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Working Together with Africa and the Middle East

The Africa/Middle East regional area includes all African countries, the Arabian Peninsula, Israel and its neighbouring countries. The regional department represents the interests of the DFG vis-à-vis regional partner organisations and supports scientific cooperation between researchers from Germany and the region.

In addition to establishing and maintaining bilateral relations with strategic partners, the regional department is particularly involved in African science networks.


DFG approves 22 project teams for funding

22 African-German research teams receive funding for the initiation of international collaboration under the initiative “African-German Scientific Exchange in the Field of Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture” Interner Linkmore

Lecture series in health sciences

African researchers in early career phases can learn more about current research and establish an exchange with researchers working in Germany.
Interner Linkmore (in German only)

Call for cooperation visits

With this call, DFG and AIMS support the initiation of international research collaboration between researchers in early career phases from African countries and researchers at universities in Germany in the mathematical sciences. Interner Linkmore

The regional area at a glance

Tasks and objectives

The Africa/Middle East regional department is concerned with creating and cultivating optimum framework conditions for cooperation between researchers from Germany and the Africa/Middle East region. Particular attention is paid to capacity building of science systems in the region. In this way, the DFG also supports early career researchers as an outstanding resource for Africa. In connection with Germany-related research biographies, fruitful relationships can be established in this way between the scientific communities in Africa and Germany.

In addition to providing information for researchers from Germany who are interested in cooperating with partners in the region, the regional department also provides advice in the event of the relevant enquiries from abroad.

Scientific cooperation opportunities in this heterogeneous and rapidly developing region are identified as early as possible and are initiated and supported together with partner organisations in the region.

Special funding opportunities and programmes with Africa

TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits Programme

Since 2010, the DFG, together with TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries), has funded up to 50 young researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa each year with a three-month stay at a research institution in Germany. Researchers from all disciplines can apply for up to five years after gaining their doctorate, provided they are pursuing research at an African institution.

The current call is open from 06.06. – 06.09..


Further information:

German-African Cooperation Projects in Infectiology

Since 2008, the DFG has put out an annual call for proposals for “German-African Cooperation Projects in Infectiology”. The aim of funding here is to promote partnership-based research into neglected infectious diseases, including their social and societal effects. In addition to the intellectual balance of the projects, funding prerequisites also include sound concepts for the training of young researchers and the establishment of sustainable research opportunities in Africa. Project proposals are initially submitted as outlines; if an idea is promising, an invitation goes out for the submission of a full proposal. For funded projects, regular colloquia are held alternately in an African country and in Germany.

The call for the submission of new project outlines is issued annually in early summer in English, French, German and Portuguese.


Further information

Point Sud

The strategic funding programme “Programme Point Sud” was initiated in 2009 as a pilot project to promote humanities and social science research on Africa in Germany. The starting point for the activities is the research institution “Point Sud – Centre de recherche sur le savoir local” in Bamako, Mali, as well as the Point Sud network it has established, to which various other partner research institutions in African countries also belong. “Programme Point Sud” provides the framework for networking activities in the field of German Africa research between various partners in Africa, with a call for proposals being issued on an annual basis.


Further information:

Special funding opportunities and programmes with Israel and the Middle East

German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP)

The excellence programme German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP) was established in 1997 by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to promote innovative German-Israeli cooperation projects in all academic fields.


Further information:

Middle East Cooperation

Within the framework of Middle East Cooperation, the DFG supports German-Israeli cooperation projects (bilateral projects) which may also involve other researchers from Palestine or Israel’s neighbouring countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria) (trilateral projects).


Further information:

Network activities in Africa

Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI)

The Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) is an initiative founded in 2015 that aims to strengthen the participating Science Granting Councils (SGC) in Sub-Saharan Africa, currently 17 in number, through joint capacity building and coordinated funding activities. The aim is to support research and policy, thereby promoting the social and economic development of the region.

For several years now, the DFG has supported the SGCI in terms of content through presentations at SGCI annual meetings, scientific symposia and the organisation of science administration and science policy workshops. Since 2019, the DFG has also been one of the SGCI’s funding bodies, supporting in particular the expansion of network building measures to establish joint, regional calls for proposals for research project funding.

Under the renewed 3-year partnership (2023-2025) the following work packages are being addressed:

  1. Capacity strengthening of SGCs in research management and maintaining effective governance controls
  2. Support and capacity strengthening of SGCs in bi- and multilateral research funding, as well as engagement with other SGCs beyond the continent.
  3. Support councils to integrate gender and inclusivity in research activities.

Further information:

Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES)

The Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l'Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES) unites 19 francophone African member states and establishes binding quality standards for their higher education and science systems. Twelve thematic research programmes are intended to strengthen research in the member countries and make it an engine for economic and social development. The representatives of these programmes meet every two years at a scientific conference (Journées Scientifiques du CAMES) to exchange experiences and to network. As these conferences provide an opportunity to establish initial contacts for research cooperation with colleagues from the region, researchers from Germany also took part in 2019 and most recently in 2021. CAMES and the DFG will continue to build on this potential with jointly organised events in order to increase the mutual visibility and accessibility of the participating scientific communities.

Further information:

Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l'Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES)

Le Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l'Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES) comprend 19 pays membres d´Afrique francophone et établit des normes de qualité contraignantes pour leurs systèmes d'enseignement supérieur et scientifique. Douze programmes thématiques de recherche doivent renforcer la recherche dans les pays membres et en faire un moteur du développement économique et social. Les représentant.e.s de ces programmes se rencontrent tous les deux ans dans le cadre d'une conférence scientifique (Journées Scientifiques du CAMES) afin d'échanger leurs expériences et de créer des réseaux. Étant donné que ces journées permettent de nouer des contacts pour des coopérations de recherche avec des collègues de la région, des chercheur.se.s d'Allemagne y ont également participé en 2019 et dernièrement en 2021. À l'avenir, le CAMES et la DFG s'appuieront sur ce potentiel en organisant conjointement des manifestations afin d'accroître la visibilité mutuelle et l'accessibilité réciproque des espaces scientifiques concernés.

Pour en savoir plus:

Next Einstein Forum (NEF)

The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has been established as a biennial pan-African forum and aims to have a regional impact by bringing together protagonists from academia, politics and society from almost all African countries to engage in dialogue. Here, science and research are positioned as key drivers of global development.

The DFG has worked closely with the NEF since the first NEF Global Gathering in 2016. Through its active member status on the Scientific Programme Committee and official partnerships, the DFG helps shape the NEF in terms of content and strategy. The former President of the DFG, Prof. Strohschneider, was actively involved in the NEF Global Gatherings programme in 2016 and 2018. Participation by DFG President Prof. Becker had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the DFG and its local partner organisations organised several official side events at the NEF Global Gatherings.

Further information:

Subject-specific calls for German-Sub-Saharan networking

Since 2016, the DFG has been expanding networking between researchers in sub-Saharan Africa and Germany as part of a trilateral initiative with its partner organisations in Mozambique and Zambia. Initial subject-specific symposia brought together researchers from Mozambique, Zambia, Germany and other countries in southern Africa and resulted in co-financed bi- and trilateral project funding within the framework of joint calls for proposals.

Due to the growing interest in cooperation and pandemic-related restrictions, the format of this trilateral initiative has recently been adapted to the new realities of international cooperation. Now, two-step subject-specific calls invite researchers from all over sub-Saharan Africa and Germany to (1) submit posters. On a platform, they are then given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the expertise and project ideas of the other participants on the basis of the posters, to network with each other and (2) subsequently to submit proposals for the initiation of international collaborations to the DFG. The aim is to promote networking and scientific exchange between researchers in sub-Saharan Africa and Germany in order to find possible interfaces for bi- or multilateral research collaborations and to foster their elaboration.

Further information: