The Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation supports the implementation of the Early Excellence approach in Germany. In calling for applications for doctoral grants, it wants to support junior researchers in the field of pre-school and early childhood education. The research undertaken by the doctoral students should focus on topics related to the Early Excellence approach. Apart from working on their doctoral theses, the grant holders should gain an insight into educational practice. The programme is offered in cooperation with Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.

Call for applications for the Early Excellence doctoral programme of the Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation.

Target audience and fields of reseach

Target audience

  • We support doctoral students from the disciplines of childhood education, social work, the educational sciences, remedial teaching and psychology in particular from all types of universities.

  • We support doctoral students who want to make a contribution to the development of the profession of early childhood education through research which pays special attention to the educational approach of Early Excellence Centres.
  • We support doctoral students who want to advance educational equality in early childhood education with their research project.

Possible fields of research

The Foundation supports doctoral studies which address scientific issues which are relevant to early childhood education. There must be a clear link to the educational approach of EEC.  There are diverse, interesting collaboration opportunities to gain access to field research.

The following topics are of particular interest:

Quality management in EEC educational facilities, e.g

  • . development and testing of observation methods, measurement of interaction quality between children and teaching staff in early childhood education
  • High-quality educational work with children under three years of age
  • Inclusion of children with disabilities
  • Social space orientation

Organisational development and management in EEC educational facilities, e. g.

  • Team processes and work in multi- professional teams
  • Evaluation research on theory-practice transfer opportunities (further education and training; disseminators etc.)
  • Management

Developing the profession and the contribution of EEC, e. g.

  • Contribution of EEC facilities to the further development of early childhood education as a profession.
  • Childhood education of diversity
  • Dimensions of intersectionality (race, class, gender, body, age)

Democratic education in EEC facilities, e.g.

  • Democratic education in day nurseries
  • UN children’s rights
  • Education partnership with parents

If you have a creative idea for your own research project which is not explicitly listed among the fields of research, but is in line with the orientation and the objectives of EEC, please feel free to contact Ms Julia Filipps  and she will organise a tailor-made advisory meeting regarding your chances of support and submitting your application.

Julia Filipps, M.A.   +49 711 397 4593Julia Filipps

Grant holders

Anja Kerle studied social economics at the Lutheran University of Applied Sciences Nuremberg and social work at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. One of her theoretical and practical specialisations is poverty and working with poor people in Germany and India. The work Ms Kerle undertook for her Master’s degree, which she completed in 2016, provided her with more in-depth knowledge in the specialisations of empirical social research and international social work.  Ms Kerle is now doing her doctorate at the University of Hildesheim and Esslingen University of Applied Sciences on the topic of poverty constructs in the field of family centres according to EEC. She took up her grant in May 2017.

Franziska Geib studied social work at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and obtained her Master’s degree in 2013. The work she did as part of her Master’s project already examined the Early Excellence approach and the supervision and education of children with impaired hearing. After completing her studies, Ms Geib initially worked in non-formal youth work and lectured on social work at the DHBW (Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University) as well as teaching in the Early Childhood Education degree programme at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Ms Geib has lived in Berlin since 2014 where she works for the specialist integration unit for people with impaired hearing. Franziska Geib took up her grant from the Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation in January 2016 and is currently studying for her doctorate at the University of Paderborn on the topic of “Inclusion in Early Excellence Centres”.


Lucie Kluge studied at the Cooperative State University in Stuttgart, gaining her Bachelor’s degree in social work and specialising in pre-school education. The cooperative nature of her studies meant she worked for Stuttgart youth welfare office for several years. After successfully gaining her Bachelor’s degree, she began to study for a Master’s degree in social work at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. She opted to specialise in empirical social research and (in)formal education processes. She has been a social worker/social education worker (M.A.) since 2014.

In 2015, she was chosen to be the first grant holder of the EEC collaborative doctoral programme and is now doing her doctorate on the Implementation of the Family Outreach Service at German Early Excellence Facilities at Heidelberg University of Education.

In addition to her doctoral work, she lectures at the cooperative university, where she is involved in conducting the final oral examinations of the Bachelor students.



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