Information for Researchers, No. 25 | March 14, 2022

Specification of Requirements Relating to the Handling of Research Data in Funding Proposals

It will now be mandatory for proposals to include details

It will now be mandatory for proposals to include details

One essential component of quality-oriented, compatible research is that the data a research project is based on or generates is handled in a way that is appropriate to the subject-specific discipline. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has now specified its requirements for the handling of research data in proposals for individual and collaborative projects and has made it mandatory to include details.

The digital turn in science and the humanities has stimulated access to research data, methodological developments in the processing of research data and analytical methods of answering complex research questions through data management. In almost all disciplines, there is a growing awareness that the handling of research data used or generated in projects is an essential requirement for the verifiability and compatibility of research: as a result, this aspect has now become established as an essential component of academic quality. Adequate handling of research data requires sound project planning and integration of specific competences and structures.

With the establishment of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and other academic research data centres, wide-ranging facilities and new opportunities have emerged in recent years that can be used for support purposes. Research institutions have also set up a wide variety of advisory centres for research data management. Numerous DFG review boards have developed and published statements and requirements for the subject-specific handling of research data, either jointly or based on discourse in scholarly societies.

The DFG has now set out these requirements for handling research data in concrete form and is making it mandatory for information on this aspect to be included in project proposals. The explanations are to be based on a catalogue of questions but can be adapted to specific projects. In addition, the relevant information is also requested on relevant research objects, materials, substances or tissues that are closely related to research outcomes. In future, greater attention will be paid to the handling of research data as part of the review and evaluation process than was previously the case.

The DFG supports and accompanies this process by providing needs-oriented advice for applicants and review boards, while at the same time remaining in close contact with the support and advisory structures at the research institutions. Meanwhile, the DFG continues to offer specific funding opportunities for the development and expansion of research data infrastructures and methodological approaches to the handling of research data. In addition, project-specific costs can be requested in funding proposals, including expenses incurred for the use of high-quality data or in the processing of data for the purpose of subsequent use.

In order to raise the visibility of research achievements in connection with the handling of research data or their subsequent use and enhance appreciation of developments in this area, the DFG encourages applicants to list relevant contributions in their CVs.

Scholarly societies and academic organisations are invited to join the DFG in seeking to actively create the conditions for a science-driven approach to handling research data so that the requirements and needs of the various disciplines can be adequately addressed in the long term.

Further Information

Information page on the topic:

Direct link to the catalogue of questions:

Overview of NFDI consortia receiving funding:

Overview of recognised research data infrastructures and repositories:

Contact persons: