Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 49 | 4. August 2020

Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action (CRA): Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) participates in a call of the Belmont Forum on „Transdisciplinary Research for Pathways to Sustainability”. The Belmont Forum is a group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research and international science councils.

To help provide a science base for achieving sustainability goals, the Belmont Forum and partners are supporting 1–2 years of collaborative research networking that focuses on integrated qualitative and quantitative approaches to develop Earth-system-based transformation pathways for sustainable development. The initiative invites its participants to consider all important interactions among the sustainable development goals and address cross-cutting issues among at a minimum three or more explicitly identified Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Projects are free to prioritise the interactions to be explored, based on their own local, regional, national, or global context as long as they address the Belmont Challenge providing knowledge for understanding, mitigating, and adapting to global environmental change. Participants are required to use a transdisciplinary approach to engage society at large.

The first cycle of funding for this CRA will be directed towards designing cross-cutting networks to build the community, mobilise capacity, bring together existing focused projects, develop networks focused on stakeholder mapping, engagement of new stakeholders, and evaluation of existing efforts. The aim is to build communities to be in a position to develop integrative sustainability pathways responding to society’s needs. In the coming years, future funding opportunities could expand research on sustainability pathways and SDG interlinkages.

The development of research networking consortia supported financially by at least three participating partner agencies established in three different countries is a key criterion. Researchers from countries not represented by any of the partner agencies can participate in the research project at their own expense.

Transdisciplinarity of the research consortia and the active involvement of stakeholders in the research and innovation is a key criterion and should be clearly demonstrated in the application. Given the complexity and scope of the challenges, research consortia must be truly transdisciplinary, including academic researchers from: a) social sciences/humanities, b) natural sciences/technology, and c) stakeholders using a co-design, co-development and co-implementation approach.

The call was launched on 23 July 2020 with a closing date of 31 October 2020.

All applicants requesting funding from DFG are required to additionally submit their complete proposal through the DFG’s elan system. Proposals with German applicants that are not entered into elan will be rejected. The deadline for the additional DFG elan submission is 5 November 2020. Please note that German applicants need to be registered in elan. It takes the DFG 1–2 business days to process the registration, so make sure you are registered well ahead of the deadline.

All call documents and the submission portal are posted on the Belmont Forum Grant Operations website (see below).

Further Information

Further details as to the scientific themes, principles of funding, selection criteria, all call documents and the submission portal can be found at the Belmont Forum Grant Operations website:

Please take notice of the National Annex for Germany. German parts of the network applications to this CRA will be funded through the DFG Programme “Scientific Networks“; see on our homepage Guidelines document 1.03:

According to this CRA, and thus deviating from the DFG Guidelines 1.03, the funding period is restricted to 24 months. All proposals submitted to this CRA are funded within the regular competition of the DFG Programmes.

Please note the DFG’s data protection notice on research funding, which can be viewed and downloaded at If necessary, please also forward this information to those persons whose data the DFG processes because they are involved in your project.

Access to the DFG’s elan system:

Contact information for Germany: