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Review Boards

The review boards are made up of researchers from the German research system who perform their responsibilities either in face-to-face meetings or through a written process.
The review boards are made up of researchers from the German research system who perform their responsibilities either in face-to-face meetings or through a written process.
© DFG

DFG Review Boards

The main responsibility of review board members is to scientifically evaluate funding proposals in their respective subject areas and thus ensure that all proposals within a given subject area are assessed using a common standard.
The main responsibility of review board members is to scientifically evaluate funding proposals in their respective subject areas and thus ensure that all proposals within a given subject area are assessed using a common standard. The review board members write a final recommendation which is submitted to the relevant decision-making body of the DFG together with the proposals. – Photo: Meeting of the review board "Non-European Languages and Cultures..."on 18 February 2013 in Bonn.
© DFG/ Fotograf Eric Lichtenscheidt


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The review boards also advise the DFG's statutory bodies on strategic issues relating to research funding. The review boards also work on an interdisciplinary basis, both in terms of research funding and on strategic matters. For example, the meeting
The review boards also advise the DFG's statutory bodies on strategic issues relating to research funding. The review boards also work on an interdisciplinary basis, both in terms of research funding and on strategic matters. For example, the meeting of the spokespersons of all review boards on 18-19 June 2013 at the DFG's Head Office in Bonn provided an opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion.
© DFG / Jan Schumacher


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The review boards are made up of researchers from the German research system who perform their responsibilities either in face-to-face meetings or through a written process.
The review boards are made up of researchers from the German research system who perform their responsibilities either in face-to-face meetings or through a written process.
© DFG


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All 48 review boards work in accordance with the framework rules of procedure approved by the DFG Senate.
All 48 review boards work in accordance with the framework rules of procedure approved by the DFG Senate. On this common basis, some review boards work mostly face to face or through teleconferences, while others mainly use a written process or a combination of these methods. Individual review boards come together for joint meetings on average four times a year. – Meeting of the then acting Education Sciences review board on 21 January 2011 at the DFG's Head Office in Bonn.
© DFG / Fotograf Eric Lichtenscheidt


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The DFG's Head Office prepares meetings and distributes meeting documents electronically. Documents can also be accessed during the meeting by means of the electronic proposal processing system
The DFG's Head Office prepares meetings and distributes meeting documents electronically. Documents can also be accessed during the meeting by means of the electronic proposal processing system "elan".
© DFG / Fotograf Peter Himsel


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Login interface for the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system (elan).
Login interface for the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system (elan).


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Discussions on funding decisions in review board meetings usually focus on proposals for which a unanimous decision has still not been reached after the review process is complete.
Discussions on funding decisions in review board meetings usually focus on proposals for which a unanimous decision has still not been reached after the review process is complete. To this end, each proposal is assigned a rapporteur from among the review board members who will present the research project and appraise the review situation. The review board then discusses the proposal and formulates a recommendation.Photo: Meeting of the review board "Microbiology, Virology and Immunology" on 18 February 2013 in Bonn.
© DFG / Fotograf Eric Lichtenscheidt


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Researchers frequently collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. For the optimum evaluation of interdisciplinary proposals, different review boards also work together.
Researchers frequently collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. For the optimum evaluation of interdisciplinary proposals, different review boards also work together. In order to reach a decision in cases like these, guests from other review boards might be invited to meetings or two review boards might present their views on a proposal one after the other.
© DFG / Fotograf Peter Himsel


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Meetings are not only concerned with funding decisions. Review board members also receive information about changes to funding processes and may discuss strategic issues affecting their review board.
Meetings are not only concerned with funding decisions. Review board members also receive information about changes to funding processes and may discuss strategic issues affecting their review board. Here is the agenda for a meeting of the Medicine review board held on 19 November 2010 in Bonn, where a report was presented on the spokespersons' meeting for all life sciences review boards.
© DFG


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In the DFG's coordinated programmes, which involve reviews by panels, review board members are also at the on-site evaluation. This ensures that all DFG funding programmes are based on the same quality standards.
In the DFG's coordinated programmes, which involve reviews by panels, review board members are also at the on-site evaluation. This ensures that all DFG funding programmes are based on the same quality standards. On average, each member of a review board is required to perform this duty one or two times per year. On-site reviews generally last one to two days and allow the review group not only to speak directly to the applicants and the proposed project team, but also to see the research environment.
© DFG / Fotograf Harald Frater


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All review board members are elected for a period of four years and serve on a voluntary basis.
All review board members are elected for a period of four years and serve on a voluntary basis. The DFG's research funding is based on the principle of self-governance and relies on the valuable support of the elected review boards in the evaluation of funding proposals. – Photo: Meeting of the review board "Microbiology, Virology and Immunology" on 18 February 2013 in Bonn.
© DFG / Fotograf Eric Lichtenscheidt


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The DFG review boards evaluate proposals to fund research projects. They also monitor the review process to ensure that uniform standards are being observed. In addition they advise on issues concerning the further development and organisation of the DFG funding programmes. The work of the review boards is defined by the framework rules of procedure established by the DFG Senate, on the basis of which the 48 review boards draw up their own rules of procedure for the relevant membership period and elect a spokesperson and deputy spokesperson. The picture gallery opposite provides a brief overview of the work of the review boards.

Members of the review boards are elected by researchers for four years in accordance with election regulations to be adopted by the Senate. They are assigned to a subject area according to the focus of their own research work. A group of subject areas that are scientifically linked form one review board. The structure of subject areas and review boards is re-examined by the Senate every four years as part of the preparations for the review board elections, and modified if necessary. A minimum of two representatives are selected for each subject area. The number of representatives per subject area also depends on how many funding proposals in that area require review and evaluation.

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