Approval or rejection – what now?

Once you have submitted your proposal, you will have to be patient for a few months. You can check the status of your proposal at any time in your elan user account. On average, it will be about six months before you receive a written approval or rejection (letter or e-mail).

With my award letter in hand ...

Your funding proposal has been approved. Congratulations! You should now claim your funding promptly – no later than within one year. Please note the following:

Read through the award letter carefully

Be sure to read through the grant notification carefully. In addition to administrative information (project number, funding amount, duration, reference number, reference to the funding guidelines, reporting requirements, etc.), you will also find the details of the contact person responsible at the DFG Head Office. Important: The attached funding guidelines form part of your grant.

  • Read through the funding guidelines carefully! They constitute the General Terms and Conditions of DFG Grants and contain all the general conditions for the implementation of your project.

Notify the liaison officer

Soon after receiving your award letter, you should inform the DFG liaison officer at your research institution. The contact details are included in the letter.

How to access the funds

First, you need a dedicated account (third-party funds account or special account). In order to set this up, contact the office responsible for third-party funding at your university or research institution – in most cases this will be the central administration or the dean’s office.

  • If you have specific questions about the handling of the approved funds, please get in touch with the "Financial Grant Management” department, stating your reference number and cost item: .

If you have been awarded a fellowship, you do not require a third-party funds account. You can access the fellowship directly. You will find information on this in your award letter. If you have any questions about current fellowships, please contact the Fellowship Office.

What you need to bear in mind once your project is up and running

Please be sure to notify us of any project-related changes in good time: change of research institution, change of contract at your institution, change of employment level, interruptions due to parental leave or care provision for relatives.

Did you know? There are numerous support options available to you should there be any delays due to parenthood, care provision for relatives or illness. The DFG is very committed to Equal Opportunities in Research.

How your project becomes visible

Shortly after approval, your project is automatically added to the GEPRIS database. Of course, you can also present your research work itself to a wide audience via a website, on social media, at a science slam or in academic magazines published by your research institution.

Final report after the end of the project

By accepting the approval, you agree to submit a final report summarising the results to the DFG within three months of the end of the project. For instructions on how to write this report, see the Funding Guidelines and the program-specific templates.

Did you know? You can publish your final report in a suitable repository and thereby make the positive and negative scientific results arrived at in the project freely available to the subject-specialist communities and the public outside the usual publication channels.

Further questions?

With my letter of rejection in hand ...

Your proposal was rejected – that’s frustrating news. It might not be very comforting, but you are by no means the only one. Afterall, it is only possible to approve about one third of the proposals submitted to the DFG. For the Emmy Noether Programme, the figure is less than 20 percent, albeit the reviewers often in principle have a positive attitude towards the projects. Thus, a rejection is less a reflection of your previous research accomplishments or aptitude to run your own project than of the DFG’s limited budget and the highly competitive situation in your field.

Did you know? Every year, the DFG updates many of its Key facts and figures about funding. It regularly evaluates its funding activities and publishes reports and studies, such as those on Research funding and career paths.

Proposal numbers and funding rates in programmes to promote research careers 2018 to 2021

Annual Report - Graphic 11: Proposal numbers and funding rates in programmes to promote research careers 2018 to 2021

Based on: New proposals, excluding return grants. The Walter Benjamin Programme, launched in 2019, replaced the Research Fellowships Programme with its fellowship variant.

Making the most of the decision

Along with the letter of rejection, you will receive all reviews and information from the decision-making process. This personal feedback on your ideas from experts in the field is a valuable resource! Make use of this to rethink your plans. The DFG Head Office will be happy to advise you on how to interpret the reviews. We provide the respective contact in your decision letter. You might also find it useful to talk to experienced applicants, supervisors, peers and advisory bodies at your research institution.

Did you know? The DFG does not have a rebuttal procedure. Such a procedure would be difficult to implement in an equally fair manner and without imposing a significant additional burden on all parties involved. However, you can resubmit a rejected proposal at any time after it has been revised. You are welcome to address key points in a brief covering letter.

Revision and resubmission of the proposal to the DFG

If you wish to revise your proposal and resubmit it, we recommend you take into account the points raised in the reviews and the statement of the review board – and attach a brief covering letter (1-2 pages) to it. The contact persons at the DFG Head Office responsible for your subject will be happy to advise you on formal questions regarding revision and resubmission.

Did you know? In order to obtain DFG funding, as an alternative to submitting your own proposal, you can also apply to participate in a Coordinated Programme or in a project that is already being funded. You will find details of ongoing projects in GEPRIS.

Complaints and criticism

The central guiding principle of the DFG’s funding activities is a consistently fair, science-driven and transparent decision-making process. The DFG’s rules of procedure only cover approval or rejection. If your proposal was rejected, there is no formal right of appeal. You are of course free to address complaints and criticism to the DFG Head Office. We respond to all forms of feedback and help you find constructive solutions.

Further questions?