Jump to main navigation Skip to Content

DFG Logo: back to Homepage Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Press Release No. 24 | 4 July 2018
€3.2 Billion in Funding and 32,500 Projects

DFG Presents 2017 Annual Report / Annual Meeting Held in Bonn

In 2017, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) awarded funding to approximately 32,500 research projects with a volume of almost €3.2 billion – representing an increase of around 1,000 projects and €120 million compared to the previous year. Of these projects, over 8,000 were newly approved projects, which received a total of €2.1 billion in funding. These figures were published in the Annual Report 2017, presented by the DFG – the largest research funding organisation and central, self-governing organisation of the research community in Germany – on 4 July 2018 at its General Assembly held in conjunction with its Annual Meeting in Bonn.

DFG funding activities in 2017 – key facts and figures

Last year, the DFG funded a total of 32,481 projects. For these projects, it approved total funding of €3.15 billion, of which 67.9% came from the federal government and 31.2% from the state governments. The number of newly approved projects increased, with 8,303 compared to 7,933 in the previous year, as did the newly approved funds – from €2.05 billion in 2016 to €2.13 billion.

In 2017, once again more than half of all funded projects, or 16,517, were supported in the individual grants programmes; a total of approximately €1.1 billion was approved for these projects, over €85 million more than in 2016. In Research Training Groups, Collaborative Research Centres and other coordinated programmes, funding was awarded to 840 groups with around 13,760 projects and a total approved sum of approximately €1.33 billion. The 99 projects funded through the Excellence Initiative received around €438.3 million.

In terms of the larger scientific disciplines, the life sciences received the most funding with around €1.1 billion (35.2% of the total sum awarded), followed by the natural sciences with around €714 million (22.6%), the engineering sciences with around €624 million (19.8%) and the humanities and social sciences with around €480 million (15.2%); interdisciplinary projects received approximately €224 million (7.1%) in funding.

The approved projects encompassed the full spectrum of academic disciplines and subject areas. They ranged from archaeology and immunology to zoology, and from agricultural and plant sciences to materials sciences; there were projects in civil engineering, biology and educational research; molecular chemistry, mathematics and mechanics; in social anthropology, statistical physics and systems engineering.

The Annual Report, also published in book form, contains these and other figures, statistics and diagrams, as well as profiles of the focal areas of the DFG’s funding activities and its involvement in issues affecting the research system and science policy.

The report also includes journalistic articles presenting selected research projects. “The international focus of the report takes account of two factors: firstly, the fact that scientific inquiry can benefit enormously from global dialogue and cooperation and, secondly, the fact that in some areas of the world, conditions are becoming more difficult for the free choice of research topics and methods,” write DFG President Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider and Secretary General Prof. Dorothee Dzwonnek in the foreword. “Research funding that is oriented towards these freedoms and independent of political, economic and social demands is therefore becoming increasingly important.”

Topics and outcomes at the Annual Meeting in Bonn

The presentation and acceptance of the 2017 Annual Report at the General Assembly on 4 July marked the conclusion of the DFG’s three-day Annual Meeting, which was held at the University of Bonn in the university's 200th anniversary year, in the city where the DFG’s Head Office is located.

The focus of the funding decisions was on the establishment of five Research Units and two Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies. At the General Assembly, two new members – one woman and one man – were elected to the Senate, the DFG’s most important scientific body, and two were re-elected for a further term in office.

The new DFG Funding Atlas, the most comprehensive source of information about publicly funded research in Germany, was also presented at the General Assembly. Published every three years since 1997, it is now in its eighth edition, which focuses on research funding in the European Research Area and worldwide, and the 50th anniversary of the DFG Collaborative Research Centres Programme. On 5 July, the DFG together with the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the Stifterverband will present the new Funding Atlas to journalists and the general public at a press conference in Berlin.

The formal event held during the Annual Meeting on Tuesday evening was attended by the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, and the Minister of Culture and Science for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, both of whom gave words of welcome. In his address, DFG President Peter Strohschneider spoke about the power of judgement as a prerequisite for successful research and research funding.

On 2 July, the DFG and the Stifterverband presented this year’s Communicator Award at Bonn’s Pantheon Theater. The €50,000 award went to Bremen-based oceanographer and geomicrobiologist Prof. Dr. Antje Boetius for her multifaceted and long-standing work on communicating her own research on the deep sea and polar regions as well as general questions regarding the research system and science communication.

The next Annual Meeting of the DFG will take place between 1 and 3 July 2019 in Rostock.

Further Information

Media contact: