Research Training Groups

Research Training Groups are established by universities to promote early career researchers. They are funded by the DFG for a period of up to nine years. Their key emphasis is on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research programme and a structured training strategy. Research Training Groups with an interdisciplinary approach are warmly welcomed.

The aim is to prepare doctoral researchers for the complexities of the job market in science and academics and simultaneously to encourage early scientific independence.


Promotion of graduated Early Career Researchers.

Eligibility Requirements

Universities and equivalent institutions with the right to award doctorates as well as universities of applied sciences that have an independent right to award doctorates or which, in cooperation with institutions that have been granted the right to award doctorates, can lead doctoral candidates to a doctorate in the subjects relevant to the Research Training Group.

Proposal Requirements

Research programme - high scientific quality and originality (interdisciplinary approach desired) at an international level.

Qualification programme - of direct relevance to the research programme, including innovative teaching and supervision elements, which should clearly extend beyond the courses (doctoral colloquia) usually offered in doctorate programmes.

Visiting researcher programme - integrated into the qualification programme, adding internationalisation to the training provided.

Type and Extent of Funding

Posts for doctoral researchers and postdocs.

Grants for doctoral researchers, applicants holding a degree from a university of applied science (Fachhochschule) or a Bachelor's degree.

Funds for visiting researchers, research students, travel, workshops, small equipment, consumables, coordination, miscellaneous.

Funding Period

Up to nine years.

In the case of Research Training Groups whose establishment proposal is decided on by November 2021, one funding period lasts four and a half years.

For Research Training Groups whose establishment proposal is decided on in May 2022 or later, the first funding period is five years and the second funding period is four years.

Forms and Guidelines

In International Research Training Groups, a group of researchers at a German university and a group at a partner institution abroad assume joint responsibility for the structured research and qualification programme of the doctoral researchers. The programmes are developed collaboratively and involve dual supervision. Doctoral researchers in the participating groups are expected to spend at least six months abroad at the respective partner institution. more

Draft proposals: no deadline

Establishment proposals – following consultation with the DFG’s Head Office – are accepted at any time.

Senate Committee on Research Training Groups

This Senate Committee is responsible for advising the DFG’s decision-making bodies on issues relating to Research Training Groups, for giving the final recommendation for draft proposals and for preparing the final decisions by the relevant Grants Committee. The members of this Senate Committee also serve as the academic and scientific members of the DFG Grants Committee on Research Training Groups.

Meetings of the Senate Committee:

  • 7 May 2024
  • 14 November 2024

Grants Committee on Research Training Groups

The Grants Committee on Research Training Groups is responsible for the establishment and funding of Research Training Groups. The committee is made up of 39 scientists and academics elected by the DFG's Senate from all research areas, and two representatives of the federal government (Bund) and one representative from each of the 16 federal states (Länder).

Meeting of the Grants Committee:

  • 8 May 2024
  • 15 November 2024
  • Research Training Groups – A Long History of Success

    A model that has seen over 25 years of success: the DFG's first Research Training Groups began their work in September 1990. A brochure published to mark the programme's 20th anniversary highlights their successful history. The brochure showcases projects and gives first-hand accounts of the research conducted.
  • Annual Surveys
  • The RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering) Programme
  • Compatibility of Family & Career
  • German National Academic Foundation Doctoral Forums

    Under an agreement between the DFG and the German National Academic Foundation, doctoral researchers in Research Training Groups are able to participate in the German National Academic Foundation doctoral forums in a variety of research areas (literature, history, society, nature and science).

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