A Step by Step Guide: DAAD Research Grant Application

Young researchers analyse substances in the laboratory.
© iStockphoto

Applying to the DAAD Research Grant might look like a daunting task. We have explained the approach on where to start and how to proceed before submitting an online application.

In what order should I approach my preparation?

As a rule, you will need to have:

  • A very good higher education degree that is recognized in Germany. Generally, that is a degree equivalent to a German Master. This means you need to have completed 18 years (MS/ M Phil) of education in Pakistan.
  • No more than six years should have passed since you gained the last degree.


In the past, applicants to the DAAD Research Grant programme have been expected to be faculty of a Pakistani university or research institution. Now, postgraduate students (having recently completed 18 years of education) or who are in the process of finalizing their M. Phil course or who are on an M. Phil leading to PhD programme or those who have already started their PhD research work without being employed at any university are eligible to apply.

For the programme announcement please visit DAAD Scholarship Programmes for Pakistan.

The point to start from is the careful consideration of your research question. Please keep in mind that PhD is supposed to be based on previous research and findings in the specific field and to contribute new findings to the academic discourse.
Thus, the following pre-knowledge is mandatory:

  • Broad knowledge in your field as such.
  • Knowledge of the state of research including the latest national and international publications in your field of specialization.
  • Knowledge of methodology and its implementation. (Not just quantitative and qualitative methods but how exactly they are executed and to what purpose with expected results.

If you are not sure if you can master this, buy some books, sit down and read. For literature on your own field, read the international online journals which are mostly accessible from Pakistani universities.
Please read the guideline How to Develop a Research Project and Write a Research Proposal [PDF 191.14 KB].

The next step is to find a supervisor – a Doktorvater or Doktormutter.
Please read the guideline How To Find A Supervisor [PDF 321.48 KB] carefully.

Keep in mind that you have to find a professor with matching research foci. The German professor is looking for somebody with an interesting project to join his/her team. So inform yourself very well about the ongoing research projects at his/her institute.
Read all available information carefully including abstracts, of the ongoing research projects, but do not make contact with the professor at this stage!

A comprehensive search of the German research landscape can be conducted by using the Research Explorer (GERiT) or by visiting  our PhD Germany database.

Before contacting the supervisor, it is important that you have a well prepared synopsis of the doctoral dissertation you are planning to write.
Please read the guideline How to Develop a Research project and Write a Research Proposal [PDF 191.14 KB].

As a rule, every applicant is expected to submit a self written research proposal!

In case you are applying for a structured PhD programme, you also are required to submit a statement of purpose/ letter of motivation. The statement of purpose should describe in detail:

  • why you are interested to carry out the proposed project (benefits for your career or for your country, gain of specific academic skills etc.),
  • why you think you are fit to complete this project (similar projects in MPhil research? Read publications on the topic? Which ones?).


Please strictly obey the rules of good academic practice and never ever plagiarize from other people’s publication. Whatever is taken from another source word by word has to be enclosed in quotation marks followed by a reference to the original. Whenever you use other people’s ideas, you have to give the reference to the original.

Next you have to write a careful introductory e-mail to a professor which you have identified in step 2.
Please follow the guideline How to make contact to a potential supervisor [PDF 192.90 KB], before sending out any e-mail.

Always write a new e-mail to each professor and explain in detail why you think you will be a suitable member of his/her research team. Make sure you have read at least one of his/her online publications and refer to it in your e-mail. Add your draft research proposal and your CV.
Also, please make sure that you have read the guideline Email Etiquette [PDF 71.65 KB], for formal e-mail writing, carefully.

Since you will be uploading all your previous and present academic records, therefore you have to scan all your transcripts and degrees in pdf format.
These academic records include:

  • SSC transcript and certificate,
  • HSSC transcript and certificate,
  • Bachelor transcripts (all semesters) and degree,
  • M SC transcripts (all semesters) and degree,
  • M Phil / MS transcripts (all semesters) and degree.

Since the application to the DAAD Research Grant  has to be submitted online to the DAAD Portal, you will have to register yourself first and create an account.

While waiting for a response from the supervisor(s), you may acquire your letter of recommendations.

You can provide your referee with the pdf format generated from the DAAD Portal provided by DAAD to fill out, or use the letter head of the referee`s institution/university if otherwise not possible.

When you have gathered all the mandatory documents required to be submitted to the DAAD Research Grant, you may choose to submit your application on the DAAD Portal.

For more information on how to apply online to the DAAD Research Grant`s various categories please visit DAAD Scholarship Programmes for Pakistan.

Further information

  • You have some additional questions? Please have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ`s) section!
  • More information for PhD students in our Downloads & Publications section under Research in Germany or on Research in Germany.
  • Deadline of application:  Deadline will be announced in summer 2023
    • Documents do not need to be certified at the time of online application! Certified copies have to be submitted only by successful candidates!
    • IELTS or TOEFL is mandatory!
    • Your application is only valid if you submit all the required documents to the DAAD Portal by the deadline!
    • The DAAD Portal closes at 24.00 hrs. Central European Time (CET) on the last application day.

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