FAQ: Information from the Life Sciences

Proposals may be submitted in English or German. Applications in English enable a larger group of reviewers to be accessed, making it easier to avoid bias. For this reason, it is highly desirable to submit proposals in English. For the English outline, see:

By submitting a proposal to the DFG, all applicants undertake to comply with the provisions of the German Animal Welfare Act (Tierschutzgesetz, (TierSchG)) and the German Animal Welfare Laboratory Animal Ordinance (Tierschutz-Versuchstierverordnung (TierSchVersV)). In the work programme, the experimental design of animal experiments must be described in a clear and comprehensive manner. Particularly the choice of the animal model and the estimated number of animals used must be convincingly justified. In the supplementary information of the proposal, please explain how animal welfare measures based on the 3Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) are implemented in the specific project. The direct link between animal welfare measures and their impact on the scientific validity of the specific experiment is to be considered in particular (e.g. the necessity and validity of the chosen animal model, statistically reliable case numbers, reasonable study groups taking reproducibility and generalisability into account, etc.). Additional information and guidelines are available in the publication Animal Experimentation in Research: The 3Rs Principle and the Validity of Scientific Research.

This information is mandatory for experiments involving vertebrates, decapods and cephalopods pursuant to §8 of the TierSchG (German Animal Welfare Act) as well as for cases where the killing of these animals is necessary for organ or tissue removal for scientific purposes.

If you require funding for the acquisition, breeding and keeping of experimental animals, the costs must be itemised and explained. For keeping rats and mice, a standard rate applies. There are no standard rates for other animal species.

In the life sciences, doctoral researcher positions are usually funded at 65%. Higher amounts must be specifically justified and are only approved in exceptional cases. If doctoral researchers from other disciplines are to be recruited (e.g. physicists or computer scientists), other guidelines may apply:

As a rule, a statement by an ethics committee must always be submitted if studies are to be carried out on humans, on material taken from humans or using identifiable personal data. Please make sure that the ethics committee statement is current (no more than two years old) and is issued in your name, as well as containing the title of your proposal. A statement by the chairperson of the locally competent ethics committee issued using the so-called simplified procedure is also sufficient. For a renewal proposal you will require a new statement to be issued. If applicants from different research institutions are involved in a project proposal, or cooperation partners whose contribution to the project requires a statement by an ethics committee, it is sufficient for the project as a whole to be evaluated by the locally competent ethics committee responsible for the institution at which the project manager is employed.

If requested in the research proposal, the costs for ethics committee statements may be covered by the DFG if the project is approved. By way of an exception, expenses are eligible even if the legal grounds for payment arose before the date of the grant.

If you have any questions about funding opportunities offered by the DFG or about subject-specific issues, the relevant contacts at the Head Office will be glad to help you.

Further Information

DFG funding programmes: