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FAQ: Knowledge Transfer

For general enquiries, in the first instance please contact Christiane Mohren (

For technical queries or questions relating to transfer projects as part of Collaborative Research Centres or Research Training Groups, please contact the relevant responsible individuals.

Transfer projects must be based on the results of DFG-funded projects. Details of the preparatory work must be provided in the proposal.

  • Individual grants, Priority Programmes, Research Units: Proposals for transfer projects can be submitted at any time as long as suitable results are available from a DFG-funded project. It is usually also possible to submit a proposal after a DFG project is completed. However, if you intend to transfer knowledge from a DFG project carried out some time ago, you should consult the contact persons responsible for transfer projects first.

  • Collaborative Research Centres, CRC/Transregio and Research Training Groups: In these funding programmes, proposals for transfer projects must be submitted while the larger project is ongoing. In Collaborative Research Centres and CRC/Transregio, transfer projects can also be proposed in the establishment proposal.

The general eligibility requirements for the funding programme in question apply. The applicant or one of the funded participants must be involved in both the DFG-funded project and the transfer project to ensure continuity of the specific knowledge and skills acquired and usage rights relating to outcomes of the DFG project, particularly in the case of individual projects.

The funding categories available correspond to the funding programme within which the proposal is submitted. In a transfer project, only the academic partner receives funding from the DFG.

Please note: Application partners can supplement their contribution with funding from third parties (e.g. foundations or business development funds). This must be set out in the proposal. In this case, please consult the contact persons responsible for transfer projects at the DFG's Head Office before submitting a proposal.

Any company or non-commercial organisation (non-profit private-law organisation or public institution) can be an application partner.

The application partner is expected to be the end user of the project outcomes. Transfer institutions or Transfer GmbHs of research institutions cannot therefore be considered as application partners for the purposes of knowledge transfer funding.

Research institutions which are eligible to submit proposals to the DFG can be application partners in a transfer project, but cannot simultaneously be the academic partner in the same project. If you have any questions about the suitability of an intended application partner for a transfer project, please contact Christiane Mohren before submitting a proposal.

Companies and public institutions from outside Germany can also be application partners. During the review process, particular attention will be given to the specific added value of this collaboration.

Transfer projects are collaborative projects to which both the academic partner and the application partner contribute. The application partner's contribution reflects the anticipated practical significance of the outcomes. The application partner is therefore expected to make a contribution that adequately reflects this significance.

The core of a transfer project is the joint work programme involving the academic partner and the application partner. To enable the reviewers to assess the application partner's contribution, particularly in terms of content and staffing, this contribution should be explained in the work programme. The work programme should clearly indicate what proportion of the working hours will be contributed by the named employees of the application partner (e.g. in person-months) in individual work packages and what specific tasks they will perform. The content and staffing contribution may be supplemented by direct project costs or capital investments.

Please note: Application partners can supplement their contribution with funding from third parties (e.g. foundations or business development funds). This must be set out in the proposal. In this case, please consult the contact persons responsible for transfer projects at the DFG's Head Office before submitting a proposal.

Yes, if this is necessary for the successful completion of the project. Where possible there should be one cooperation agreement for all participating partners.

Projects which take the form of model projects or field research and are therefore primarily concerned with scholarly investigation do not usually make suitable transfer projects, because a transfer project must focus on the practical application of research findings with the active participation of an application partner. The evaluation of a concept or material or the carrying out of relevant studies in schools, for example, are not suitable.

Projects whose exclusive aim is publicity work are not eligible for funding as transfer projects. Projects of this type are primarily intended to present research outcomes and are usually a one-off activity, for example the production of CDs, DVDs, brochures or an exhibition. Funding for publicity can be applied for through research grant proposals and through Collaborative Research Centres (see DFG form 52.07 (Research grants) and DFG form 60.04 (Collaborative Research Centres).

The cooperation agreement defines the contributions of the partners, reporting obligations and publication and usage rights. It forms part of the proposal for transfer funding and is a prerequisite for the consideration of the proposal.

The cooperation agreement is checked by the DFG Head Office and is not subject to the review process.

The DFG provides all applicants with a sample agreement for commercial application partners and non-commercial application partners (DFG forms 41.026 and 41.026a). Applicants must present a cooperation agreement approved by the DFG in order for a proposal to be considered.

The most recent sample agreement should always be used. If this is not possible and alternative arrangements need to be made, this can be arranged with the DFG Head Office prior to a proposal being submitted.

The activities in a transfer project are limited to pre-competitive work. Only development to prototype stage is permitted within a transfer project.

For non-commercial purposes, 'prototype' may be understood as 'exemplary development and application'.

Transfer projects should not be planned as ongoing projects. Continuations are only possible in exceptional circumstances. Please direct any enquiries to the responsible contact person at the DFG Head Office.

Yes, in principle this is possible. But please note that the cooperation agreement is between the application partner and the 'old' university or research institution. The funding for the transfer project can only be transferred once a supplement to the existing agreement has been presented setting out the rights and obligations of the 'old' and 'new' universities and the application partner. A draft agreement can be sent to you on request.

If this happens, please call us immediately to discuss the possibilities open to you.

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