Information for Researchers, No. 14 | February 16, 2023

Call for Proposals of the DFG Young Investigators Academy: “Aging Processes in Reproduction – Implications for Fertility and Health (FertilAGE)”

To promote young scientists in reproductive research, the Young Scientists Academy (NWA) on Reproductive Research funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will start in 2023. The DFG Young Scientists Academy FertilAGE is aimed at young natural, medical and veterinary scientists from the basic sciences and from the clinic who are at the beginning of their academic career (up to a maximum of 6 years after the doctorate) and will carry out their planned project in Germany.

The thematic focus of this NWA is on the consequences of aging processes for the fertility of both parents as well as for the health of the offspring. Such aging processes may be due to advanced age of the parents or pathological processes in vivo, as well as to assisted reproductive techniques (ART), e. g. in vitro.

The participants of the NWA will be accepted into a qualification programme in which they will be supervised by experienced scientists (mentors) during project development and application and receive further training in workshops. For projects that have been positively reviewed by the DFG, the programme also includes one year start-up funding for the scientific projects with material and, if necessary, personnel resources. After the two years, the goal of the qualification programme is the independent continuation of the scientific projects through a full application to the DFG. Also the preparation of this application is accompanied by the mentors.

The NWA FertilAGE thus offers young scientific and medical/veterinary researchers in the field of reproduction a unique opportunity to support their scientific career.


The NWA aims to support natural scientists and medical/veterinary researchers in the field of reproductive research at an early stage of their career.

The academy offers the opportunity to

  • develop their own project idea,
  • identify pitfalls and shortcomings in research proposals and project design with the goal of successfully applying for external funding,
  • network within the scientific community.

Procedure of the Young Talent Academy

The NWA consists of three phases. The first phase starts with a kickoff workshop, which will take place online on July 7, 2023. Here, participants will be taught the key requirements for a research project in terms of the quality of the project idea, the methodological elaboration of this idea, and the translation into a research proposal. Following this, participants will have twelve weeks to formulate their own draft proposal and submit it in advance of the first workshop.

The second phase starts with an academy workshop lasting several days, which will take place in Münster from 4–7 October 2023. Here, participants will address technical topics and questions from the field of reproductive research. In lectures and discussions, renowned experts will provide insight into the theories and methods of aging processes in reproduction as well as advice on the practical implementation of projects and the writing of research proposals. In addition, the participants present their project ideas and receive further personal advice on their draft proposals. They are individually assigned mentors as experienced supervisors who support them until the proposal is completed. The proposal is expected to be submitted via the DFG's ELAN portal by 8 January 2024.

The third phase involves the implementation of the approved projects with a maximum duration of twelve months. Approximately six months after the start of the projects, there will be another two-day workshop in which the participants will present the progress and initial results of their work and develop concepts for a full DFG proposal. During the last six months of the project phase, the full proposal will be finalised with the support of mentors.

Participation in all workshops is mandatory. The costs for participation as well as for accommodation, meals and travel will be covered by the DFG. The cost share is 100 euros per person.

Application – criteria and deadlines

The NWA is aimed at researchers who meet the following criteria:

  • University degree in a natural science subject or in medicine/veterinary medicine
  • Doctoral degree no more than six years ago (child-rearing and care periods are taken into account) or about to complete the doctorate. If the doctorate is not completed yet, the submission of the dissertation by 1 June 2023 has to be proven, and a statement on the prospects of success of your doctoral project by the person who supervised your doctorate has to be submitted.
  • Habilitation not yet completed
  • Involvement in a working group through which structures and support are available to carry out the project applied for. This must be evidenced by an appropriate letter of support from the host research group.
  • At least one first or senior authorship on a publication related to reproductive research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal
  • First applicant for a DFG proposal

Another requirement for participation is the submission of a project outline on the advertised topic. This outline must describe the study idea, basic concept and implementation of a research project from which the subsequent application can develop.

When preparing the project outline, the following has to be taken into account:

  • The research project must be executed in Germany.
  • The length of the project outline as the basis of a later research proposal must not exceed three pages (Arial 11, single line spacing).
  • The outline is divided into the following sections: title, background and research question (incl. theoretical reference), materials and methods, expected results and their implications, literature, and estimated budget
  • The application documents must include (in addition to the above-mentioned three-page project outline) a curriculum vitae according to the DFG template (see link below) and the doctoral certificate (or confirmation of submission).

A positive review of the outline by a panel of experts is a prerequisite for invitation to the Academy.

Please send your application (project outline, CV, doctoral certificate) for participation in the NWA in German or English in electronic form (together as one pdf document) by 16 June 2023 to Professor Dr. Jörg Gromoll (contact details see below).

The NWA “Aging Processes in Reproduction – Implications for Fertility and Health” is organised and conducted in collaboration with the Reproductive Research Network.

Further information

For more information on the requirements for participation, the application procedure and the course of the NWA, please visit:

DFG form 53.200 Curriculum Vitae:

The coordination team of the DFG Young Investigators Academy “Aging Processes in Reproduction – Consequences for Fertility and Health (FertilAGE)” is available for technical and organisational questions regarding the application:

  • Professor Dr. Jörg Gromoll
    Universitätsklinikum Münster
    Centrum für Reproduktionsmedizin und Andrologie
    Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1
    48149 Münster
    Tel. +49 (0)251 8356447
  • Professorin Dr. Ruth Grümmer
    Universitätsklinikum Essen
    Institut für Anatomie
    Hufelandstraße 55
    45147 Essen
    Tel. +49 (0)201 4290

Contact at the DFG: