Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 58 | 3. Juli 2023

Priority Programme “META-REP: A Meta-scientific Programme to Analyse and Optimise Replicability in the Behavioural, Social and Cognitive Sciences” (SPP 2317)

In 2020, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme entitled “META-REP: A Meta-scientific Programme to Analyse and Optimise Replicability in the Behavioural, Social and Cognitive Sciences” (SPP 2317). The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period (2024–2027).

Aims and Scope of the Programme

Over the last 10 years, the “replication crisis” has had a substantial impact on the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences. Not only have researchers in these fields begun to reflect on low replication rates (and to investigate potential reasons for these), but also reform movements targeting empirical practices (e.g. “open science”), methodological standards, publication formats, assessment systems and incentive structures in science have gained momentum. At present, it is difficult to estimate to what extent these reforms will effectively and sustainably increase the replicability of empirical findings in the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences. However, it is already clear that they have initiated a much-needed discussion about what robustness, replicability and generalisability mean, how we can assess and secure them, and how we want science to work.

The Priority Programme META-REP aims to contribute to this discussion by adding a non-normative, empirically informed meta-scientific perspective. More specifically, META-REP has been initiated to tackle three overarching questions:

(1) The “what” question, which includes…

  • the development, comparison and refinement of conceptual, methodological and statistical approaches to estimate reproducibility, robustness, “direct” replicability and generalisability in the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences, respectively;
  • a clear conceptualisation and empirical operationalisation of replication failure vs. success in the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences.

(2) The “why” question, which includes…

  • the systematic documentation and comparison of research practices, incentive systems, journal policies and (implicit and explicit) normative expectations (e.g. publication pressure) in the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences and their respective impact on replication rates;
  • the systematic evaluation of the impact of questionable research practices, underspecified theories, design characteristics and/or invalid measurement models on replication rates in the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences.

(3) The “how” question, which includes…

  • the development of measures, strategies and tools, and the evaluation of these regarding their plausibility, validity, acceptability, feasibility and their positive (and potentially negative/undesired) effects;
  • the assessment and evaluation of instruments to monitor changes in norms, incentive structures and scientific practices in their respective scientific discipline and their effects (within and beyond the scientific ecosystem).

Expectations and Requirements for Individual Projects

While most projects in the first funding phase have focused on the “what” and the “why” question (see the SPP’s website under the link below for an overview of projects), we expect the second funding phase to focus more strongly on the “how” question as explained above. These projects can adopt a psychological, economical, sociological or scientometric perspective, and methodological approaches may include experimental studies, surveys, re- and meta-analyses, simulations or model building/testing approaches.

We expect that the research question targeted in each individual project (1) relates to one (or more) of the three overarching programme questions mentioned above, (2) can be addressed empirically (broadly defined) and (3) focuses explicitly on the behavioural, social and cognitive sciences. Proposals need to explain in detail (a) which of the three questions mentioned above (i.e., what, why, how) will be addressed by the planned project, (b) how the suggested approach is suited to tackle the respective question(s) and (c) what the expected contribution to the overall programme goals may eventually be.

Collaboration and Infrastructure

Mutual cooperation and exchange between individual projects in this Priority Programme will be ensured by the coordination project. Collaborative endeavours such as distributed research initiatives (“ManyLabs” style), adversarial collaborations, cumulative theory-building and data sharing/data pooling across projects are welcome and will be supported by the coordination project. Applicants are encouraged to explicitly address opportunities for collaboration: project proposals should specify how such a collaboration could look like and how it contributes to the overall goals of the META-REP programme.

To particularly support young investigators (e.g. doctoral researchers / post-doctoral researchers), the coordination project of META-REP offers funding opportunities for small-scale collaborations between researchers in early career phases, start-up stipends for excellent young researchers and specific workshops on career development inside and outside academia. Gender equality and a family-friendly policy are explicitly endorsed.

Formal Requirements and Proposal Submission

Proposals and CVs must be written in English and must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic proposal submission system elan by 24 January 2024.

To enter a renewal proposal (if your project has already been funded under the Priority Programme), go to Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal and select the original proposal there.

To enter a new proposal (i.e. a project that has not been funded so far), go to Proposal Submission – New Project/Draft Proposal – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2317/2 META-REP” from the current list of calls.

When preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (DFG form 50.05_en, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (DFG form 54.01_en). These forms can either be downloaded from the DFG website or accessed through the elan portal. Please be aware that the forms have been updated since the last call in this Priority Programme and only proposals based on the current template will be accepted.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. Applicants who are not yet registered must do so by 10 January 2024 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after that date cannot be considered. Successful registration will be automatically confirmed, usually by the next working day. Note that the appropriate Priority Programme call has to be selected both during the registration and the proposal submission process.

Review Process and Timeline

Proposals will be reviewed by a panel in accordance with the DFG’s review criteria (DFG form 10.20_en). The overall fit of the proposed project to the goals of META-REP will be a crucial criterion.

The review will take place in summer 2024 and the decision is expected in September/October 2024.

Preparatory Meeting

Scholars interested in submitting a project proposal are invited to a preparatory online meeting (video conference) organised and hosted by the programme committee on 19 September 2023 at 4:00 pm (CEST, UTC+2). Scholars who are interested in joining this meeting are requested to register by 17 September 2023.

Please note that participating in this meeting is not mandatory; project proposals can be submitted without participating in the preparatory meeting.

Further Information

More information about the Priority Programme can be found here:

The proposal to establish this Priority Programme can be downloaded here:

Registration for the preparatory meeting can be completed here:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Mario Gollwitzer
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
    Department Psychologie
    Lehrstuhl für Sozialpsychologie 
    Leopoldstraße 13, 80802 München
    phone +49 89 2180-5179

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:
Programme contact:

Administrative contact: