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Information for Researchers No. 46 | 19 July 2016
Priority Programme “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (SPP 1992)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (SPP 1992). The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

One of the most exciting recent discoveries in astronomy is the existence of a huge variety of extrasolar planets orbiting other stars, including numerous multi-planet systems. Exoplanets can be very different to those found in our Solar System, and range from the so-called “hot Jupiter” and “mini-Neptune” gas planets to large rocky planets (“super-Earths”). This Priority Programme aims to explore such diversity and understand its origins. The programme wants to make substantial contributions to answering the following fundamental questions:

  • What does the diversity of exoplanets tell us about their formation processes and the evolution of planets and planetary systems?
  • What can we learn about the astrophysical conditions necessary to harbour life and are these conditions common in our Milky Way?

To understand the diversity and complexity of exoplanets requires combined efforts across disciplines, linking observational planet detection and characterisation to theory. Science areas addressed in this Priority Programme therefore include:

  • the detection of exoplanets and observational characterisation of their properties (e.g. orbit, mass, radius, atmosphere); and
  • the understanding of exoplanet properties and diversity in terms of atmospheres, planetary interiors, habitability, formation and evolution processes.

The major observational data basis for this Priority Programme will result from national and international ground- and space-based projects with strong German participations, data becoming publicly available during the programme, and from major observatories. This programme will focus the German exoplanet science community to explore the new data by driving scientific data exploitation, triggering dedicated follow-up observations for further characterisation, and by developing the related theory needed to answer the above mentioned scientific questions.

The Priority Programme wants to support projects which have a direct relationship to observational exoplanetary data which will become available within the time frame of this programme, their analysis and/or their scientific interpretation. This excludes e.g. theoretical work and observations of disks before a planet has formed and general interior and atmosphere modelling without the clear goal of interpreting data on observed exoplanets. Studies of Solar System bodies are also not part of this Priority Programme. Additionally, work related to instrumental set-up in observational projects is not foreseen. A goal of the programme is to support cooperations across disciplines and teams.

All research proposals for the first three-year funding period, to be written in English, should follow the guidelines in DFG form 50.05 (Priority Programmes, Part B) and 54.01 (Project Proposals). Please include a title page with your name, institution, and the title of your project in your application. The deadline for proposal submission is 25 October 2016. A proposal template is available on the website of the Priority Programme.

Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan”, selecting “SPP 1992”. 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. If you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a temporary position for principal investigators) you need to register with the address of the new institution. Please make sure that all applicants of your project start their registration at latest two weeks before the submission deadline as registration requests are taken care of manually by DFG staff. In addition to submitting your proposal to the DFG, please send an electronic version (pdf format) to the coordinator.

A colloquium and a review panel meeting are planned for February 2017.

Further Information

For further information on the Priority Programme and for a proposal template please refer to:

The DFG’s electronic proposal processing system “elan” with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, part B, and rules for publication lists in DFG form 1.91en which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific inquiries concerning the scope of the Priority Programme, please contact the programme’s coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Heike Rauer,
    Technische Universität Berlin,
    Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik,
    Hardenbergstraße 36,
    10623 Berlin,
    phone +49 30 314-23734,
    Link auf E-Mailheike.rauer@dlr.de

For funding enquiries please contact:

For administrative enquiries please contact: