form connections that might be useful to you while you're at your host institution/archives, but if you have it all figured out on your own, that's fine too.

On 9/9/2018 at 9:13 AM, Tigla said:

The DAAD recently switched its funding targets to better represent 'Third World' scholars and research topics. I had to change my statement to reflect the DAAD's new target, but not every researcher can do that. In short, talk to the DAAD as they will be able to answer your questions on their requirements.

@Tigla I hadn't heard this, and I'm not sure in the case of an historical research grant that it makes much sense - for historian grantees from the US, the primary goal of the DAAD has always been that the research has a pressing need to be performed in Germany due to the existence of particular archives, documents, or similar, which usually means that the focus is on German history in some form. Of course, there are German topics that are more transnational (such as imperialism, colonialism, etc.) but these do not represent the majority of funded DAAD grantees who are historians, and I'm not sure how they ever could - many if not most grantees go to Germany specifically to research Medieval, Renaissance, Prussian, or Reformation topics that do not always lend themselves to the "Third World" research focus. In the case of scholars, DAAD funding is divided by regional divisions, so those from different regions are not competing against each other for funding; if more scholars from Asia/Africa/Pacific are chosen, it does not mean that proportionally less North and South Americans will be. DAAD has reduced the number of grants overall due to government spending reapportionment, though; almost no one who applied at large (not going through a university priority program) was given a yearlong research grant last year (at least among North American applicants). 

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