ATSAF - CGIAR++ Junior Scientist Program (Master Thesis Research)

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ATSAFInformation on providing funding to students for thesis research at International Agricultural Research Centers

With around 350 members ATSAF – Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Tropische und Subtropische Agrarforschung e.V. (Council for Tropical and Subtropical Research) connects key players in German development-oriented agricultural research. This includes professors of German universities with a focus on development-oriented agricultural research and a matching teaching concept, that supports the training of young researchers in this field. Contacts to and stays at International Agricultural Research Centers are invaluable in bringing young scientists early on to practice. For many years, ATSAF has been funding congresses travel grands and preparatory project development trips to International Agricultural Research Centers (IARC) for young postdoctoral researchers.

With our “ATSAF - CGIAR++ Junior Scientist Program” financed by BMZ via giz BEAF, we support students in completing their Master’s degree and enables them to gain practical experience in project-based scientific work at an International Agricultural Research Center. For this purpose, ATSAF in collaboration with giz BEAF will support M.Sc. students in conducting their research to create a Master's thesis at one of the CGIAR++ centers.

Requirements for applications/applicants:

  • Completion of at least five semesters of agricultural sciences or another development-related degree course (e.g. biology, geography, sociology, veterinary medicine, marine biology, forestry, political sciences, law, etc.).
  • Enrolment at a German university.
  • Very good command of the English language. In some countries, knowledge of other languages (e.g.
  • French, Spanish, Arabic) may be advantageous or even required.
  • High degree of sensitivity towards the culture in the country of assignment; team player; ability to work under pressure; willingness to assume responsibility and to work independently.
  • Confirmation from an International Agricultural Research Center that a supervisor for the candidate is identified and the research topic is accepted.
  • Confirmation from a University supervisor to support the application and the research topic.

Your stay at the international research center should be for six months and is exclusively for research, not for thesis writing. Keep this in mind when drafting the work plan. Please include the date of the planned departure or the start of work abroad.

During the Corona Pandemic, we also offer the opportunity for CGIAR centers to work with Junior Scientists from German Universities on data sets that are already available and that need to be analyzed. These data sets shall be analyzed by the Junior Scientists as part of his or her MSc Thesis project jointly supervised by the German and CG supervisors, shall form integral part of a development-oriented project of the respective CGIAR center and should aim at a mutual publication of the three parties involved. For those types of collaborations, the presence of the Junior scientist at the CG center is not required. Mixed forms, such as a remote start of the project and travel to the center when the pandemic is over, are also possible.

Research projects aiming at the preparation of a PhD dissertation cannot be supported.

Please send your application in English to Sarah Glatzle at

Applications must include:

  1. Letter of Motivation (LoM)
  2. CV
  3. Outline of the master thesis concept of about 3 to 4 pages, including the planned research topic and a time schedule with a month-by-month work plan. Your time at the international research center is exclusively for research, not for thesis writing. Keep this in mind when drafting the work plan. Please include the date of the planned departure or the start of work abroad.
  4. Enrolment certificate of German university
  5. Letter of Recommendation (LoR) from a university lecturer
  6. Letter of Confirmation (LoC) from the international research center, confirming the support of your work
  7. Letter of Confirmation (LoC) from your German university supervisor to accept the research topic as master/diploma thesis.

Once you have been accepted, the fees contract that will be concluded with ATSAF e.V. will provide a lump sum (paid out in two payments) for travel and cost of living. For the duration of the stay abroad, the students have to conclude an international health insurance incl. medically necessary home transport and an international liability insurance before they go.


The grant will be paid out in two payments. Payment 1 (3500€) will be transferred to your account at the beginning and payment 2 (1100€) will be transferred to you at the end, once you have returned and have sent us a report about your stay.

Following are conditions that have to be met before you receive the first payment:

  1. we will send you a fee contact (Honorarvertrag), which you have to fill in all the missing information (your bank details etc.) and send it back to us.
  2. because we are concluding a fee contract, you have to invoice us to receive the payments. We will send you a template of an invoice, that you just have to fill out and sign and send back to us.
  3. The letter of agreement (LoA) between ASTAF and the research center has to be signed by the representative of the center and signed scanned copy sent back to us. We will send the LoA to your supervisor at the center with the request of letting it be signed from the responsible person

Because of security issues, there are a number of countries which cannot be traveled to, please consult the county recommendations of the German Foreign Office for advice. The first information about this can be found on the website of the German Foreign Office: https://www.auswaertiges- Be aware, that the list is regularly updated and countries might be added according to changing security situations. In case you are in doubt about your target country, please contact us in time.

Please address any communication regarding the logistic questions (on arrival, possible pick-up, accommodation, etc.) directly to your supervisor at the research center.

Please note, that you are responsible in organizing your own visa. Your visa must respond to the entry regulations of the research center. The research center is responsible to assist in visa issues. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible for the necessary invitation or other required documents.

Application deadlines and COVID 19: Due to the Corona Pandemic we are suspending the existing application deadlines and are accepting applications at any time, including delayed departure dates because of COVID 19.