Information for Researchers, No. 47 | June 27, 2022

Priority Programme “Reconstructing the Deep Dynamics of Planet Earth over Geologic Time (DeepDyn)” (SPP 2404)

In 2022, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Reconstructing the Deep Dynamics of Planet Earth over Geologic Time (DeepDyn)” (SPP 2404). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

One of the most striking properties of the geodynamo are complete reversals of the dipole field. The reversal frequency changes over geologic time scales typical of mantle convection. Numerical simulations indeed indicate that the lower mantle has a manifold impact on the dynamo where the absolute value and pattern of the heat flux through the core-mantle boundary affects the field strength, field geometry and reversal rate. However, neither the long-term evolution of the lower mantle and the dynamo, nor the coupling between the two are well understood, which forms the basis of DeepDyn.

To reconstruct the long-term evolution of the Earth, DeepDyn aims to understand how the iron core, stratified layer and rocky mantle interact and how material properties affect the processes. Moreover, geomagnetic field strength and reversal rate likely influence the survival and evolution of magnetoreceptive organisms, especially magnetotactic bacteria. Magnetofossil records may therefore provide important additional information on the ancient geomagnetic field that complements paleomagnetic data.

To tackle this highly integrated project, we solicit individual proposals for the SPP DeepDyn that fall within five overriding themes: (1) reliable paleomagnetic data and geomagnetic models and (2) state-of-the-art dynamo simulations that together provide information on the evolution of the core dynamo; (3) realistic mantle evolution reconstructions over > 10 Myr time scales that provide essential boundary conditions for the long-term core dynamics; (4) robust estimates of core and mantle structure and properties that determine the parameters of core and mantle dynamics; and constraints on geomagnetic field evolution from (5) magnetotactic species (biomagnetism). Individual proposals should specify which theme(s) the proposal is/are of most relevance; proposals spanning multiple themes are particularly encouraged.

Research themes within the goals of DeepDyn should clearly aim at understanding the long-term evolution of Earth’s deep interior, for example:

  • The dynamics of and interaction between core and mantle
  • The changes in magnetic reversal frequencies and superchrons
  • The characteristics of field reversals
  • The composition, structure and properties of the lower mantle and core
  • Effects of stratified layers, CMB topography and inner core growth on core dynamics
  • The influence of time-varying magnetic fields on the adaptation and evolution of magnetotactic species and the preservation of magnetofossils in the rock record

In order to keep the programme focused, DeepDyn will not consider

  • Proposals outside the Earth system (not comparative planetology)
  • Anything related to Sun-Earth interactions (space weather)
  • Anything on early solar system or planetary formation
  • Anything related to the upper layers of the Earth (lithosphere, upper to mid-lower mantle)
  • Observations from satellites or observatories (not the recent magnetic field)
  • Biologic studies should be restricted solely to organisms that leave magnetofossils

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 19 October 2022. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. To enter a new project within the existing Priority Programme, go to Proposal Submission – New Project / Draft Proposal – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2404” from the current list of calls.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 17 October 2022 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Stuart Alan Gilder
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
    Department für Geo- und Umweltwissenschaften
    Sektion Geophysik
    Theresienstraße 41
    80333 München
    phone +49 89 2180-4239

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to: