DFG Research Grants

Funding source: German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG)

Funding: own position, postdocs, PhD students, equipment, travel

Duration: up to three years (extension possible)

Eligibility: Researchers holding a PhD and working at a German (non-profit) research institution

Deadlines: No application deadlines

Webpage: https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/programmes/individual/research_grants/index.html


DFG Research grants enable individuals who have completed their academic training (i.e. who have gained a doctorate) to conduct at a research project with a clearly defined topic and duration. Proposals may be submitted to the DFG at any time. The maximum initial funding duration is three years. Subsequently, a renewal proposal may be submitted.

Regarding the funding, there are different modules that can be applied for. The Basic Module is intended to request funding for direct project costs, project-specific staff (excluding the own position of the applicant), and instrumentation necessary to carry out the project. If you would like to request a position for yourself as principal investigator of the proposed project, you have to use the module “Temporary Positions for Principal Investigators” to request the corresponding funding.

For applicants employed at a Max Planck Institute (same applies for other non-university research organizations in Germany) some restrictions have to be observed. Primarily you can only apply if you do not have a permanent position at the Max Planck Institute. In addition, if you want to request the funding of your own position then this is only possible within the first six years after completing your doctorate, and the Institute has to cover 45% of the total project costs.

The Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research will only be willing in exceptional cases to cover 45% of the project costs. Therefore, if you are looking for a funding of you own position, one option is to identify a scientist at the institute who does not have a permanent position and who may be interested to collaborate with you on the project you want to propose. Then this scientist may work with you on the proposal, submit the proposal and request the funding of your position within the basic module.

There is one other option if you have a permanent position (at the Max Planck Institute) or in case you want to request the funding for your own position and you are not within the first six years after your doctorate or the institute will not cover 45% of the costs. You can submit a proposal for a joint project together with a member of a German university, and either at least 50% of the total approved funding has to go to the university, or the scientific planning and implementation of the joint project has to be lead-managed by the cooperation partner at the university.

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