Information for Researchers, No. 7 | February 3, 2023

Changes to the Clinical Research Units Programme

The Joint Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has decided on changes to the Clinical Research Units (CRU) funding programme which were recommended by an Evaluation Commission involving members of the Senate Commission on Key Questions in Clinical Research (SCCR). These recommendations are based on the analysis of a programme evaluation commissioned by the DFG and conducted by the consulting firm inspire research. The changes relate in particular to the mandatory contribution of university medical institutions to Clinical Research Units and to the requirement of local concentration.

In future, the establishment of a research professorship for the scientific and organisational management of the Clinical Research Unit can be waived if a professorship in a relevant discipline already exists at the site of the Clinical Research Unit. However, no later than when the renewal proposal has been positively evaluated after four years, this professorship must be converted into a permanent position, as continues to be the case with DFG-funded professorships. Furthermore, the requirement for additional funding for the research professorship (regardless of whether it is funded by the DFG or the institution) after the expiry of DFG funding, will be reduced to at least one full position each for a research assistant and a non-scientific assistant for five years after the Clinical Research Unit comes to an end, as well as to the usual level of material resources for a professorship at the respective location at the time in question.

In future, the usual co-financing of temporary substitutes for clinicians applied for in the network by the university medical institution will no longer apply if the review panel positively assesses a Clinician Scientist Programme at the site into which the temporary substitutes can be integrated.

If in future additional expertise is brought in and added value is created for the network, a project from another site in Germany or abroad may be integrated in the Clinical Research Unit by way of an exception.

The changes apply for the first time to draft proposals submitted to the DFG as of now and to proposals based on these. For draft proposals submitted since 1 January 2023, the changes can be partially taken into account during the proposal submission process after consultation with the Head Office.

All forms and guidelines affected by the above changes have been amended accordingly and are available under the heading “Forms and Guidelines” on the DFG website.

Further information

Access to the DFG’s elan portal is via:

For details of the relevant contacts at the DFG Head Office, see:

Contact at the DFG Head Office: