Funding in an International Context

The DFG has a wide range of possibilities to support researchers in Germany and at German research institutions abroad in engaging in international cooperation.

In principle, researchers at a German institution (both in Germany and abroad) can submit funding proposals with researchers in any country at any time, in any subject area and with no limitation as to the specific topic. As a rule, the DFG funds the part of the project that is located in Germany. Complementary financing of the foreign part of the project can be provided by the partner or another funding organisation, the respective university or a non-university institution or an alternative funding source. In addition, there are specific funding opportunities in cooperation with individual countries: these may require a subject specific focus or application deadlines, for example. It is also possible to integrate international researchers in an existing research project.

In contrast to some foreign funding organisations, the DFG does not provide special funding for international cooperation projects. This means that proposals for funding of international project collaborations compete with all other proposals under the respective DFG procedure.

The various funding opportunities are listed below:

Funding Opportunities

Travel Expenses/Funding for Visiting Researchers

In the framework of the Research Grant Programme, the basic module can be used to apply for travel expenses and funding for visiting researchers from abroad (see Guideline 52.01, sections 2.2 and 2.3).

Module – Mercator Fellow

Guest fellowships enable intensive, long-term collaboration with visiting researchers from Germany and abroad.

Development of International Cooperation

Researchers who would like to establish research cooperation with foreign partners can apply for funds for trips abroad, guest visits or bilateral workshops.

International Science Events

The DFG supports the organisation of Science Events in Germany. This includes international congresses, symposia, specialist conferences and annual meetings of German professional associations.

Scientific Networks

Scientific Networks offer researchers in Germany and abroad the opportunity to engage in multi-year scientific exchange and cooperation on a topic area of their choice across locations.

In all DFG programmes, a funding proposal can generally be submitted at any time with international partners involving co-financing. Co-financing can be provided by funding organisations or by alternative sources such as universities. The DFG guidelines apply to the German part, while the regulations of the foreign funding providers apply to the foreign part. For this reason, interested researchers should first contact their cooperation partners abroad to find out about the relevant proposal submission options in their country.

In certain countries, the DFG has agreements with various partner organisations for the joint funding of research projects. The proposal submission modalities are usually published in the form of calls for proposals. The overview provides information on regional cooperation with Africa, in connection with EU Actions, with Israel/the Middle East and developing countries as well as with specific countries.

With certain partner organisations there is also the possibility of submitting a proposal for reciprocal financing of the foreign part of the project without a deadline (Standing Open Procedure).

International Research Training Groups are one funding option under the Research Training Group programme. They are jointly structured doctoral programmes run by German universities and universities or research institutions abroad and are designed to promote and intensify bilateral cooperation. Systematic research cooperation is supplemented by a joint research and qualification programme, cross-border supervision of doctoral students and long-term reciprocal research visits by doctoral students to the partner institution.

The aim of promoting international cooperation under the Collaborative Research Programme is to establish and expand international networking structures between Collaborative Research Centres and research partners abroad. Subject to certain conditions, it is possible to incorporate projects being conducted by researchers and research institutions abroad. In addition, applications can also be made for travel expenses and funds for guest visits by international researchers. It is also possible to involve foreign universities as locations for an SFB/Transregio.

In connection with a Priority Programme or a Research Group, projects by researchers abroad can be funded directly by the DFG if their project makes an important additional contribution to achieving the objectives of the Priority Programme or Research Group and adds significant value to the projects planned in Germany.

Based on special agreements with partner organisations in Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland, project proposals can be submitted by researchers from these countries without the above mentioned requirements being met, as these projects are in principle financed by the respective partner organisation involved.