Clinical Research Units

Clinical Research Units provide outstanding researchers the opportunity to carry out close, medium-term cooperation in a special research project from the field of disease or patient-oriented clinical research. This cooperation must be expected to produce findings which could not have been achieved with the support available under the Individual Grants Programme or Priority Programme.

Clinical research units are a way of supporting outstanding researchers in mid-term close collaboration on a particular research task, if it is to be expected that collaboration supported in this way will lead to results that cannot be reached by means of an individual grant.

One of the aims of the funding of clinical research units is to improve clinical research by creating and strengthening research-oriented structures in university hospitals, establishing or reinforcing training structures, supporting early career researchers, advancing the scientific profiling of individual medical faculties and intensifying cooperation between clinicians and basic researchers.


To fund research associations in disease- or patient-oriented (translational) clinical research and the long-term implementation of scientific working groups in clinical institutions

Eligibility Requirements

Outstanding researchers

Requirements for the Clinical Research Unit

Scientific quality and originality of the research project at an international level.

Clinical problems, incorporation of clinical material, if applicable, with a topical focus on translational research with a patient-oriented approach and the investigation of disease mechanisms.

Clear backing by the medical school of the establishment and support of the Clinical Research Unit.

Boost the development of the scientific profile of the university/medical school.

Create and boost research-oriented structures in hospitals.

Intensify cooperation between researchers engaged in basic research and clinicians.

Establish and/or strengthen training structures in clinical research.

If possible, integration of clinical-scientific staff of the Clinical Research Unit into a Clinician Scientist Programme at the site.

Type and Extent of Funding

Proposal Modules

Clinical Research Units can include the following funding modules, some of which are required:

Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Groups and funding recipients under the Heisenberg Programme can be affiliated to the Clinical Research Unit.

In the coordination project, funding can be requested for targeted measures to promote the academic careers of Clinician Scientists or natural scientists in medical research.

Funding Duration

For draft proposals received after 1 October 2018:

Usually up to eight years, divided into two funding periods of four years each.

Forms and Guidelines

Draft proposals may be submitted at any time. They will be discussed in the respective review boards. The Review Board Medicine discusses the draft proposals twice a year (spring and autumn). You may only resubmit a revised draft proposal once.

Establishment proposals: no deadline for submission (however, consultation with the DFG Head Office is recommended for better planning), decisions on the funding of Clinical Research Units for the first time are made by the Joint Committee four times a year.

Renewal proposals: six months before the end of the current funding period.


Dr. Petra Hintze
Telephone: +49 (228) 885-2552