Priority Programmes

A particular feature of the Priority Programme is the nationwide collaboration between its participating researchers.

The DFG Senate may establish Priority Programmes when the coordinated support given to the area in question promises to produce particular scientific gain. The Senate convenes once a year to discuss proposals to establish Priority Programmes submitted by researchers.

As a rule, Priority Programmes receive funding for a period of six years. If researchers are interested in collaborating on a Priority Programme, the DFG will invite them to submit the corresponding project proposals by a certain deadline.


The Priority Programmes aim to give clear impetus to the advancement of science and the humanities through coordinated multi-location funding for important new topics:

  • Handling of topics that are expected to have a formative impact on a field of science or the humanities; interdisciplinary proposals offer particular potential here.
  • Creating added value by collaborating with different locations (networking).
  • Supporting researchers in early career phases involved in the projects.
  • Having equity measures tailored to the Priority Programme.

Eligibility Requirements

As a basic principle, researchers from all disciplines who work at a research institution in Germany or at a German research institution abroad who have completed their doctorate training are eligible.

Priority Programme Requirements

  • The scientific questions are original in terms of the topic and/or the methods used
  • The scientific questions are narrowed down with due regard to the duration of a Priority Programme
  • The planned research activities are coherent
  • There are concepts in place for organising the interdisciplinary and multi-location collaboration/networking
  • There are funding measures for researchers in early career phases, measures to promote equity, particularly to promote female researchers and family-friendly opportunities
  • The planned research activities are networked in the international research system
  • The coordinator is qualified with regard to managing a research group

Type and Extent of Funding

As a rule, funding is available for up to 30 individual projects. It can be applied for in due time and in accordance with the guidelines for research grants after the DFG’s call for proposals.


Funding Duration

A maximum of six years, split into two funding periods of three years each.

Time to Decision

As a rule, Senate selection meetings are held in March of a given year. New programmes are established and project funding begins the year after this.

Forms and Guidelines

Forms and Guidelines

Proposals to establish a Priority Programme must be submitted by 15 October of a given year

The DFG has a wide range of options to support research groups engaging in international collaboration.

DFG support for collaborative ventures

  • Travel funds and guest funds for foreign cooperation partners as part of the Basic Module
  • Travel funds and, where applicable, remuneration for foreign cooperation partners in connection with the Mercator Fellows module
  • Travel funds for foreign cooperation partners in connection with the Project-Specific Workshops module
  • Funds for project implementation by the foreign cooperation partner under special procedures via transfer of funds on the part of the project management entitled to apply to the DFG (cooperation with the Middle East and with developing countries)
  • By way of an exception, proposals can be submitted directly by the foreign researcher to the DFG if the project abroad makes an important additional contribution to achieving the goals of the research group and adds significant value to the projects planned in Germany.

Support for cooperation provided by foreign partner organisations

For additional information, please contact Department II: Scientific Affairs