Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 14 | 12. Februar 2021

Sequencing Costs in Projects

In December 2020, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) decided to extend the funding initiative on next generation sequencing (NGS) until 2023. Under this initiative, now in its fourth round, the DFG invites proposals for projects in which sequencing will be carried out at DFG-funded competence centres for next generation sequencing at the universities of Bonn/Cologne/Düsseldorf, Dresden, Kiel, and Tübingen. As in the past, this call provides funding for projects with anticipated sequencing costs of €100,000 to €1 million.

Eligibility and Proposal Requirements

Applicants must meet the standard eligibility criteria required in the research grants programme. Proposals may be submitted individually or jointly by more than one applicant, for instance, if additional expertise, such as sample preparation and data analysis, is included. Only projects whose sequencing cost requirement is scientifically justified and in the mandatory range as mentioned above (€100,000 to €1 million) may be requested. Projects not reaching the lower threshold are recommended to apply in the regular individual research grants programme.

Sequencing costs include all expenses that will be incurred by the relevant competence centre within the framework of the project (such as sample preparation). The proposal process requires that a declaration of intent be submitted in advance (see dates, deadlines and further information). The DFG will notify all planned projects of which centre to contact with regard to negotiating the anticipated sequencing costs.


All proposals within this call are regular individual research grants. New projects, particularly from the life sciences, are invited to apply. In addition to requesting the standard funding modules for individual grants (e.g. the basic module including funding for staff, direct project costs and instrumentation), the necessary need for sequencing costs must be specified separately. Further, proposals may also be submitted that result from projects that are currently being funded by either the DFG or others and for which the need for increased sequencing requirements has developed during the course of the project. Such proposals must also be scientifically justified, i.e. address a scientific question, and explain the adjustments to the original project plan; however, when applying for funds, they may only include the required sequencing costs. Proposals simply expanding the original project plan, or solely descriptive approaches, will not receive high priority.

Important: in each proposal, please indicate when the sequencing work is expected to commence. Further, specify the sequencing tasks and the requested sequencing budget with respect to the individual work packages. In addition, include information on how the necessary bioinformatics will be handled. Where applicable, describe the necessary statistical details with respect to sample numbers. In order to provide proper capacity planning for the centres, the call in particular aims at projects that require sequencing services to be carried out immediately (i.e. within the first year of funding).

Dates, Deadlines

The submission of a letter of intent is required in advance of submission of a full proposal. Declarations of intent must be sent as a PDF file to no later than 21 April 2021 using the form “Declaration of Intent” (DoI_Sequencing_Costs, see below). Please use the following file name structure when sending in the form: DoI_Sequencing_Costs_LastNameContactPerson_FirstNameContactPerson_City. At this stage, no consultation with one of the sequencing centres is required. For your cost estimate, please use current market prices as an orientation. The project content of the later proposal must be the same as that stated in the letter of intent.

The DFG will notify you of which sequencing centre to contact for negotiating your experimental details. Please include the relevant centre’s “Counselling Report” in your proposal documents.

Proposals must be submitted to the DFG by 25 August 2021 at the latest. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. To submit a proposal within this call, go to Proposal Submission – New Project / Draft Proposal – Individual Grants Programme – Proposal for a Research Grant – Start online form (Continue) – Call for Proposals and select “Sequencing Costs (2021)” from the current list of calls [when using the German elan version: “Antragstellung – Neues Projekt / Antragsskizze – Einzelförderung – Antrag auf eine Sachbeihilfe – Online-Formular starten (Weiter) – Ausschreibung]. The structure of your proposal must correspond to the structure provided in the proposal instructions for project proposals (DFG form 54.01). Proposals must be written in English. When uploading your details, please provide the sum for sequencing costs (according to the “Counselling Report”) under the module “Services” [“Serviceleistungen”]. In addition, include the respective amount in your proposal document (DFG form 53.01 elan) under section Other Costs.

If this is your first proposal to the DFG, note that applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 18 August 2021 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. You will be asked to select the call mentioned above from the list during both the registration and the proposal process.

The Joint Committee of the DFG is expected to make the final decisions on the submitted project proposals at its meeting in spring 2022. Applicants will be awarded funding for standard project costs (staff, direct project costs and instrumentation), and receive authorisation for sequencing services, which the centres settle directly with the DFG in accordance with their requirements.

Updates on funding for sequencing projects will be published on our website.

Further Information

Declarations of Intent for sequencing costs proposals must be addressed to:

The elan system can be accessed at:

Proposal guidelines, preparation instructions, the DFG rules for publication lists and the current project description for your proposal are outlined in the DFG forms 50.01, 54.01, 1.91 and 53.01, which can be found either in elan or on the DFG’s website at:

The form “DoI_Sequencing_Costs” is available here:

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to: