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Information for Researchers No. 1 | 7 January 2019
Joint Sino-German Research Projects 2019 in Chemistry, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences and Management Sciences

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are continuing their long-standing collaboration in the field of joint Sino-German research projects.

This initiative aims to bring together relevant and competitive researchers from Germany and China to design and carry out jointly organised research projects of outstanding scientific quality. Funding within this initiative will be available for collaborative research projects consisting of researchers from both partner countries. Within these research teams, each national funding organisation will generally only fund 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.

It is important to note that there are no separate funds available for these efforts; proposals must succeed on the strengths of their intellectual merit and teams in competition with all other proposals in the funding programme “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants”.

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 fund research projects of outstanding quality in the participating countries
  • to stimulate the mobility of researchers between the participating countries
  • to promote the training of researchers
  • to accelerate the exchange of new scientific knowledge among researchers and between researchers and other interested groups

The present initiative is open to joint research projects in the fields of chemistry, life sciences, medical sciences and management sciences. A further call for proposals, dedicated to the fields of engineering sciences, geosciences, information sciences, mathematics and physics, will be launched at the end of 2019 with a deadline in March 2020.

This call for proposals is open to researchers based at universities, academic institutions and research centres in Germany and China. Funding is available for bilateral collaborative research projects comprising researchers from the two participating countries. Within a research project, contributions from Germany and China should be roughly balanced with regard to scientific contents. Applicants are required to fulfil any national requirements for funding and follow the general regulations of their respective funding organisation (see below). Proposals that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

The assessment of all proposals will be based on a peer review process at both the DFG and the NSFC. The results of this review process will be shared between the agencies. Collaborative projects suitable for funding will be jointly selected based on this assessment.

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

  • 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

For funding programmes that support the initiation phase of a collaboration between Germany and China, please refer to the funding programmes of the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion. Funding within one of these programmes is certainly of advantage when preparing a joint proposal, but not a compulsory prerequisite to applying for a joint research project.

All requested cost items must be in accordance with the respective national administrative regulations. At the DFG, only costs for the German share of projects are eligible. At the NSFC, only costs of the Chinese share of the projects are eligible according to the regulations of NSFC.

In the case of mutual visits of scientists between Germany and China, 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.

Applicants for a bilateral collaborative project within this call must submit their joint proposal to their national funding organisation. Chinese principal investigators (PI) submit their documents to the NSFC, German PI to the DFG, following the formal requirements of their respective funding organisations. All documents must be written in English. Please note that the documents submitted to the DFG and the NSFC must not differ with regard to the scientific content of the proposal or with regard to the applicants involved.

Additional requirements for German and Chinese applicants are specified below. Proposals arriving late and/or those not fulfilling the national requirements will not be considered. No legal entitlement can be derived from the submission of a project description.

All proposals must be submitted by 27 March 2019.

Specific instructions for German PI:

Applicants to be funded by the DFG are required to fulfil the eligibility requirements of DFG Research Grants; see the corresponding guidelines for the Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01), for more information.

As part of the proposal, applicants from Germany may submit one or more of the modules outlined in the DFG guidelines for the Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01).

Proposals within this call must be prepared according to the Proposal Preparation Instructions (DFG form 54.01). Please note that for joint proposals, the list of up to ten project-related publications may include papers authored by the German applicant(s) and papers authored by the Chinese applicant(s). All proposals must be submitted through the electronic proposal processing system (elan). After logging in, please use the link “Proposal for a Research Grant” in the Proposal Forms column (Proposal Submission > New Project > Individual Grants Programme > Proposal for a Research Grant). Please select “China-NSFC-DFG 2019” to tag your proposal for this specific call.

If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before you are 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 for your project (if there is more than one) start their registration no later than 13 March 2019. The registration requests are handled manually by the DFG staff.

Please note additionally:

While the electronic budget figures via elan only have to be provided for the German applicant(s), the proposal itself should contain not only the German budget part but a budget overview for the Chinese part as well, to provide appropriate information to the reviewers.

In the proposal submitted by the German applicant(s) to the DFG, an academic curriculum vitae for all Chinese PI should be submitted to complete the reviewers’ information. In the DFG proposal and the electronic submission procedure in elan, all Chinese partners who apply for funding at the NSFC need to be recorded under the category “Other Participating Individuals” > “Cooperation Partners”. Employees whose positions are requested for funding should not be assigned to this category.

Specific instructions for Chinese PI:

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

All Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the subsequent administrative steps according to the respective national regulations. The selection of the projects will be completed by the end of 2019.

Further Information

For researchers in Germany:

To submit a proposal to the DFG, please follow the “Guidelines for the Research Grants Programme” (form 50.01) and the “Proposal Preparation Instructions – Project Proposals” (form 54.01) at:

General information for German PI on Research Grants:

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

Further general information on elan:

elan flyer and elan FAQ:

Contact persons in Germany:

Contact persons in China:

Further information for researchers in China:

Questions concerning the initiation of collaborations between Germany and China may be addressed to:


This text is available at Externer Linkwww.dfg.de/foerderung/info_wissenschaft/2019/info_wissenschaft_19_01.
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