National Research Data Infrastructure

The aim of the national research data infrastructure (NFDI) is to systematically manage scientific and research data, provide long-term data storage, backup and accessibility, and network the data both nationally and internationally. 

The NFDI will bring multiple stakeholders together in a coordinated network of consortia tasked with providing science-driven data services to research communities.

News

The progress reports of the nine NFDI consortia of the first call for proposals (funding start in 2020) can be found under the following link: 

From 12 to 14 September, the Conference on Research Data Infrastructure (CoRDI 2023) was held at the KIT in Karlsruhe. We would like to inform you that we have published a report on the Pecha Café:

On 21 August 2023 the key points for the second funding period of the NFDI Consortia, beginning in 2025, were published. These key points define the consolidation of the Consortia as the overarching objective.

What is the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)?

In this video we explain the position of the NFDI in the national research data landscape, its goals and its structure with a focus on the NFDI consortia and their challenges.

The NFDI Review Process

The DFG organises the review process for consortia in the context of establishing the NFDI. In this video you will learn how the review in the second selection round will be conducted, what is expected from reviewers and some important background information.

About the NFDI

Purpose

The NFDI’s programme aims for consortia include:

  • Establishment of data handling standards, procedures and guidelines in close collaboration with the community of interest
  • Development of cross-disciplinary metadata standards
  • Development of reliable and interoperable data management measures and services tailored to the needs of the community of interest
  • Increased reusability of existing data, also beyond subject boundaries
  • Improved networking and collaboration with partners outside the German academic research system with expertise in research data management
  • Involvement in developing and establishing generic, cross-consortia services and standards in research data management together with other consortia

Eligibility Requirements

State-funded and state-recognised higher education institutions, non-university research institutions, departmental research institutions, academies, and publicly financed information infrastructures are eligible for funding.

To be eligible for funding, the institution or facility must either be a German legal entity or one operated by a German legal entity, both of which must comply with non-profit/public-benefit requirements.

Requirements of the project

Consortia aim to ensure the accessibility and use of research data relevant to their community of interest and their sustainability. To this end, a sound data management strategy must be developed. Existing structures and services should contribute to the NFDI and be integrated in the consortia.

Funding Criteria

Funding criteria listed in the federal-state agreement of 26 November 2018 include:

  1. Thematic relevance and quality of the planned measures;
  2. Expected added value for the development of cross-disciplinary metadata standards and the creation of reliable long-term services in the consortium;
  3. Establishment of the consortium in the respective scientific community and involvement of the relevant partners;
  4. Structural importance for the NFDI and the science system;
  5. Efficiency and sustainability;
  6. International compatibility;
  7. Consistent approach to data use and access as well as findability and re-usability of data based on the FAIR principles;
  8. Operating model which meets the needs of users and suppliers (including reasonable user fees where appropriate).

An overview of the funding criteria including notes can be found at:

Type and Extent of Funding

The German federal and state governments envisage funding up to 30 consortia. A total of up to €85 million is available per year to fund the consortia in the final development phase; this amount includes a 22 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs. The amount available to fund direct project costs thus totals approximately €70 million annually. As a rule, an individual consortium may receive between €2 million and €5 million, which includes the programme allowance for indirect project costs and €1.6 million to €3.9 million for direct project costs. On the basis of the 30 consortia grants mentioned above, an average of €2.32 million will be available for direct project costs per consortium.

Funding Duration

Consortia are initially funded for a period of five years.

Forms and Guidelines

  • 30 September 2023
    Deadline for the submission of the Consortia Progress Reports
  • February 2024
    Reporting symposium for the consortia of the first funding round
  • March 2024
    Publication of the necessary documents for the application
  • 18 June 2024
    Deadline for submitting a binding statement on an application for further funding of the consortium (with information on the composition of the consortium in the second funding phase)
  • 6 August 2024
    Deadline for submitting the proposal for further funding of a consortium of the first round
  • November / December 2024
    Review of proposals for further funding of the consortia of the first funding round
  • February 2025
    Communication of the evaluation results to the consortia with the possibility to comment on them
  • Spring 2025
    Meeting of the NFDI expert committee / funding recommendations for the German Science Council
  • Summer 2025
    Decision of the German Science Council on the further funding of consortia of the first round
  • 1 October 2025
    Start of the second funding phase for consortia of the first round

Formal and organizational questions

Questions regarding funded consortia

Fundamental Questions about the programme

If you are unable to reach your contact person, please feel free to contact the NFDI team at:

Please note the information contained in our

NFDI Expert Committee

At its meeting on 6 December 2018, the Joint Committee of the DFG established the NFDI Expert Committee, which is responsible for the process of selecting the NFDI consortia. The committee’s main duties are to evaluate proposals on the basis of a review of scientific, information technology, and structural considerations and to formulate funding recommendations for the GWK. The committee is composed of experts in various branches of science and the humanities who have extensive experience in working abroad, in research management, in scientific infrastructure facilities or in industry.

Members

A list of the current members of the Expert Committee can be found at the following link:

A statement of the NFDI Expert Committee on the preparation and application of NFDI-wide basic services following the third NFDI conference can be found at:

The NFDI Expert Committee issued a second statement in 2020 in which it comments on the further development and expansion of the NFDI and the challenges it faces.

Observations by the NFDI Expert Committee on planning NFDI consortia, published in follow-up to the first NFDI conference in 2019 and currently available in German only, can be accessed at:

Inquiries about the NFDI Expert Committee

Further Information

The DFG and the Joint Science Conference (GWK) are collaborating on the NFDI programme in accordance with the Agreement between the Federal Government and the Länder concerning the Establishment and Funding of a National Research Data Infrastructure of 26 November 2018. The DFG is responsible for the research-driven review and evaluation of the consortia proposals. The GWK makes decisions on the basis of funding recommendations by the DFG. To be eligible for funding within the NFDI framework, consortia must have received a positive review during the review process.

Within the NFDI framework, the consortia, the Consortia Assembly, the Scientific Senate and the Directorate will work together:

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees is the administrative-strategic supervisory body of the NFDI Association. Its main tasks are the appointment and supervision of the Directorate, the approval of the admission and exclusion of members as well as the approval of major financial and organisational decisions affecting the Association as such. The Board of Trustees consists of nine members, three of whom are delegated by the Federal Republic of Germany, three by the federal states and three by the Association’s Members Assembly.

Consortia

Consortia are groups of users and providers of research data that come together for the purpose of long-term cooperation. They may include state-funded and state-recognised higher education institutions, non-university research institutions, departmental research institutions, academies, and other publicly financed information infrastructures. Generally organised by research domain or method, their aim is to improve and safeguard access to and use of research data in their relevant area, thereby contributing to sustainable data management.

Consortia Assembly

Each consortium is represented by a spokesperson. The spokespersons of the consortia make up the Consortia Assembly, the central research body of the NFDI. The Consortia Assembly makes all research, operational and service-related decisions on behalf of the NFDI consortia and the NFDI and decides on the introduction of cross-disciplinary procedures, services and/or standards relating to the NFDI within the scope of the principles approved by the NFDI Scientific Senate.

Scientific Senate

The Scientific Senate is the central strategic body of the NFDI. It advises the GWK on all fundamental matters relating to the ongoing development of the national research data infrastructure and ensures that the NFDI connects smoothly with national and international developments.

Directorate

The Directorate, located in Karlsruhe, consists of a full-time director and a managing office. On 1 March 2020, Professor Dr. York Sure-Vetter was appointed full-time director of the NFDI for a five-year term. The Directorate recommends courses of action for consideration by the Consortia Assembly and the Scientific Senate, effects the necessary decisions in these bodies and serves as the external representative of the NFDI. The Directorate also coordinates the work and activities of NFDI consortia on cross-disciplinary topics.

Governance

A workshop on governance of the NFDI was held at the DFG Head Office in Bonn on 30 August 2019. The workshop focused on questions concerning the constitution of the consortia, the interaction of the individual structural elements in the NFDI, and specific questions concerning the submission of proposals. The minutes of the workshop of 30 August 2019 can be found here:

Proposals received

Statistical overviews of the proposals received in response to the calls for proposals in 2019, 2020 and 2021 can be found here (in German only):

Funded projects

On 26 June 2020 the Joint Science Conference (GWK) made its final funding decisions in the first round of the National Research Data Infrastructure Programme. A total of nine consortia were chosen. On 2 July 2021, the GWK approved funding for ten additional consortia as part of the second round of NFDI tenders. On 4 November 2022, the GWK decided to fund seven more consortia and an initiative for NFDI-wide basic services. In all decisions, the GWK followed the recommendations of the NFDI expert panel, which had proposed the funded applications to the GWK for funding as a result of an intensive review and evaluation process. A statistical overview of the funding decisions in the three rounds of calls for proposals can be found here:

An overview of the funded consortia can be found at:

Note

Additional information about the NFDI will be published on this site during the course of the programme. For quick access please use the URL: