Jump to main navigation Skip to Content

DFG Logo: back to Homepage Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

banner: Kopfbereich DFG2020 Logo - englisch Because research matters

Information for Researchers No. 1 | 4 January 2016
Sino-German Call for Proposals: Novel Functional Materials for Sustainable Chemistry

The present initiative is a bilateral funding measure by two funding bodies: the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).

The initiative on novel functional materials for sustainable chemistry aims to bring together relevant and competitive researchers and research teams from China and Germany to design and carry out jointly organised research projects in the given field. Funding within this initiative will be available for multilateral collaborative research projects consisting of researchers from both partner countries. Within these research consortia, each national funding organisation will fund as a rule only those project components that are carried out within its own country. The collaborative research projects must involve active communication and cooperation between the participating researchers.

The collaborative projects selected to take part in the initiative will receive research funding for a period of up to three years.

The objectives of the initiative are:

  • to promote high-quality, multi- and inter-disciplinary research projects in the participating countries
  • to stimulate mobility of researchers between the participating countries
  • to promote training of researchers
  • to accelerate the exchange of new scientific knowledge among researchers and between researchers and other interested groups

Research areas
Sustainable, environmentally benign processes are vital for the future to supply the world population with clean energy and industrial products. Therefore this call is targeted at proposals in the field of the development and optimisation of novel functional materials for catalysis, energy storage and energy technologies. These materials should permit environmentally benign reactions, which comprise effective chemical transformations, while using a minimum of resources and producing a minimum of pollutants. The call aims to attract joint proposals, which for instance focus on:

  • the synthesis of new materials
  • the structural and physicochemical characterisation of new materials
  • approaches toward novel applications in the above mentioned field
  • or other innovative methods

Research projects are encouraged to include multi- and interdisciplinary approaches in a collaborative manner to create a maximum of synergy between the members of the research teams. Prospective applicants should have a common track record.

This call for proposals is open to researchers based at universities, academic institutions and research centres in China and Germany. Funding is available for bilateral collaborative research projects comprising researchers or research teams from the two participating countries. Within a consortium the number of respective national research teams should be roughly balanced. Applicants are required to fulfil any national requirements for funding and follow the general regulations of their respective funding organisation. Applications that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

Criteria for project selection
The assessment of all proposals will be based on an international peer review process. Collaborative projects suitable for joint funding will be selected based on this assessment.

The most important criteria applied in this selection process are the following:

  • relevance of the project to the above mentioned research area
  • scientific quality and innovativeness of the research project
  • feasibility of the research plan
  • cost-effectiveness of the budgetary plan
  • competence and expertise of the researchers or research teams
  • effective communication and cooperation between the researchers in each country and added value of the collaboration
  • mobility of researchers between the participating countries

Allowable costs
For DFG, funds may be used to cover salaries of postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students as well as for consumables, travel expenses for internal consortia meetings (at least one internal meeting per year) and scientific conferences. Within a collaborative project, researcher mobility between China and Germany is strongly encouraged (e.g. research visits for 3–6 months) and can be supported by funding travel expenses and housing costs.

In the case of mutual visits of scientists between China and Germany the visiting scientist will cover international flights and the host will provide the local accommodation together with a daily maintenance allowance and domestic travel costs.

All requested cost items must be in accordance with the national administrative regulations, respectively.

Submission of project applications
All applicants of a bilateral collaborative project within this call must submit their joint application to the respective national funding bodies (NSFC and DFG). All documents must be written in English.

Additional specific requirements for Chinese and German applicants are outlined below. Applications arriving late and applications not fulfilling the national requirements will not be considered. No legal entitlement can be derived from the submission of a project description.

The joint application must include the following information:

  • cover page with name and address of the principle investigators
  • joint abstract (one page maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • joint research plan with a general description of the project including scope, topic, relevance, a list of up to ten project related publications of the PIs, overall approach, a clear description of the planned research collaboration with responsibilities of the partners, basis of the Chinese-German collaboration and added value to be expected, significance to researcher training and to the development of the research environment, a justification for requested cost items for each collaboration partner(20 pages maximum, 12pt and 1.5 line spacing)
  • a short CV for each principle investigator (including up to ten selected publications for each investigator)

All proposals must be submitted by 31 March 2016.

Specific instructions for Chinese PIs
Chinese applicants are kindly requested to conform to all the requirements listed in the Chinese call for proposals that are published on the NSFC website.

Specific instructions for German PIs
Researchers in Germany, or those working at a German research institution abroad, who have completed their academic training (a doctorate as a rule) are eligible to submit proposals. Due to the thematic focus of this call (similar to DFG Priority Programmes), proposals may also be submitted by researchers working at a non-university research institution without being subject to a cooperation requirement regarding the individual proposal.

Applicants to be funded by the DFG are requested to fulfil the eligibility requirements of DFG Research Grants, see the corresponding guidelines of the Research Grants Programme, DFG form 50.01.

Proposals within this call have to be submitted to the electronic proposal processing system (elan) selecting “DFG-NSFC 2016 Chemistry“ to tag your proposal for this specific call. A proposal consists of the following three parts:

  • proposal data and obligations (only to be filled by the German applicants on elan)
  • project description (joint application documents including CVs as described above)

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 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 latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff. Further information is given in the Proposal Preparation Instructions, DFG form 54.01.

Notification of results
Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the following administrative steps according to the national regulations, respectively. The selection of the projects will be completed by the end of 2016. The projects may start at the beginning of 2017.

Further information

Forms and Guidelines

The DFG forms “Guidelines Research Grants Programme“ (50.01) and “Proposal Preparation Instructions – Project Proposals (54.01) can be found at:

General information for German PIs on Research Grants

Further information for Chinese PIs

Contact information for China:

Contact information for Germany:

Questions concerning scientific issues may be addressed to

Questions concerning issues of international cooperation may be addressed to