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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 50 | 20. September 2012
Materials Science and Engineering: European Network M ERA.NET launches first call for transnational project proposals

Supported by the EU Commission in the 7th EU Framework Programme as ‘ERA-NET on research on materials science and engineering, including international cooperation’, the M-ERA.NET network is pleased to announce the first call for transnational project proposals in the area of materials science and engineering.

M-ERA.NET is a European network of public funding organisations and funding programmes on materials science and engineering, for the benefit of the European industry and society. This EU funded project has been established to support and increase the coordination of national and regional funding and research to develop a strong European scientific and technological community. M-ERA.NET aims to replace a number of smaller ERA-NETs with a single innovative and flexible approach, covering most of materials science and engineering across Europe. This will provide the European community with access to world leading knowledge and national and regional funding programmes across a number of EU member states. The M-ERA.NET network consists of 25 European countries and 37 funding organisations, of which 29 are national and 8 are regional. Between February 2012 and January 2016, M-ERA.NET aims to support the exploitation of knowledge along the whole innovation chain, from basic research to applied research and innovation.

Materials scientists and engineers who are eligible to apply for financial support from any of the participating funding organisations are cordially invited to apply jointly within one of the five call topics. In the current call DFG participates in the topic ‘Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)’ and will support only those projects that exhibit a clear focus on pure basic research. In contrast to other M-ERA.NET funding organisations, DFG will not support mixed-mode proposals, comprising both, basic and applied research. The minimum size of the project consortia is three partner institutions located in two different participating countries.

There will be a two-stage evaluation procedure involving pre-proposals and full proposals. All pre-proposals must be submitted via the electronic application system for this call no later than 27 November 2012. All proposals will be subject of a joint peer-review and a joint decision process of the funding organisations involved. Successful applicants from the pre-proposal stage will be invited to submit their comprehensive, more detailed full proposals no later than 23 April 2013. The proposals will be evaluated in terms of the evaluation criteria ‘scientific and technical quality’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’. For the topic ‘Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)’ the proposals should meet specific requirements, as described in detail below. Each applicant may request funding for individual grants according to national rules and national general conditions. DFG funding will be provided through the Research Grants (Sachbeihilfe) funding programme with a budget of up to € 2.5 million (plus overhead funding). Joint projects will be funded for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three years, starting in late 2013.

Scope of the DFG-supported call topic ‘Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)’:

Current developments in combinatorial synthesis and high-throughput or high-accuracy characterisation of materials as well as the prediction of materials properties by novel high-throughput simulation allow for a faster development of materials targeted to specific life-cycle needs. A skilful combination of these approaches in terms of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) will lead to significant improvements in e.g. the prediction of phase stability in multi-component materials, new approaches in interface engineering and the substitution of strategic materials. This emerging discipline can accelerate materials development and unify design and manufacturing.

The proposals should address each of the following themes:


  • development of computational tools based on materials physics
    (e.g. intelligent DFT-based scale bridging, efficient solvers for microstructure-based simulation), or

  • microstructure-based materials processing models
    (e.g. efficient parallel computing, inverse modelling approaches), or

  • direct modelling of experiments
    (e.g. highly accurate or time dependent 3D experiments)

properties and applications

  • specific materials properties
    (e.g. toughness, corrosion), or

  • performance in manufacturing, processes and applications
    (e.g. materials processing behaviour (e.g. during forming or welding), in-service properties, recyclability)

experimental data

  • high-accuracy, atomic resolution methods
    (e.g. 3D atom probe), or

  • high-throughput state-of-the-art methods
    (combinatorial synthesis with in-situ characterisation), or

  • time-dependent 3D structural evolution analyses
    (e.g. in-situ x-ray microscopy, diffraction contrast tomography)

Expected impact

  • Building and strengthening a common European research community in the area of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering.

  • Improved predictive power of materials properties and applications.

  • Establishment of resource efficient, well-targeted and high-throughput materials design and processing concepts.

  • Increased competitiveness of the European industry by cost saving in materials design and processing and a shortened time-to-market for new materials with advanced properties.

The particular subject of the proposals should deal with a combination of concept-driven research and need-driven research in order to contribute to the innovation chain approach of M-ERA.NET.

With funding concept-driven research M ERA.NET intends to boost the current state of knowledge in topics that are fundamental in nature and that simultaneously constitute key bottlenecks for materials improvements, processing and manufacturing in a wide range of application areas. To address this aspect the proposals should clearly identify

  • the key bottleneck to be addressed,

  • the model system chosen for the study,

  • the methodology to generalise the approach taken,

  • the ‘modelling’, ‘properties and applications’, and ‘experimental data’ themes chosen, and

  • the coupling of these themes.

The aspect of need-driven research should reflect demands of society that are anticipated to require solutions in the next decades. To address this aspect the proposals should also clearly identify

  • the rationale for research in the area,

  • the boundary conditions (e.g. societal, application, engineering, design conditions) relevant to the topic,

  • the expected leverage effect of the approach taken,

  • the contribution of the different scientific disciplines that are involved, and

  • the contribution to increase resource efficiency in materials design, manufacturing and different applications.

Further information

More information and the guidelines for applicants are available on the M-ERA.NET website:

The applicants willing to receive support from the DFG should note that the Guidelines on the Duty to Cooperate (‘Hinweis Kooperationspflicht’, DFG guideline 55.01) that usually hold for DFG’s Research Grants (Sachbeihilfe) programme do not apply.

For questions relating to the topical scope of the call, please contact:

For questions relating to the online application system, please contact: