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In Brief

Collaborative Research Centres

Collaborative Research Centres are long-term university-based research institutions, established for up to 12 years, in which researchers work together within a multidisciplinary research programme.

They allow researchers to tackle innovative, challenging, complex and long-term research undertakings through the coordination and concentration of individuals and resources within the applicant universities. They therefore enable institutional priority area development and structural development. Cooperations with non-university research institutions are expressly encouraged.

Collaborative Research Centres consist of a large number of projects. The number and scope of these projects depend on the research programme. Individual projects are led by one researcher or jointly by several researchers.

Programme Variations

The traditional Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) is proposed and carried out by one university. It addresses an extensive research programme by combining the resources available at the institution.

The CRC/Transregio (TRR) is proposed and carried out jointly by two or three universities. It allows close cooperation between these institutions and the researchers based there, including the shared use of resources. The contributions of the partner applicants are essential to the joint research goal, complementary and synergistic.

Collaborative Research Centres and CRC/Transregios can also integrate projects led by researchers at other universities and non-university research institutions.

It is also possible to integrate projects at research institutions abroad; foreign universities can be participating institutions in a CRC/Transregio.

In addition, Collaborative Research Centres can integrate projects in cooperation with partners in industry or other application partners with the goal of knowledge transfer.


The realisation of excellent research within the group; the development of priority areas and structural development at the applicant university/universities; interdisciplinary cooperation; support of early career researchers and equal opportunity for women and men in research

Eligibility Requirements

Universities (and institutions of equivalent status entitled to confer doctorates) in Germany; other research institutions which are to make essential contributions to the research programme can be integrated

Proposal Requirements

High scientific quality and originality at an internationally competitive level; a complex, long-term research programme; coherent interlinking of projects; researchers with very good track records; appropriate staffing, funding and infrastructure; convincing contributions to development of priority areas and structural development at the applicant universities; support of early career researchers and equality for women and men in research; professional management

Type and Extent of Funding

Funding for staff (including the replacement and rotation posts modules), funding for scientific instrumentation, funds for consumables, travel, colloquia, guests, visiting professorships (Mercator Fellow module), international cooperations, early career support including Integrated Research Training Groups, equality measures, public relations, information infrastructure, transfer projects and group coordination, see also:

Early Career Support

Integrated Research Training Groups

Information Infrastructure

Public Relations and Science Communication

Transfer Projects

Funding Duration

Up to 12 years; one funding period lasts four years

Proposal Deadlines

The establishment of a Collaborative Research Centre involves a two-stage decision process.

New proposals: no submission deadline, but proposals may only be submitted following the submission of a draft proposal and a consultation;

Renewal proposals: must be submitted within the final year of the current funding period of the Collaborative Research Centre;

Decision-Making Process

Forms and Guidelines

Forms and Guidelines

Additional Information

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