Information for Researchers, No. 9 | February 2, 2022

DFG and DST Announce New Funding Opportunity for Indo-German International Research Training Groups

In an effort to further strengthen the scientific cooperation between India and Germany, the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST), and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have agreed to extend their funding opportunities for joint research projects between both countries to the International Research Training Group (IRTG) programme and hereby invite applications under a joint application and funding scheme.

Background and Description of International Research Training Groups

International Research Training Groups (IRTG), in which German universities cooperate with research institutions in other countries, combine innovative top-level research and the structured promotion of excellent early career researchers. As bilateral collaborations set up by experienced scientists, IRTG promote systematic scientific cooperation through joint research programmes and corresponding qualification measures for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers. A central feature of IRTG are coordinated and reciprocal research visits by doctoral researchers at the respective partner institutions. IRTG can only be established by universities and research institutions entitled to confer doctoral degrees.

Structure of Indo-German Research Training Groups

Applications for Indo-German IRTG intended for DFG-DST funding are open to all subject areas covered by DST and interdisciplinarity in joint projects is encouraged. An IRTG should be run by two teams of participating researchers in India and Germany, respectively. Each team should have approximately five to ten members with proven expertise both in the IRTG’s main research topic and in providing outstanding supervision to doctoral students. The participating researchers’ expertise at the two locations should be complementary and provide added value to the IRTG. Each team of participating researchers in an IRTG should be based at a single institution in India and Germany, respectively. In convincingly justified cases, an IRTG may be based in more than two institutions.

The Indian and German teams in an IRTG should jointly formulate a high quality and coherent research and training programme to be implemented on both sides. The teams should have common research interests and objectives and these must be reflected in a common framework and joint project. Applications are submitted by the host institutions. For every IRTG, one member of the team on each side serves as spokesperson, being responsible for the proposal and the scientific coordination of the IRTG. This also includes responsibility for reporting to DST and DFG, respectively.

The programme should provide for regular exchanges of academic staff and doctoral students for the purposes of joint research and training. Doctoral students should spend a period of at least six months (and up to one year) in total during their PhD project at the respective partner institution for research and training and each doctoral student should have both an Indian and a German supervisor. On the German side, approximately ten to fifteen doctoral researchers will be funded within a single IRTG in parallel. The partner site in India should support a group of doctoral researchers of roughly the same size.

Funding Guidelines for Indo-German Research Training Groups

Both DST and DFG will provide funding for IRTG project-specific costs incurred by their respective partner institutions. In accordance with respective internal policies of DST and DFG, funds can be requested for the following activities:

  • funding for PhD positions/fellowships up to 48 months per doctoral researcher,
  • project-specific funding for dissertation research projects (e. g. consumables),
  • longer-term, coordinated and reciprocal research visits (one or more with an overall duration of six to twelve months) by doctoral students to the respective partner institutions,
  • joint workshops, conferences and seminars,
  • short-term visits, lectures and workshops by the participating researchers.

As an additional support mechanism, both DST and DFG will make funds available to support preparatory workshops for IRTG applications.

Duration of Funding for Indo-German Research Training Groups

Indo-German IRTG will be supported for a potential maximum of nine years, divided into two funding periods, with a mid-term evaluation on whose outcome the grant of the second period depends. Both parties will accept only joint proposals by Indian and German institutions. All joint applications are to be prepared according to the respective DST/DFG guidelines for IRTG and have to provide separate budget requests for the Indian and the German part of the project.

Application and Evaluation of Proposals

The Indo-German consortium will firstly need to submit a joint IRTG draft proposal simultaneously to DFG and DST. (For DFG, the proposal needs to be submitted by the German university.) The first deadline for draft proposal submission is 1 August 2022. Thereafter, there will be two deadlines each year: 1 February and 1 August. DFG and DST will evaluate the draft proposal independently. On average, around six to eight months are needed for the review. If both agencies conclude their review with a positive decision, DST and DFG then invite the consortium to submit a joint full proposal according to a mutually agreed time line. Again, the joint full proposal must be sent to DST and DFG simultaneously. Submission must be in accordance with the respective funding organisation’s guidelines and through the established submission systems.

Renewal proposals for the second funding period are submitted twelve months before the end of the first funding period. They are submitted by the German host university to DFG and by the Indian spokesperson / host institution to DST in parallel. Submission must be in accordance with the respective funding organisation’s guidelines and through the established submission systems. Full proposals and renewal proposals will also be evaluated separately by DST and DFG. The reviews of all proposals will be based on the DFG criteria for IRTG.

Preparatory Workshops

For new Indo-German IRTG initiatives, DST and DFG provide for the possibility to support a workshop for the preparation of an IRTG proposal. Funding can be granted only if research cooperation is already established and plans for the IRTG have already been consolidated. The workshop funding may either be applied for prior to the draft proposal submission, or – after positive evaluation of the draft proposal – prior to submission of the full proposal. Funding of preparatory workshops by DST depends on a positive evaluation of the draft proposal.

Information Event

In order to further promote the new Indo-German IRTG programme and to answer open questions, DST and DFG will hold a virtual information event in the first half of 2022. The precise date and registration details will be communicated separately closer to the event.

Further Information

Comprehensive information about Research Training Groups is available on the DFG website:

The “Guidelines for Research Training Groups and International Research Training Groups” (DFG form 50.07en) provide a concise overview of the funding programme:

Draft proposals shall be prepared according to the “Draft Proposal Preparation Instructions for Research Training Groups and International Research Training Groups” (DFG form 1.303en):

Full proposals shall be prepared according to the “Proposal Preparation Instructions for Research Training Groups and International Research Training Groups” (DFG form 54.05en):

Renewal applications consist of the renewal proposal and the progress report on the first funding period, prepared according to forms 54.07en and 54.08en, respectively:

It is advisable to consult the “Guidelines for Differentiating International Research Training Groups from Research Training Groups” (DFG form 1.312en):

Information on how to apply for funding towards preparatory workshops can be found in DFG form 1.306en:

Information on the review criteria are specified here:

Contact details for queries:

For the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG):

For the Department of Science and Technology (DST):

  • Dr. Chadaram Sivaji
    Scientist F
    International Cooperation (Bilateral)
    phone +91 11 26590489