The German Research Foundation’s (DFG) Emmy Noether Programme aims to fund excellent young researchers in the postdoctoral
phase and, in particular, to open up an alternative to the traditional route to professorial qualification via the Habilitation
This paper seeks to evaluate this funding programme with a combination of methods made up of questionnaires, interviews, appraisals
of the reviews, and bibliometric analyses. The key success criteria in this respect are the frequency of professorial appointments
plus excellent research performance demonstrated in the form of publications. Up to now, such postdoc programme evaluations
have been conducted only scarcely.
In professional terms, approved applicants are actually clearly better placed. The personal career satisfaction level is also
higher among funding recipients. Concerning publications and citations, some minor performance differences could be identified
between approved and rejected applicants. Nevertheless, we can confirm that, on average, the reviewers indeed selected the
slightly better performers from a relatively homogenous group of very high-performing applicants. However, a comparison between
approved and rejected applicants did not show that participation in the programme had decisively influenced research performance
in the examined fields of medicine and physics.