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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 13 | 20. März 2012
Conversion of Renewable Energies to Hydrogen – a Bilateral Chinese-German Call for Proposals

The present initiative is a bilateral funding measure by two funding bodies: the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The collaborative projects in this initiative will receive research funding for a period of up to three years.

The initiative on the conversion of renewable energies to hydrogen aims to bring together relevant and competitive researchers and research teams from China and Germany to design and carry out jointly organised research projects in the given field. Funding within this initiative will be available for multilateral collaborative research projects consisting of researchers from both partner countries. Within these research consortia, each national funding organisation will fund as a general rule only those project components that are carried out within its own country. The collaborative research projects must involve active communication and cooperation between the participating researchers.

Objectives
The objectives of the initiative are:

  • to promote high-quality, multi- and inter-disciplinary research projects in the participating countries,

  • to stimulate mobility of researchers between the participating countries,

  • to promote training of researchers,

  • to accelerate the exchange of new scientific knowledge among researchers and between researchers and other interested groups.

Research areas
The call is targeted at proposals in the field of energy storage by conversion of renewable energies to hydrogen. The topic could be addressed, for instance, by:

  • novel approaches in water electrolysis

  • thermo-chemical cycles,

  • photocatalytic water splitting,

  • advanced methods for the conversion of biomass to hydrogen,

  • or other innovative methods.

Research projects are encouraged to include multi- and interdisciplinary approaches in a collaborative manner to create a maximum of synergy between the members of the research teams.

Eligibility
This call for proposals is open to researchers based at universities, academic institutions and research centres in China and Germany. Funding is available for bilateral collaborative research projects comprising researchers or research teams from the two participating countries. Within a consortium the number of respective national research teams should be roughly balanced. Applicants are required to fulfill any national requirements for funding and follow the general regulations of their respective funding organisation. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Criteria for project selection
All proposals will be reviewed by an external, international peer review committee. Collaborative projects suitable for joint funding will be selected on the basis of this assessment.

The most important criteria applied in this selection process are the following:

  • relevance of the project to the conversion of renewable energies to hydrogen,

  • scientific quality and innovativeness of the research project,

  • feasibility of the research plan,

  • cost-effectiveness of the budgetary plan,

  • competence and expertise of the researchers or research teams,

  • effective communication and cooperation between the researchers in each country and added value of the collaboration,

  • mobility of researchers between the participating countries.

Allowable costs
For DFG, funds may be used to cover salaries of postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students as well as for consumables and travel expenses for internal consortia meetings (at least one internal meeting per year) and scientific conferences. Within a collaborative project, researcher mobility between China and Germany is strongly encouraged (e.g. research visits for 3–6 months) and can be supported by funding travel expenses and housing costs.

In the case of mutual visits of scientists between China and Germany the visiting scientist will cover international flights and the host will provide the local accommodation together with a daily maintenance allowance and domestic travel costs.

All requested cost items must be in accordance with the national administrative regulations, respectively.

Submission of project applications
All applicants of a bilateral collaborative project within this call must submit their joint application to the respective national funding bodies (NSFC and DFG). The joint application is accompanied by a “Specific Chinese-German Application Form” (link to the form see under further information). All documents and respective forms must be written in English.

Additional specific requirements for Chinese and German applicants are outlined below. Applications arriving late and applications not fulfilling the national requirements will not be considered. No legal entitlement can be derived from the submission of a project description.

The joint application must include the following information:

  • cover page with name and address of the principle investigators,

  • joint abstract (one page maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing),

  • joint research plan with a general description of the project including scope, topic, relevance, overall approach, a clear description of the planned research collaboration with responsibilities of the partners, basis of the Chinese-German collaboration and added value to be expected, significance to researcher training and to the development of the research environment, a justification for requested cost items for each collaboration partner (20 pages maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing),

  • annex with a short CV for each principle investigator (including up to five selected publications for each investigator).

All proposals must be submitted by 29 June 2012.

Specific instructions for Chinese PIs
Chinese applicants are kindly requested to conform to all the requirements listed in the Chinese call for proposals published on NSFC website.

Specific instructions for German PIs
Researchers in Germany, or those working at a German research institution abroad, who have completed their academic training (a doctorate as a rule) are eligible to submit proposals. Due to the thematic focus of this call (similar to DFG Priority Programmes), proposals may also be submitted by researchers working at a non-university research institution without being subject to a cooperation requirement regarding the individual proposal.

Applicants to be funded by the DFG are requested to fulfill the eligibility requirements of DFG Research Grants, see the corresponding guidelines of the Research Grants Programme, DFG form 50.01.

Please note proposals within this call have to be submitted to the electronic proposal processing system (elan). A proposal consists of the following three parts:

  • proposal data and obligations (only to be filled by the German applicants on elan)

  • project description (joint application as described above)

  • appendices (CVs, “Specific Chinese-German Application Form”)

Further information is given in the Proposal Preparation Instructions, DFG form 54.01.

Notification of results
Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the following administrative steps according to the national regulations, respectively. The selection of the projects will take place by the end of 2012. The projects may start as of the beginning of 2013.

Further information

Forms and Guidelines

50.01 Guidelines Research Grants Programme
54.01 Proposal Preparation Instructions – Project Proposals

Download of the “Specific Chinese-German Application Form”

General information for German PIs on Research Grants

Further information for Chinese PIs

Contact information for China

  • Lu Rongkai,
    Director of division, NSFC,
    phone: +86 10 623 25351,
    lurk@nsfc.gov.cn

Contact information for Germany
Questions concerning scientific issues may be addressed to:

  • Dr. Markus Behnke,
    Programme Director,
    German Research Foundation (DFG),
    phone: +49 228 885-2181,
    markus.behnke@dfg.de

Questions concerning issues of international cooperation may be addressed to:

  • Dr. Ingrid Krüßmann,
    Programme Director,
    German Research Foundation (DFG),
    phone: +49 228 885-2786,
    ingrid.kruessmann@dfg.de

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