Information for Researchers, No. 107 | November 30, 2023

Call for Ideas: Towards Resource-Efficient Major Instrumentation in Research

Open invitation for technology-related ideas from the research community as a basis for instrumentation-related funding from the DFG

Anchoring the concept of sustainability into research funding –including the reflection on the impact of research on the environment – is a declared goal of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). With a focus on resource-preserving research equipment infrastructures, the DFG aims to support this through targeted funding in a participatory process. Therefore, the DFG invites the research community to bring forward ideas towards the operation of ecologically sustainable research equipment infrastructures. More general ideas that pursue conceptual approaches suited for multiple institutions are as welcome as concrete measures which are tailored to advance a specific location and require funding to be implemented. All ideas submitted will be evaluated and convincing ideas and concepts will receive dedicated funding opportunities.


The use of major scientific equipment is often associated with an intense use of resources. Fast innovation cycles and the desire to have the latest technologies for cutting-edge research readily accessible usually speak – if funds are available – in favour of new acquisitions. This is the focus of most established funding opportunities. Prolonged use of existing equipment for research, on the other hand, is often less prioritised or supported. Dedicated incentives for conversions, repurposing or the upgrade of large instrumentation are sparse or lacking. To some degree, this also applies to the extended provision of equipment to third parties, e.g. via remote access. The DFG sees great potential for a more sustainable utilisation of scientific instrumentation and therefore aims to develop and offer suitable equipment-related funding opportunities in close cooperation with the research community.

The call for ideas welcomes proposals clearly addressing large research instrumentation. Generic or general measures such as improving building insulation or more resource-efficient energy supply are not the focus of the call.

Target group

The call addresses researchers who operate major scientific instrumentation or use corresponding technologies for their research. Ideas can also be put forward by research networks and alliances. The call for ideas is open to all career levels and research institutions in Germany.


Ideas in German or English can be submitted for evaluation on a maximum of three pages in one PDF. They must be titled and name a contact person for the DFG. Letters of support, CVs of the people involved or other attachments are not expected and will not be regarded in the evaluation.


The text should first describe the context of the technology or instrumentation in focus. The idea and potential for the resource-optimised use for research should then be presented. Subsequently, the amount of funding suggested or needed to achieve the objectives should be estimated and quantified. The total amount should differentiate between personnel costs, investments, contracts with third parties and, if necessary, other types of requested funding. In the case of ideas that go beyond one institution or aim at organisational development with reference to large research instrumentation, it is suggested to list the suitable candidate institutions in Germany.


The ideas submitted are first checked for their general compliance with the call and are then evaluated by the Committee for Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology. In addition to the potential for saving resources and the expected signalling effect to the research community, positive implications for research play a key role in the assessment.


Following the evaluation, the responsible contact person will receive feedback on their idea. The most promising submissions are planned to receive funding offers in 2024. This can either be via calls for proposals or, in the case of location-based proposals, as a direct invitation to submit a funding proposal.

Submission and deadline

The person responsible for the proposal should submit the document via email to the address mentioned below with the subject “Call for Ideas-WGI: <Title of the proposal>” no later than the 13 February 2024.

Further Information

For the recommendations “Verankerung des Nachhaltigkeitsgedankens im DFG-Förderhandeln” (“Anchoring sustainability considerations in DFG funding activities”):

For the Sustainability Guide to Research Processes:

For information about instrumentation-related research infrastructure:

Please send the ideas and requests with the subject “Call for Ideas-WGI: <Title of the proposal>” to:

Contact person at the DFG in Bonn, Germany:

  • Michel Royeck
    Tel. +49 (228) 885-2976