Information for Researchers, No. 33 | June 3, 2020

German-African Cooperation Projects in Infectiology

Drafts Infectiology 2021

Drafts Infectiology 2021

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) calls for draft proposals of joint research projects between scientists in Germany and Africa.

The scope of the call includes:

  • The investigation of neglected tropical infectious diseases in humans and animals but also research on topics of their social and behavioural aspects.
  • ’Neglected' in this context means that little funding for basic research on these diseases is available.
  • The establishment or consolidation of mutually beneficial equal partnerships that allow African researchers to investigate topics of local significance and that open up research opportunities in Africa for German scientists in the long term.
  • An additional central goal is to provide support and funding for the academic and professional careers of young African researchers in their home countries in order to contribute to building research capacities in Africa.
  • It is furthermore desirable to strengthen research networks within Africa, therefore several African partners may participate in one project.

The DFG primarily seeks to encourage researchers in human and veterinary medicine to apply for funding of projects on the investigation of neglected tropical infectious diseases. Projects researching AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis will only be considered in the scope of the call if they study mechanisms of virulence or the immune response against them. Co-infections can also be topics of project outlines. Projects with a social and behavioural approach will be considered if they investigate consequences or conditions of neglected tropical infectious diseases.

The scope of the call excludes:

  • funding of research infrastructure (but necessary additions to the equipment can be applied for)
  • clinical studies
  • development of diagnostic procedures
  • search for novel pharmacological substances without primarily investigating their mechanisms of action
  • product development
  • epidemiological surveys without directly aiming at establishing virulence mechanisms
  • projects limited to collecting and/or sequencing of samples or isolates


The principal investigator submitting the proposal must be integrated into the German research system and is in charge of the project. Funding for the African co-applicants has to be applied for within the full proposals later on.
For grant eligibility on the German side, the usual DFG rules apply. For researchers at non-university institutions, the rules on mandatory cooperation apply as well. More information can be found in the current version of Guidelines Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01 English version).

Submissions exclusively by scientists not integrated into the German research system cannot be accepted for legal reasons. At least one partner must be a scientist working in Germany.

Salary supplements for African principle investigators cannot be applied for. Funding can only be allocated to project partners in Germany and Africa. The participation of scientists from other countries is possible, but must be funded from other sources.

Format of Drafts

Project proposals should initially be submitted as draft in the following format:

  • only up to six pages per proposal (not negotiable)
  • curricula vitae of all prospective applicants up to two pages & up to ten publications per CV (to be uploaded in elan as single file per CV). Only CVs of applicants should be submitted.
  • Applicants are those scientists who will apply for funds in case of an invitation to submit a full proposal.

Drafts have to include:

  • an overview of all prospective applicants including the institution where their project part will be conducted
  • the scientific description of the project
  • the cooperation scheme
  • a strategy for early-career researcher training at the African location
  • a brief description of the African project partner’s current infrastructure
  • if project-specific publications are available, it is free to list them in the six-page outline.
  • for all cited publications, only manuscripts that have been published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals may be listed.

Please note:

  • There is no template for draft proposals in elan.
  • Annexes submitted in addition to the above-mentioned application documents (draft plus CVs) will not be forwarded to the members of the review panel.
  • A detailed breakdown of expected costs is not required at this stage.
  • Indicating an estimated overall amount is sufficient.
  • Draft proposals must be written in English and submitted by the German project partner/s.
  • African project partners cannot propose independently without German scientists.
  • German and African partners form a consortium. Project funds will be allocated to the respective partners in the full proposals according to the project requirements.
  • The concepts of the project should initially be outlined for a project duration of three years, but should contain a longer-term perspective. It will be possible to submit renewal proposals according to the established DFG procedures.
  • Due to the goal of strengthening research capacities at the African sites, it is highly desirable to allocate the majority of funding to the African partners.


Draft proposals will be evaluated by an international review panel. After competitive assessment, the most convincing concept consortia will be invited to submit full proposals.

The German principal investigators will be notified of the selection results usually in spring of the following year and are requested to pass on this information to the African and German partners.


Draft proposals must be submitted via DFG’s electronic submission system "elan" by 28 October 2020.

First steps in elan: After Log-In > Proposal Submission > Individual Grants Programme > "Draft Proposal for a Research Grant"> Start online form). Please select under Call "Drafts Infectiology 2021".

If this is your first application to the DFG, please note that you must register on the elan portal before submitting your draft proposal. Confirmation is usually provided by the following working day. It is not possible to submit a draft proposal or to submit a proposal without prior registration.

Registration of partners in Africa is not required at this stage.

Further information

To ensure quick responses, queries should be submitted in writing to exclusively. Enquiries directed to other addresses cannot be processed.

Please click here for the German, French and Portuguese version:

German Version:

French Version:

Portuguese Version:

The electronic portal "elan" with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

DFG form 50.01en "Guidelines Research Grants Programme" is available at:

Contact for scientific queries:

Contact for formal queries and elan: