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 visiting 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 an academic career as they are a proof that you can secure funding for your own projects. Please visit our section of funding opportunities to learn more about different types of fellowships.

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

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

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

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 accident insurance. In addition, holding a fellowship means that you are normally exempt from tax.

Particular benefits for MPIPZ employees, such as subsidized training and a small number of child-care programmes, will also not be available to fellowship holders.

In case of third-party fellowships, the amount of the stipend and benefits, such as child and mobility allowance, varies according to the type of fellowship.


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 that you will agree to when signing your contract before starting work. A contract means that 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 insurance. Your wages will be paid in accordance with the Collective Wage Agreement for Government Service Workers (TvöD) and are calculated according to your experience.

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