Following Donald Trump’s presidential term, transatlantic relations have once again normalized under President Joe Biden, and even intensified since Russia’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022. However, it is completely unclear whether this will still be the case after the US elections in November 2024. Efforts are already underway in the US Congress and other political circles – especially among Republicans and their sympathizers – to leave Europe to its own devices. Another Donald Trump presidency could once again weaken the transatlantic relationship. Are Europe and Germany prepared?

President Biden has not only set a new course in foreign policy, but also in other political areas, and there are signs of medium and long-term developments that can have a direct impact on North Rhine-Westphalia. This is most noticeable in the fields of economic policy, especially industrial policy, as well as environmental policy. For example, the US federal government as well as many state governments are driving economic and social change with investments, subsidies and incentives on an unprecedented scale. In the meantime, Germany, and in particular North Rhine-Westphalia as its industrial heartland, could be left behind. How is North Rhine-Westphalia positioned for this scenario?

Parallels between North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the USA can also be observed in other political and social spheres. A trend towards greater polarization has already been observed in the USA for some time and is now also on the rise in Germany and NRW. The issue of migration and integration is not only of national concern in Germany and the USA, but a variety of questions are also being grappled with at the state level in both countries. The ongoing digitalization of other areas of life requires answers found not only in Berlin or Washington DC, but more than ever also in Düsseldorf and the state capitals. Last but not least, questions of political and social participation, involvement and representation are also pressing and need to be addressed here as well as in the USA.

This makes it all the more important to maintain close ties, while also exploring new avenues of transatlantic cooperation and networking. For this reason, the NRW School of Governance, in cooperation with the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia, is awarding three eight-week fellowships in 2024 as part of the NRW-USA Year.


Who is this call for applications aimed at?

This call is primarily aimed at researchers (e.g. doctoral students, post-doctoral students, junior researchers) in NRW who are involved in network building and whose research contributes to one of the following key themes:

  • Transformation and structural change
  • Economic and local policy
  • Energy, environment and climate
  • Labor issues and social affairs
  • Migration and integration
  • Digitalization
  • Administrative action and modernization
  • Participation, representation and involvement

The following aspects may additionally be given special consideration:

  • Political governance in the European and American multi-level system
  • Instruments, styles and techniques of state-level political governance
  • Structural policy, structural change, local policy
  • Policy management and communication

Which partner institutions are involved and what does the fellowship entail?

The fellowship research program with the American-German Institute (AGI) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC is being financed by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in order to systematically and transatlantically expand the network of the NRW School of Governance – consisting of researchers, doctoral candidates and students, as well as institutions and actors in politics, business, media and administration. The three fellows will be given the opportunity to research and work at the American-German Institute in Washington DC for the duration of the fellowship.

The fellowships must be completed between May and the end of November 2024. Each fellowship includes a stipend of €5,000 (€2,500 per month) for the eight-week stay in the USA, a lump-sum flight allowance (maximum €1,500), and a workplace at the American-German Institute in the center of Washington DC.


What services should the fellows provide?

Fellows are expected to perform the following activities:

  • Write a blog post for the NRW-USA Year blog and de, reporting on the research activities, results and experiences in Washington DC
  • Collaboration and participation in presentations of the research results, workshops, discussion rounds and research colloquia during their stay at the American-German Institute and, following their stay, also at the NRW School of Governance and the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia (including the final event at the end of 2024)
  • Collaboration in the utilization of the research results in the context of scientific publications and knowledge transfer formats

How can I apply?

The following documents must be included with the application:

  • Cover letter with motivation (approx. 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae in tabular form
  • Exposé (max. 1.5 pages) on the research project and its relation to one or more thematic priorities of the call for applications

Please send your application by e-mail to Dr. Ray Hebestreit ( by Thursday, 28 March 2024. Please submit your application documents as an attachment in PDF form in one document.

Contact persons:

Dr. Ray Hebestreit, Research Coordinator of the NRW School of Governance
E-mail:; tel.: +49 (0) 203/379 – 3742

Markus Hoffmann, Managing Director of NRW School of Governance
E-mail:; tel.: +49 (0) 203/379 – 1302

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