Review criteria and quality assurance

Review Criteria

The DFG provides all reviewers with appropriate guidance so as to ensure that proposals under all the various DFG programmes are reviewed according to the same standards.

In order to take account of the specific details of the various programmes, additional review notes are provided for individual programmes. To find these, visit the following page and apply the filter “review” to the full list.

Quality assurance

The DFG pursues quality assurance in its procedures in relation to both the quality of content and formal accuracy.

As a rule, the research quality of a project is assessed by means of a three-stage process: first by reviewers, then by the review boards and finally by the Joint Committee (see also How does the DFG decide whether a proposal is to receive funding?). In addition to this subject-based process, the DFG also operates a formal quality assurance system at its Head Office. This involves each proposal being checked to ensure applicants have complied with the procedural rules of the respective funding programme.

This formal quality assurance is the responsibility of Quality and Programme Management, a unit that is independent of the departments that process the proposals. Before the final decision on a proposal is arrived at the following points are checked, for example: Is the applicant entitled to submit the proposal? Are the decision documents consistent and has the necessary number of reviews been carried out? Do the reviews possibly contain discriminatory statements? Has a statement by an ethics committee been submitted in cases where studies are to be carried out on humans, on material taken from humans or using identifiable personal data?

The aim of this quality assurance is to identify and correct any procedural errors and to raise awareness at the Head Office to sources of error, thereby ensuring equal treatment of all proposals.