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Information for Researchers No. 35 | 18 June 2014
Priority Programme “Study of Earth System Dynamics with a Constellation of Potential Field Missions (DynamicEarth)” (SPP 1788)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has initiated the Priority Programme “Study of Earth System Dynamics with a Constellation of Potential Field Missions (DynamicEarth)“ (SPP 1788). The first funding period spans three years from early 2015 to 2018.

System Earth changes continuously. Variations of Earth’s interior, the atmosphere, the oceans, and near-Earth space give rise to changes in global potential fields, particularly in Earth’s magnetic and gravity fields. The underlying processes can be identified and studied through monitoring and analysis of fundamental geomagnetic and gravity parameters. The main focus of this Priority Programme is to quantify terrestrial transport mechanisms and solar-terrestrial interactions. The research programme builds on data from satellites on low-Earth orbits, such as CHAMP, GRACE, and GOCE. Of particular importance is the multi-satellite mission Swarm, launched in November 2013. Three identically constructed satellites are equipped with a complimentary set of instruments to survey potential fields and fundamental physical parameters. Variations of the potential fields can be measured across a broad spectral range of spatial and temporal scales. Other parameters can be analysed, as well as ground-based observations and modelling results, to complement the understanding of the system Earth.

The key to successfully investigating the range of topics in this programme is a multidisciplinary approach. If possible, successful proposals should cover two of the main fields of work to emphasise the interdisciplinarity of this programme. The focus of work will be on the following areas:

  • geomagnetic field: study of its dynamics and evolution; analysing its different contributions, including the Earth’s core, mantle induction, lithosphere, and oceanic currents; geodynamo simulations and their link to the observations
  • gravity field: global variations of mass and mass balances, interaction and exchange mechanisms (hydrological cycle, ice melting in the polar regions, sea-level fluctuations, groundwater, relationship with anthropogenic influences, tides of oceans and atmosphere), length-of day variation, and high-resolution models of the gravity field
  • current systems of ionosphere/magnetosphere: ionospheric current systems from low to high latitudes, near-Earth verification of magnetospheric currents, field-aligned currents (FACs) – coupling of ionosphere and magnetosphere, contributions of ionospheric currents to the energy budget of the atmosphere
  • thermosphere/ionosphere: quantification of solar contributions (EUV, solar wind) and influence of the lower and middle atmosphere (waves and tides) on the variability of the upper atmosphere, interaction between ionospheric plasma and neutral gas, understanding and predicting ionospheric and atmospheric irregularities from equatorial to polar latitudes (e.g. signal disturbances in communication and navigation)

Research proposals for the first three-year funding period are now invited and can be submitted by 8 October 2014 (deadline). All proposals should be submitted in English and follow the guidelines in DFG form 50.05 (Priority Programmes) and 54.01 (Project Proposals). Please include a title page with your name, your address, and the title of your project in your application.

Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system elan, selecting “SPP 1788”. If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project (in case there is more than one) start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

Please notice the rules for publication lists that have been modified recently: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Further the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to up to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications.

In order to coordinate the intended interdisciplinary research proposals within the frame of the Priority Programme a workshop will be carried out on 3 and 4 July 2014 in Potsdam. Potential proposers are kindly asked to participate and present an outline of their project.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, part B, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

Information about the scientific goals is provided by the coordinators of the Priority Programme at Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 2.3 Earth’s Magnetic Field, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam:

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:

For scientific matters:

For administrative matters: