Athene Young Investigator

Technical University of Darmstadt has set up the Athene Young Investigator Programme to promote the scientific independence of exceptionally qualified early career researchers, giving them the chance to qualify for the post of university professor by leading an independent junior research group. Based on the model of the DFG’s Emmy Noether Programme, the Athene Young Investigator Programme was designed as a five-year, quality-assured programme in which the junior research group leaders obtain certain professorial rights and receive their own budget.

Professor Markus Lederer and the in 2023 appointed Athene Young Investigator Dr. Jens Marquardt and Dr. Pelin Tozman together with Vice President Franziska Lang and Professor Oliver Gutfleisch during the First Young Investigator Appreciation Day in December 2023. In the Zoom Session you see Athene Young Investigator Dr.-Ing. Alejando Jiménez-Sáez receiving virtually his certificate of appointment.

The Athene Young Investigator Programme aims to qualify early career researchers for the post of university professor by

  • increasing their scientific independence,
  • supporting their commitment to teaching and to student supervision,
  • offering special training to broaden their transferable skills and extracurricular qualifications,
  • providing them with the opportunity to participate in academic self-administration,
  • improving the visibility of their individual research profile.

All Athene Young Investigators are well integrated into their respective department at TU Darmstadt and are supported by experienced senior researchers. In addition, the university offers its Athene Young Investigators

  • a funding period of 3+2 years,
  • the privilege to supervise their own doctoral candidates,
  • a discipline-specific budget for self-determined use (research expenses, conferences, travel expenses, stays abroad including childcare, further education opportunities, assistants, publication costs, etc.),
  • opportunities for independent teaching,
  • pay grade EG 14 TV-TU Darmstadt,
  • training courses for extracurricular qualification (i.e., soft and transferable skills) for Athene Young Investigator specifically tailored to the needs of advanced junior researchers.

The Athene Young Investigator Programme has been conceptualised as a five-year, quality-assured programme, including an evaluation during the third year.

The competitive selection process is organised in two rounds and is overseen by the selection committee “Nachwuchsprogramme” which consists of six professors (representing all disciplines at TU Darmstadt) and the Gender Equality Officer, with the Vice President for Research and Early Careers acting as chair. In the first round, the committee pre-selects applicants whose proposals are then reviewed by external international reviewers.

Subsequently, candidates are invited for a personal introduction consisting of a 15-min. talk followed by a 20-min. interview. Based on the external reviews and on the interview, the committee then takes the final selection decision.

The applicant’s declared aim shall be to strive for a post as university professor. In addition, the applicant shall have and experience

  • a (current or prospective) position in a department at TU Darmstadt,
  • funding for a PhD position, either self-acquired or provided by the department (exceptions may apply),
  • at least one year and at most five years of postdoc experience (compensation for maternity and/or parental leave, long sick leave etc. is possible),
  • a doctorate completed with outstanding results,
  • the engaged support of a supervisor with regard to the career goal “qualification for a professorship”
  • scientific excellence by international standards (publications with significant own contribution, collaborations, awards, etc.),
  • pedagogical aptitude for academic teaching,
  • potential abilities to take on leadership and project management roles,
  • substantial international research experience or substantial experience in the research division of a commercial enterprise.

Next closing date for applications is November 15th, 2024. Next Athene Young Investigator appointments start on April 1st, 2025.

Athene Young Investigator Appointment Portrait
Portraits by Astrid Ludwig, TU Darmstadt
Dr. Jens Marquardt
Political Science
April 2023 in German
Portrait: Dr. Marquardt
Dr. Pelin Tozman
Materials and Earth Sciences
April 2023 Portrait: Dr. Tozman
Dr.-Ing. Alejandro Jiménez_Saez
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
April 2023 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Jiménez-Sáez
Dr.-Ing. Tobias Meuser
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
April 2022 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Meuser
Dr.-Ing. Yvonne Späck-Leigsnering
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
April 2022 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Späck-Leigsnering
Dr. Stephan Schulz
Environmental Engineering Science
April 2021 Portrait: Dr. Schulz
Dr. Vanessa Zeller
Materials and Earth Sciences
April 2021 Portrait: Dr. Zeller
Dr.-Ing. Arne Schotissek
Mechanical Engineering
April 2021 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Scholtissek
Dr.-Ing. Lin Xiang
Electrical Engineering
April 2021 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Xiang
Dr. Alexander Tichai
Physics
December 2020 Portrait: Dr. Tichai
Dr.-Ing. Tomislav Maric
Mathematics
October 2020 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Maric
Dr. Xufei Fang
Materials and Earth Sciences
October 2019 In German
Portrait: Dr. Fang
Dr. Johann Isaak
Physics
October 2019 In German
Portrait: Dr. Isaak
Dr. Martin Grimmer
Human Sciences
April 2019 In German
Portrait: Dr. Grimmer
Dr. Tatiana Tatarenko
Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
April 2019 In German
Portrait: Dr. Tatarenko
Dr. Arash Asadi
Computer Science
October 2017 In German
Portrait: Dr. Asadi

Former Athene Young Investigators
Dr.-Ing. Federica Ferraro
Department of Mechanical Engineering
April 2023

since May 2023: Junior Professor, TU Braunschweig
Portrait Dr.-Ing. Ferraro
Dr. Martin Adam
Law and Economics
April 2022

since December 2023: Georg-August Universität, Göttingen
Dr. Christian Janson
Computer Science
April 2021

since September 2023: Cyber Security Architect bei Airbus Defence and Space
Portrait Dr. Janson
Dr. Miriam Oesterreich
Department of Human Sciences
April 2020

since 2021
Berlin University of the Arts
In German
Portrait: Dr. Oesterreich
Dr. Pia Domschke
Department of Mathematics
April 2019

since August 2019:
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
In German
Portrait: Dr. Domschke
Dr. Meike Saul
Biology
April 2018

since November 2023:
Professor, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
In German
Portrait: Dr. Saul
Dr. Joel Lynn
Department of Physics
April 2018

since July 2019:
Data scientist,
Viasat Inc., USA
In German
Portrait: Dr. Lynn
Lin Wang, Ph.D.
Department of Computer Science
April 2018

since December 2018:
Assistant Professor,
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,
The Netherlands
In German
Portrait: Dr. Wang
Dr. Eric Grosse
Department of Law and Economics
October 2017

since April 2020:
Juniorprofessor,
Universität des Saarlandes
In German
Portrait: Dr. Grosse
Dr. Juliane Krämer
Department of Computer Science
October 2017

since 2021: Professor, University of Regensburg
In German
Portrait: Dr. Krämer
Dr.-Ing. Michael Muma
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
October 2017

since 2022: Professor, TU Darmstadt

In German
Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Muma
Dr.-Ing. Philipp Beckerle
Department of Mechanical Engineering
October 2017

since October 2018:
Assistant Professor,
Technische Universität Dortmund; since 2021: Professor, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
In German
Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Beckerle
Dr. Philipp John
Department of Physics
April 2017
Dr. Christina Birkel
Department of Chemistry
April 2017

since January 2019:
Assistant Professor,
Arizona State University, USA
Portrait: Dr. Birkel
Dr.-Ing. Amr Rizk
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
April 2017

since July 2019:
Juniorprofessor,
Universität Ulm; since 2021: Professor, Duisburg-Essen
In German
Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Rizk

Portrait by Thomas Lenz, TU Darmstadt
Dr. Alesia A. Tietze
Department of Chemistry
April 2017

since January 2019:
Assistant Professor,
Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden
Dr. Jurij Koruza
Department of Materials and Earth Sciences
April 2017

since 2021:
Assistant Professor,
TU Graz, Austria
Dr.-Ing. Christian Hatzfeld †
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
April 2018