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.

AYI Gruppenfoto
Picture: Nina Straub

The Athene Young Investigators in December 2019, at an event hosted by then Vice President Prof. Mira Mezini. From left to right: Dr. Meike Saul, Dr. Juliane Krämer, Dr. Martin Grimmer, Dr. Johann Isaak, Dr. Michael Muma, Dr. Eric Grosse, Dr. Jurij Koruza, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Mira Mezini, Dr. Arash Asadi, and Dr. Tatiana Tatarenko.

(Missing: Dr. Xufei Fang and Dr. Philipp John)

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 of up to 15,000 EUR/year 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 (or supplement),
  • 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

  • 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 four years of postdoc experience (compensation for maternity and/or parental leave, long sick leave etc. is possible),
  • a doctorate completed with outstanding results,
  • the support of the department/research group,
  • 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.

Apply now! Closing date for applications is 15 November 2020.

Athene Young Investigator Appointment Portrait
Portraits by Astrid Ludwig, TU Darmstadt
Dr.-Ing. Tomislav Maric
Fachbereich Mathematik
October 2020 Portrait: Dr.-Ing. Maric
Dr. Miriam Oesterreich
Department of Human Sciences
April 2020 Portrait: Dr. Oesterreich
Dr. Xufei Fang
Department of Materials and Earth Sciences
October 2019 Portrait: Dr. Fang
Dr. Johann Isaak
Department of Physics
October 2019 Portrait: Dr. Isaak
Dr. Martin Grimmer
Department of Human Sciences
April 2019 Portrait: Dr. Grimmer
Dr. Tatiana Tatarenko
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
April 2019 Portrait: Dr. Tatarenko
Dr. Meike Saul
Department of Biology
April 2018 Portrait: Dr. Saul
Dr. Arash Asadi
Department of Computer Science
October 2017 Portrait: Dr. Asadi
Dr. Juliane Krämer
Department of Computer Science
October 2017 Portrait: Dr. Krämer
Dr. Michael Muma
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
October 2017 Portrait: Dr. Muma
Dr. Jurij Koruza
Department of Materials and Earth Sciences
April 2017

Former Athene Young Investigators
Dr. Pia Domschke
Department of Mathematics
April 2019

since August 2019:
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Portrait: Dr. Domschke
Dr. Joel Lynn
Department of Physics
April 2018

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

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

since April 2020:
Juniorprofessor,
Universität des Saarlandes
Portrait: Dr. Grosse
Dr.-Ing. Philipp Beckerle
Department of Mechanical Engineering
October 2017

since October 2018:
Assistant Professor,
Technische Universität Dortmund
Portrait: Dr. 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
Portrait: Dr. 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.-Ing. Christian Hatzfeld †
Department of Electrical Engineering and
Information Technology
April 2018