Information for Researchers, No. 13 | February 15, 2023

NSF-DFG Lead Agency Opportunity in Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (NSF-DFG SaTC)

In the course of the joint National Science Foundation (NSF) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) Research Workshop on Cybersecurity and Machine Learning, held in May 2021, several relevant topics and research directions were identified and published in a joint report (see link below). To facilitate the support of collaborative work between US groups and their German counterparts, NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) and DFG’s Division of Mathematics and Engineering Sciences 2 (II-MING) have recently agreed on a lead agency activity in “Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace” with NSF acting as the lead agency. US researchers are invited to refer to the Dear Colleague Letter NSF 23-051 (see link below).

US-German collaborators are invited to submit joint proposals in the areas described in NSF’s “Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC)” program (see link below). Joint proposals should contain detailed information about the mode and intrinsic necessity of collaboration between the US and the German side. With NSF being the lead agency, proposals submitted under this opportunity will be reviewed by NSF only and along with other proposals submitted to the SaTC program in accordance with the standard NSF merit review criteria and additional review criteria as specified in the SaTC solicitation. The result of the review process will be shared between the agencies to make final decisions on this basis. Please note that there are no separate funds on the DFG side either and proposals will compete with all other proposals in the “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants Programme”. Proposals selected for funding will be funded by NSF on the US side, and by DFG on the German side.

Scope, Deadlines and Duration of the Activity

The scope of this opportunity is the “SaTC: CORE: Small” designation with project durations of up to three years. The TTP (The Transition to Practice) and EDU (Education) designations within SaTC are not covered by this opportunity. For the part to be financed by DFG, only those projects that fall within DFG’s funding responsibility and that fit into the funding scheme “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants Programme” are eligible – cf. DFG Guideline 50.01 (see link below). DFG Transfer Projects do not fall within the scope of this effort. The maximum initial funding duration is three years. No general budget limit applies to the part funded by DFG. Projects must have well-defined joint working programs, clearly demonstrating the added value of US-German collaboration. It is expected that each partner substantially contributes to the joint project.

The joint proposal submission opportunity of this activity is expected to continue for two years, ending 9 January 2025. Proposals can be submitted any time, no deadlines apply. Please note that due to the limited duration of this opportunity, it will not be possible to submit joint renewal proposals for projects funded in the course of this activity.

Proposal Preparation and Submission

For details regarding NSF´s eligibility criteria and submission guidelines, please refer to the corresponding Dear Colleague Letter NSF 23-051 (see link below). For the applicants from Germany, the eligibility regulations for the “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants Programme” apply – cf. DFG Guideline 50.01 (see link below). In particular, the regulations for non-university institutes (“Kooperationspflicht”) apply and must be fulfilled by the German side on its own – cf. DFG Guidelines on the Duty to Cooperate 55.01 (see link below). If in doubt, researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the corresponding program officers at NSF and DFG.

A research proposal must be prepared in accordance with the proposal preparation requirements of the SaTC program (see link below). The proposal must then be submitted to NSF’s SaTC program first. Within a week upon submission to NSF, the proposal must be handed in at DFG via the elan Portal (see link below). The submission to DFG must contain the identical proposal document submitted to NSF. The proposal title should be identical to the title submitted to NSF, including the prefix “NSF-DFG: SaTC:” accordingly. A supplementary document for DFG must be prepared and submitted to DFG only. It must contain the information required in sections 4–5 of the DFG research grant project description and must not exceed eight pages – cf. DFG guidelines 54.01 and 53.01 (see links below). This includes, among other information, the funds requested from DFG. A separate cover letter must be submitted to DFG only, including the NSF proposal number issued by NSF at the time of the proposal submission. This NSF proposal number is necessary for the agencies to match the proposals on each side. All documents submitted to NSF and DFG must be in English.

For submission via the DFG´s elan portal, German partners should select Proposal Submission – New Project – Individual Grants Programme. In the field “Proposal for a Research Grant”, click the button “Start online form” – “Continue” to find the call. Please select “NSF-DFG 2023-2025 – Standing Open Procedure” in the drop-down menu “Call for Proposals”. Please note that if you are using the elan system for the first time, you need to register with your complete personal and address details via elan at least 5 days prior to submitting your application.

Notification of Results

Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the subsequent administrative steps according to the respective agency regulations. Please note that reviewer notes (Begutachtungshinweise) are sent out only by NSF and to US-based applicants only. Applicants on the DFG side are asked to obtain the reviewer notes from their US cooperation partners.

Data Protection Notice

Please note the DFG’s data protection notice on research funding (see link below). If necessary, please forward this information to those individuals whose data will be processed by the DFG due to their involvement in your project.

Equal opportunities and diversity

The DFG strongly welcomes proposals from researchers of all genders and sexual identities, from different ethnic, cultural, religious, ideological or social backgrounds, from different career stages, types of universities and research institutions, and with disabilities or chronic illness. With regard to the subject-specific focus of this call, the DFG encourages female researchers in particular to submit proposals.

Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice

Please note that according to a resolution of the DFG General Assembly, since 1 August 2019, DFG funding may only be awarded to institutions that have implemented the guidelines laid down in the Code of Conduct for Safeguarding Good Research Practice in their own regulations in a legally binding manner. This means that also for international proposals, funding from the DFG can only be received if the guidelines for ensuring good research practice (see link below) have been implemented by the institution of the German applicant. If you have any questions on this subject, please contact the Scientific Integrity team at the DFG Head Office (see contact below). Further information regarding implementation can be found at the webpage on Scientific Integrity (see link below).

Further Information

Dear Colleague Letter NSF 23-051:

NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) Program:

Report on the joint NSF/DFG Research Workshop on Cybersecurity and Machine Learning 2021:

DFG’s Electronic Proposal Processing System for Applicants – elan:

DFG forms and guidelines 50.01, 53.01, 54.01, and 55.01 can be downloaded at:

Contact persons at DFG:

  • Dr. Florentin Neumann
    Program Director
    Mathematics and Engineering Sciences 2
    phone +49 228 885-2499

Please direct all DFG-related inquiries concerning this opportunity to:

As a first point of contact, US-based researchers may also approach the DFG Office North America:

Contact person at NSF (SaTC: Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace):

  • Phillip A. Regalia
    Program Director
    CISE Directorate
    phone +1 703-292-2981

DFG’s data protection notice on research funding:

Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice, Code of Conduct:

Information on the implementation of the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice, Code of Conduct:

Contact of the DFG´s Scientific Integrity team (Good Research Practice)