FAQs about our MD fellowships

Here you will find answers to the questions most frequently asked by applicants and fellowship holders in regard to the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) MD Fellowship programme, organized into categories. Click on the links to go directly to the respective section.

MD applicants: timing of application and eligibility

MD fellowship holders: travel allowances, extensions, family matters, and seminars

MD applicants

Timing of application

Due to the peer-review process by which your application is assessed, we are usually only able to consider applications that reach us at least three months before the proposed change of location and start of research at the host laboratory. In exceptional circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you have already relocated to a host laboratory, you are not eligible to apply for an MD fellowship.

No, this is not possible. Your research stay must occur before you complete your medical studies.

Exceptions can be made in certain cases (i.e. children, prolonged illness, apprenticeship prior to university studies) after consultation with the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds.


The minimum duration of research at a new host laboratory is ten consecutive months. Hence, you are not eligible to apply if, for example, you plan to work on your project for six months at your home institution in Germany and six months in a host laboratory at another location. This usually entails that you must put your studies on hold for more than one semester.

Provided that you meet all other formal criteria, you are eligible to apply for an MD fellowship. Your research project does not need to be connected to your MD thesis.

No. MD fellowships are only granted to students already studying medicine in Germany who are planning a research stay in a laboratory located in a city and at an institution other than their home city and institution. 

No. MD fellowships may only be used to finance research stays, not medical studies. They are intended to enable medical students to perform excellent basic research in internationally renowned laboratories.

Students of veterinary medicine are not eligible to receive an MD fellowship. The programme is solely intended for students of human medicine.

Students of all nationalities can apply, provided they study humane medicine in Germany.

Some 95 % of all MD fellows use their fellowship to gain research experience abroad. In principle, an MD fellowship can also be used for a research stay in Germany, e.g. if you are studying in Munich and want to go to Berlin, but not, e.g. for a change from Heidelberg to Mannheim.  

MD fellowship holders

Travel allowances

Please note that travel allowances are solely for BIF fellows, i.e. holders of a PhD or MD fellowship, and are not related to the Travel Grant programme, which is for non-fellowship holders only.

As a BIF fellow, you may receive a travel allowance for the purpose of (a) presenting your data at an international scientific conference, (b) performing experiments important for your research project in a cooperating laboratory, or (c) participating in a methods course (preferably internationally renowned) that is useful for your research project.

Please send us a brief email in advance of your application in which you describe the meeting, course, or laboratory stay and how you and your project would benefit from it. We will then inform you as to whether it is within the funding scope and send you the detailed guidelines for your application.

MD fellowship extensions

MD fellowship holders can apply for an extension of up to 6 months. You need to submit your application 2 months before the end of your fellowship. You should, however, contact us ahead of this deadline to receive information on the application process.

Family matters

If your spouse earns less than 400 euros per month while you are receiving an MD fellowship, you are eligible to apply for a spouse allowance of 200 euros per month. Please contact us for further details.

As an MD fellowship holder, you can apply for a child-care allowance of up to 500 euros a month, provided that your child is 12 years old or younger and you are paying for professional child-care (e.g. for a nanny or daycare centre). This also applies to children of your spouse who are living in the same household as you. Please contact us for further details.

BIF seminars

You do not need to apply. We invite all BIF fellows and alumni to the respective seminars whenever it is their turn. To do so, we need your up-to-date contact details, so please be sure to let us know whenever these change.