Your status at MPIPZ

It is important to know what your status will be, as different status have different terms and conditions, particularly regarding social security contributions and benefits.

 There are two ways of engaging in research at the MPIPZ:

  • on a fellowship
  • or on a contract of employment


A fellowship is a form of financial support, an “allowance towards living expenses”. If you complete your postdoctoral stay on a fellowship, you have no contractual employment relationship with the MPIPZ and you will have the status of a visitor researcher. You will work autonomously and independently; there is no obligation to take part in institute functions. Fellowships that are competitively gained are considered a positive step in academic career as they are a proof that you are able to secure funding for your own projects. Please visit our section of funding opportunities to know more about different types of fellowships.

There are mainly two types of fellow holders within the MPIPZ:

  • Third party fellowships holders, who they have secured funding before coming or during their stay here*
  • Fellowships of the MPIPZ Guest Program Programme, please have more information about this program here.

Fellowship holders are not liable for insurance under the terms of the German social security system. This means that you are not entitled to benefit from statutory health insurance, pension schemes, unemployment benefit, accident and long-term care insurance. Because health insurance cover is mandatory in Germany, you must take out health insurance yourself or arrange adequate health insurance from your own country. We also strongly recommend to contract private accident and personal liability insurance. Many insurance companies offer combined insurance packages. Be aware, however, that fellowship holders are automatically covered by the Max Planck Society group accident insurance. In addition, with a fellowship you are normally tax exempt.

Particular benefits for MPIPZ employees, as subsidized training and small number of child care programs, will also not be accessible to fellow holders.

In case of third party fellowships, the amount of the stipend and benefits, for instance child and mobility allowance, vary from the type of fellowship.

*Note: although MSCA Programme and EMBO Programme provide third party funding for a postdoctoral position, the working agreement is concluded through a contract, so the fellow holder is automatically considered an employee of the MPIPZ.


If you are engaged in research through a contract, then you are considered an employee of the MPIPZ with the terms and conditions that apply to all employees and which you will agree when signing your contract before starting to work. With a contract, you are liable for tax and social security. The MPIPZ pays the employer’s contribution for health, long-term care, pension and unemployment insurance; the employee’s contribution, for which you are liable, is automatically deducted from your salary along with tax. The MPIPZ also covers the costs of accidents at work and occupational health insurances. Your wages will be paid in accordance with the Collective Wage Agreement for Government Service Workers (TvöD) and they are calculated according to your your experiences.

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