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Information for Researchers No. 37 | 16 July 2014
Priority Programme “New frontiers in sensitivity for EPR spectroscopy: from biological cells to nano materials” (SPP 1601)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled “New frontiers in sensitivity for EPR spectroscopy: from biological cells to nano materials” (SPP 1601) in May 2012. The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a spectroscopic technique that allows detection of paramagnetic centres and magnetic nuclei coupled to them on a time scale as short as nanoseconds and with spatial resolution from the atomic up to the nanometer scale. Recent progress in this technique has been mainly driven by specific needs in the research areas of biological and material science. The Priority Programme has been bringing these research areas together in a coordinated effort to increase the sensitivity of EPR as an essential spectroscopic technique for biology, chemistry, materials science and physics.

As a major goal, applications such as the investigation of megadalton molecular machines, in cell protein-protein interactions or enzymatic mechanisms, catalytic processes on single-crystalline surfaces or the light-induced degradation of thin-film solar cells are addressed by EPR. The intrinsic diversity of the studied systems implies that the envisaged sensitivity enhancement does not only rely on advances on the side of EPR hardware but involves alternative polarization and detection schemes and the adaptation of the method to “real world” samples.

The programme invites applications for collaborative projects that focus on four major research areas. The first two areas comprehend methods to increase the sensitivity of EPR experiments: 1) methods for improved excitation and manipulation of electron spin magnetization and 2) methods for improved EPR detection. The third and fourth areas explore the applicability of these methods in fields of biological and material sciences, which are not amenable to EPR spectroscopy at the current state-of-the-art.

In the current first phase, the groups with focus on applications have adapted and expanded presently available methods for increased sensitivity (such as the use of micro-resonators, THz spectroscopy, electrical or optical excitation or detection) to their specific purposes. Groups with expertise in EPR methodologies have been developing new experiments. In the second phase of the programme the focus is on joining these two development threads. The outcome from the methodical work in the first funding period will be transferred within the consortium and optimized to new specific applications.

Proposals can be submitted by single parties, but joint collaborative projects are encouraged. In case of joint proposals linked partners should be from separate fields, e.g., chemistry, material science, biophysics and physics. Separate budgets must be provided for each applicant in joint proposals. The programme will not cover upgrades in standard instrumentation or investments in large scale facilities.

Please note that proposers need to be eligible for research proposals to the DFG. Accepted proposals are expected to contribute to joint activities of this SPP. These might be jointly organized summer schools as well as regular meetings where research results and experiences are exchanged.

Submission of proposals

Research proposals for the second three-year funding period are now invited. Deadline for submission is 30 November 2014. All proposals must be written in English and follow the guidelines in DFG form 54.01 (Proposal Preparation Instructions – Project Proposals). Please mention your name, your address, the title of your project and the title of the Priority Programme on the first page of your application. Further relevant information on e.g. eligibility requirements can be found in DFG form 50.05, part B.

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 (e.g. preprints on repositories).

Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system elan, selecting “SPP 1601”. 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.

In addition to submitting your proposal to the DFG, please send an electronic version (pdf format) to the coordinator.

The proposals will be evaluated by a review panel which is planned to meet in January/February 2015. The envisaged start of funding is May 2015.

Further Information

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

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

Scientific questions about this Priority Programme should be directed to its coordinator

  • Professor Dr. Marina Bennati,
    Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Karl-Friedrich-Bonhoeffer-Institut),
    Am Fassberg 11,
    37077 Göttingen


  • Department of Chemistry,
    Georg-August University of Göttingen,
    Tammannstr. 2,
    37077 Göttingen,
    phone: +49551/2011911,

Administrative questions, notably about the formal eligibility for participation and the submission of the proposal, should be directed to