Transatlantic Post-Doc Fellowship for International Relations and Security (TAPIR)

TAPIR - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Table of Contents

1 General Questions about the fellowship

1.1 Is there additional information about the programme on other websites?

1.2 What role does SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) play in the programme?

1.3 Is it possible to stay at only one or two institutes?

1.4 Who decides which institutes a candidate is assigned to?

1.5 What are the time demands during the programme?

2 The Application Process

2.1 Can non-EU and non-US-Nationals apply?

2.2 What is meant by ‘Europe (in a broader geographical definition)’ here exactly? Does ‘Europe’ refer to the European Union?

2.3 Are there any age restrictions for applicants?

2.4 Which academic degree is required as a pre-condition for applying?

2.5 Is it still possible to apply, if the doctorate was completed more than four years ago?

2.6 Since the programme's aim is to train policy-oriented research, is it a disadvantage if the applicant already has or does not have at all working experience in this field?

2.7 Is it necessary to provide a proof of language skills, for example with an official certificate?

2.8 What is meant by ‘research statement’ and what should it look like?

2.9 Are there any requirements with regard to the subject of the research statement? Does it have to relate to one of the countries of the hosting institutes? Or does it have to focus on transatlantic issues?

2.10 Are the letters of recommendation included in the 2500 word research statement?

2.11 Who should write a letter of recommendation?

2.12 Are further application documents expected (e.g. cover letter or certificates)?

2.13 Do applicants have to indicate preferred hosting institutes?

2.14 Is there a new Call for Applications next year?

2.15 Are all applicants notified? When are they notified?

3 The Selection Process

3.1 How are the fellows selected?

3.2 Who determines which applicants are selected for the fellowship?

3.3 Is there a waiting list for the TAPIR-fellowship, and if so, will the candidate be informed of being on the list?

3.4 If a candidate’s application is unsuccessful, can he/she reapply for the next TAPIR fellowship?

4 Financial Issues

4.1 Is it possible to receive extra funding from TAPIR?

4.2 When will the payment be transferred?

4.3 Are fellowship grants subject to tax deduction?

5 More Questions

5.1 What if some questions are still unanswered in this FAQ?


1 General Questions about the fellowship

1.1 Is there additional information about the programme on other websites?

No, all information concerning the fellowship can be found on this website. For further information not included in the FAQs please contact us directly at tapir(at)swp-berlin.org.

To the Table of Contents

1.2 What role does SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) play in the programme?

All participating institutes have the same rights and duties when it comes to the programme implementation (e.g. role in the selection process). SWP is coordinating and managing the programme and thereby acting as primus inter pares.

To the Table of Contents

1.3 Is it possible to stay at only one or two institutes?

No. Every TAPIR fellow has to stay at three different institutes during the course of the programme – including at least one on each side of the Atlantic. This means that the fellows usually move two to three times during the fellowship.

To the Table of Contents

1.4 Who decides which institutes a candidate is assigned to?

This decision is part of the selection process but candidates’ preferences are taken into account.

To the Table of Contents

1.5 What are the time demands during the programme?

The programme provides a full-time fellowship. The candidates will work at the hosting institutes as full-time employees and are integrated into the relevant research units or projects.

To the Table of Contents

2 The Application Process

2.1 Can non-EU and non-US-Nationals apply?

Yes, in case the applicants have resided in the U.S., Canada or Europe for at least two-and-a-half years during the five years prior to the application deadline (see Call for Applications). These thirty months can also be composed of several stays. Proof of residency can be either a document provided by the institute/university/employer or the residence registration.

To the Table of Contents

2.2 What is meant by ‘Europe (in a broader geographical definition)’ here exactly? Does ‘Europe’ refer to the European Union?

For the TAPIR-Fellowship, Europe is defined as a broader geographical area that includes the following countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

To the Table of Contents

2.3 Are there any age restrictions for applicants?

No, there are no age limitations.

To the Table of Contents

2.4 Which academic degree is required as a pre-condition for applying?

The applicant must have completed his or her PhD (including defence) at the beginning of the fellowship, usually beginning of October. The doctorate should reflect an interest in international relations and security issues.

To the Table of Contents

2.5 Is it still possible to apply, if the doctorate was completed more than four years ago?

Yes, in general there is no restriction by when an applicant has to have completed his/her doctorate in the past.

To the Table of Contents

2.6 Since the programme's aim is to train policy-oriented research, is it a disadvantage if the applicant already has or does not have at all working experience in this field?

No, working experience in a policy-oriented research environment is neither a precondition nor disadvantaging a candidate. In general previous working experience is taken into consideration as part of the overall profile.

To the Table of Contents

2.7 Is it necessary to provide a proof of language skills, for example with an official certificate?

No, but as TAPIR is an international programme and as the application is in English, candidates are expected to work in an international English-speaking environment. Further language skills are not required.

To the Table of Contents

2.8 What is meant by ‘research statement’ and what should it look like?

The research statement has no specific format, but has to be submitted in English and should not exceed the maximum length of 2500 words (excluding footnotes). It is intended to reflect the applicants’ research and policy focus during Tapir. The institutes do not want to get full-fledged “classical” research exposés that present an elaborated theoretical approach or a broad literature review. Instead it should briefly mirror the research background of the applicant, provide an overview of the current work, and include forward looking research plans. It is important to link these aspects as a broader overall framework of a project that you plan to work on during the two years of the TAPIR fellowship. The focus of the proposal depends on the candidates’ choice, ideally it gives the selection committee an idea how the work fits with the profiles of policy oriented research institutes and think tanks in general.

To the Table of Contents

2.9 Are there any requirements with regard to the subject of the research statement? Does it have to relate to one of the countries of the hosting institutes? Or does it have to focus on transatlantic issues?

No, the research statement has only to be related to topics of international relations and/or international peace and security issues.

To the Table of Contents

2.10 Are the letters of recommendation included in the 2500 word research statement?

No, the maximum of 2500 words refers to the content of the statement (separately from the recommendations).

To the Table of Contents

2.11 Who should write a letter of recommendation?

The letters of recommendation should be from experts in the applicant’s field of research, colleagues the applicants worked with or PHD supervisors. The authors should know the applicant as a researcher, his/her potential and academic accomplishments. Therefore, the authors should be familiar with the applicant’s academic work.

To the Table of Contents

2.12 Are further application documents expected (e.g. cover letter or certificates)?

No, the application is complete if it contains (1) CV, (2) research statement, and (3) two letters of recommendation (see Call for Applications).

To the Table of Contents

2.13 Do applicants have to indicate preferred hosting institutes?

No, the candidates apply for the fellowship not for stays at certain institutes and are consequently not obliged to indicate preferred hosting institutes in the application documents and are not free to choose their supervisors. Nonetheless, candidates may indicate institutes they consider to be most suitable for their own research agenda.

To the Table of Contents

2.14 Is there a new Call for Applications next year?

Yes, usually every year around the beginning of November a new Call for Applications is posted on the TAPIR website.

To the Table of Contents

2.15 Are all applicants notified? When are they notified?

Yes, all candidates are notified about the outcome of their application. The first set of notifications is sent out at the end of the first stage of the selection process (Mid-August). All shortlisted candidates are notified once the selection process is completed (approximately in the end of August).

To the Table of Contents

3 The Selection Process

3.1 How are the fellows selected?

The selection process is divided into two stages in which the applications are evaluated based on the submitted documents (research statement, CV and two letters of recommendation). In the first stage, all TAPIR partner institutes are divided into three groups, each consisting of 4-5 TAPIR institutes. Each group evaluates a third of the applications and selects 7 to 10 candidates to be shortlisted. In the second stage, the application documents of the shortlisted candidates are forwarded to and evaluated by all 14 TAPIR institutes and the (usually five) most qualified candidates are awarded a TAPIR fellowship.

To the Table of Contents

3.2 Who determines which applicants are selected for the fellowship?

All institutes of the TAPIR programme are involved in the selection process and their evaluations weigh the same. The selection committee is comprised of high-ranking researchers and (deputy-) directors of the institutes participating in the programme. At each institute, the applications are evaluated by the respective TAPIR coordinators and relevant research experts.

To the Table of Contents

3.3 Is there a waiting list for the TAPIR-fellowship, and if so, will the candidate be informed of being on the list?

Yes, there is a waiting list and all candidates who are on this list are informed with the notification.

To the Table of Contents

3.4 If a candidate’s application is unsuccessful, can he/she reapply for the next TAPIR fellowship?

Yes. A candidate may reapply for future calls. Re-applications are not a disadvantage in the selection process.

To the Table of Contents

4 Financial Issues

4.1 Is it possible to receive extra funding from TAPIR?

No, the funding is limited to 2.000 EUR per month plus a one-time travel allowance of 3.500 EUR for travel to and from the host institutions. Further funding is not available except for reimbursement of expenses for travelling to the annual TAPIR-seminar in autumn. TAPIR does not provide funding for language courses as TAPIR fellows are expected to work in an international environment with English being the working language.

To the Table of Contents

4.2 When will the payment be transferred?

The payment is usually transferred at the beginning of each month. Travelling expenses for the annual TAPIR-seminar are reimbursed after spending.

To the Table of Contents

4.3 Are fellowship grants subject to tax deduction?

The Stipend is exempted from taxation under the terms of § 3 cypher 44 of the German Income Tax Law. The TAPIR programme does not compensate for a potential additional taxation in other countries (e.g. in the fellow’s country of origin or the countries in which the hosting institutes are based). As the Tax law differs form country to country it is recommended to check these regulations in the applicant’s/fellow’s country of origin and/or residence.

To the Table of Contents

5 More Questions

5.1 What if some questions are still unanswered in this FAQ?

If there are still open questions please contact us at tapir(at)swp-berlin.org.

To the Table of Contents

SWP Comments

Matthias Schulze
Cyber Deterrence is Overrated

Analysis of the Deterrent Potential of the New US Cyber Doctrine and Lessons for Germany’s “Active Cyber Defence”


Oliver Geden, Felix Schenuit
Climate Neutrality as Long-term Strategy

The EU’s Net Zero Target and Its Consequences for Member States


SWP Research Papers

Marco Overhaus
A Matter of Credibility

Conventional and Nuclear Security Commitments of the United States in Europe


Christian Wagner
India’s Africa Policy