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Information relating to special personal circumstances

The DFG defines “special personal circumstances” as unavoidable life circumstances that have a significant impact on a person’s ability to pursue scholarly or scientific work and use the time available to them to do so. As a rule, a significant time impact applies when a person is restricted for more than three months in a year. Examples of situations which might apply in connection with DFG funding include the following: maternity leave, pregnancy, family commitments (childcare or care of relatives), long-term or chronic illness, disability, change of academic system, displacement, asylum, language acquisition and similar constellations.

Information on special personal circumstances and, where applicable, the hardship applications deriving from them, often contain sensitive data that is particularly subject to protection under data protection law. Please use
DFG form 73.01 if you wish to submit such data separately from the CV template (DFG form 53.200) or have already submitted it to the DFG.

Notification of the DFG of such personal circumstances is always voluntary. Furthermore, consideration should always be given to the level of detail in which reasons are communicated to the DFG. Please only provide details to the DFG Head Office that you feel are relevant to the DFG Head Office. Typically, it is important to specify both the period of academic inactivity and the reason why it was not possible to work or only work for some of the time.


  • Due to a serious illness, Prof. [name] was unable to pursue academic work from 1 January to 31 October 2021 (10 months) and requests that this circumstance be taken into account in the evaluation of their previous academic achievements.
  • Due to the existence of a severe disability and the birth of a child during the period of doctoral study, Dr. [name]’s period of doctoral study was significantly extended. It is requested that these circumstances be taken into account when applying to the Walter Benjamin Programme.

Individual circumstances may be relevant in the proposal submission process in order to be able to adequately assess and comparatively evaluate an individual’s academic performance. In this connection, ensuring equal academic opportunities means making allowance for unavoidable restrictions or delays in an applicant’s career. For this reason, such voluntary information is to be taken into account by all those involved in the DFG decision-making process exclusively to the benefit of applicants when assessing the latter’s previous academic performance.

Information relating to personal circumstances may also be provided in connection with additional needs due to maternity/parental leave, chronic illness or disability, project extensions, the cancellation of attendance at review sessions, declaration of bias and the like, so sensitive data may be involved in such cases, too.

Additional information is available under:

In the case of a chronic or long-term illness and/or the presence of a severe disability (rule of thumb: if you are absent from academic work for more than three months in a year), please contact the DFG Head Office as soon as possible in order to jointly arrive at a plan for the further course of the project. Different solutions may be possible depending on your personal situation, the status of the project, the subject and the staff employed for the project: these are explained on the DFG website linked below.

Please note that significant changes in the planned course of the project (e.g. illness of more than six weeks) must in any case be reported to the DFG after six weeks at the latest (cf. the relevant Funding Guidelines). Further information:

Yes, there are various options which you will find under the following link. Please inform the DFG Head Office of your plans as soon as possible.