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Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology

Scientific instrumentation and equipment can be applied for in several of the DFG's funding programmes. In addition, major instrumentation for research at universities can be co-financed by the DFG (50%) and state-funded instrumentation for training, teaching and medical care may be reviewed by the DFG. Proposals for major research instrumentation are reviewed according to technical and scientific criteria. Additional information on particular equipment categories and infrastructure measures are also available.

Major Research Instrumentation Programme

Purpose of Funding

In accordance with the Major Research Instrumentation Programme as defined in Art. 91b of the German Basic Law, the DFG funds large scientific equipment through its Major Research Instrumentation Programme. Financing is provided in equal parts by the DFG and the university's home state. To be eligible for funding, proposed research instrumentation projects must be of high quality and national importance. The instrumentation must primarily serve research purposes. This criterion is fulfilled if the necessity of the purchase and its usage are based solely on its intended use in research. In addition, the instrumentation may also be used in teaching and/or medical care. These areas will not be considered when assessing the necessity of the equipment.

Eligibility Requirements

1. German public universities and private, institutionally accredited higher education institutions in Germany are eligible to apply.

2. Proposals for major instrumentation, which can be submitted at any time, are sent to the DFG in accordance with the respective state guidelines. The states and/or universities must guarantee 50% co-financing.

3. The lead scientist shall serve as the applicant and submit the relevant proposal form and documentation. The proposal is then passed on from the university to the appropriate Science or Culture Ministry and from there on to the DFG

Type and Extent of Funding

Major instrumentation is the sum of the components, including accessories, that form an operational unit for the intended application. A clear relationship should exist between the base unit (including software) and its accessories – which can include methodological and measurement-related expansions or supplements that are not directly required for operation.

The instrumentation must cost over €100,000 for universities of applied science and over €200,000 for other universities. The maximum limit is €5 million.

Major Instrumentation in Research Buildings

What is considered major equipment in research buildings, and how is it financed and processed?

The major equipment proposed here differs from that in the Major Research Instrumentation Programme in that this equipment is financed within the framework of constructing a research building.

Proposals by the states for the financing of research buildings are submitted to the federal government and the German Council of Science and Humanities. The Council makes recommendations to the BLK (Federal-State Commission for Educational Planning and Research) as to which of the measures applied for by the state should be realised. The BLK decides at least once annually about the acceptance of the project into the joint funding.

Proposals for major instrumentation exceeding €5 million undergo the same application procedure as proposals for research buildings. The DFG provides the German Council of Science and Humanities with a recommendation about the equipment and for instrumentation contained in research buildings.

The financial processing of research buildings is negotiated between the federal government and the respective state.

State Funded Major Instrumentation

Purpose of Funding

Under this programme, major instrumentation is procured for German universities and university clinics and financed by the states/universities. The DFG is commissioned by the states to review proposals for major instruments that are to be used for research, teaching and training, or for medical care. The funds can serve this purpose either directly or indirectly. Thus, major instrumentation also includes IT systems for computing centres, university libraries, and administrative systems at universities and clinics.

Eligibility Requirements

1. German public universities and university hospitals are eligible to apply.

2. Proposals for major instrumentation, which can be submitted at any time, are sent to the DFG by the state/university in accordance with the respective state guidelines. The state and/or university must guarantee financing.

3. Instrumentation must exceed €200,000 for universities and €100,000 for all other higher education institutions. The thresholds applicable in Bavaria, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland are €125,000 for universities and €75,000 for all other higher education institutions.

Instrumentation Proposal Criteria

1. Major instrumentation is the sum of the components, including accessories, that form an operational unit for the intended application. A clear relationship should exist between the base unit (including software) and its accessories – which can include methodological and measurement-related expansions or supplements that are not directly required for operation. Building measures are not considered part of the equipment.

2. Proposals for upgrades or supplements will be reviewed if the individual items exceed the minimum limits.

3. Overall concepts for IT will be considered if they include specific purchasing measures.

4. Proposals for individual workplace PCs will be considered.

Further Information

Please refer to the following for more information (available in German only)

Equipment in DFG Programmes

The DFG provides funding for scientific instrumentation that is essential to carry out special research projects and is not included in the core support available at the respective institute. Each year, the DFG receives several hundred proposals for research grants that include equipment requests. In addition to demonstrating the scientific necessity of the item in question, the applicant must ensure that the institution is willing and prepared to create the necessary conditions for installation and operation of the equipment. Within this framework, there is no programme that enables applicants to request equipment only.

Major Instrumentation in Research Grant Proposals

In conjunction with its research grants, the DFG defines equipment with a gross purchase price of € 50,000 or higher as major instrumentation. Proposals that include such instrumentation pass through the standard review process used in the relevant funding programme. If assessed favourably, the proposals are then discussed by the Committee on Scientific Instrumentation or the Commission on IT Infrastructure regarding the methodological and technical aspects of the equipment. There, a funding recommendation is made for the DFG's Joint Committee, which makes the final decision.

Major Instrumentation Initiatives

Applicants may request expensive, high-performance equipment for research through major instrumentation initiatives. The initiatives are developed in cooperation with the Committee on Scientific Infrastructure/Commission on IT Infrastructure. The DFG then issues specific calls for proposals. Calls are published on the DFG's website and may additionally be announced through contacts in the scientific community. Initiative proposals are jointly reviewed.

Contact

Purchasing of Research Equipment

All equipment purchase orders exceeding € 10,000 are issued by the DFG's Central Purchasing Office in conjunction with the applicant. The equipment is either provided on loan to the researcher or ownership is transferred to the academic institution for the purpose of carrying out the researcher's project. Researchers may take the equipment with them when changing affiliations.

Repair of Equipment on Loan

Researchers who obtain equipment on loan may additionally apply for funding to pay for major repairs which are not considered part of the routine maintenance costs. Proposals must be approved before the repair work can be commissioned. Smaller repairs may be funded by redirecting research grants, subject to prior approval by the DFG. Approval is not required for repairs costing less than € 600.

Major Instrumentation Initiatives

In the context of major instrumentation initiatives it is possible to apply for expensive major equipment with outstanding, innovative technology and the goal of promoting particular scientific and technical issues. Such initiatives are developed in collaboration with the Committee on Scientific Instrumentation or the Commission on IT Infrastructure. The application takes place as part of a process initiated by the DFG, in which an announcement calls for proposals for a particular initiative. Proposals received for an initiative are then jointly reviewed and decided upon.

Core Facilities

With appropriate use and management concepts, the establishment of core facilities can contribute to an overall improvement in research infrastructure. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) therefore supports the establishment of core facilities and the joint – as well as external – use of technologies offered/available therein. This occurs in the form of calls for funding proposals. An initial call for funding proposals took place in 2011, followed by furthercalls in 2012 and 2015.

On 26. January 2016 a new call for funding proposals was released (Information for Researchers No. 8 - available in German only).

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) operates the portal RIsources (RI = Research Infrastructure) containing information in a compact form about national scientific research infrastructures which provide researchers with resources and services for research projects. Research infrastructures include instrumentation offerings and scientific services as well as libraries, data repositories and scientific collections.

Further information:

Contact

Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology Division
Major Instrumentation Programmes

Policy Issues

Contacts according to key aspects / responsibilities

Central Purchasing Office
Purchasing of scientific instrumentation for DFG programmes / Instrumentation on loan – General Information

Purchasing of scientific instrumentation

Instrumentation Category Key

Loans Administration

Automobiles on loan

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