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Information for Researchers No. 82 | 3 December 2019
RFBR-DFG Cooperation: Possibility for Joint German-Russian Research Projects

Funding Period 2021–2023

The DFG has been informed by RFBR that there will be no joint call for proposals in 2021.

On the basis of their long-standing cooperation and the respective Memorandum of Understanding the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) have opened the possibility for funding of joint German-Russian projects in all areas of basic research for the period of 2021–2023.

These joint proposals have to be based on a close interaction between the German and Russian research teams and should present joint project goals and a joint work plan with balanced contributions from all project partners. Proposals without strong interaction between the partners should be submitted as separate proposals in the standard funding schemes of DFG and RFBR.

At the DFG the proposals in this call are submitted in the funding scheme “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants” and will be reviewed in competition with all other proposals in this scheme. 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 in competition with all other proposals in this funding scheme. All proposals will be reviewed by both organisations separately. The results of the review process will be shared between the agencies. Support will be granted for those proposals where both DFG and RFBR recommend funding.

The eligibility to submit a proposal follows the regulations for the programmes for the funding scheme “Sachbeihilfe/Research Grants” at DFG website (DFG form 50.01). This includes the duty to cooperate (“Kooperationspflicht”) within Germany for members of non-university institutions with permanent positions.

Proposals shall be written in English and must be submitted to both organisations in parallel in accordance with the proposal preparation requirements of each side, respectively. For German groups this means submission via the DFG elan system according to the guidelines for the Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01).

All German applicants are requested to use the “Joint Project Description Template” instead of form 53/01-03/18 as for the reviewers the information about the added value of international cooperation is an important point. For the Russian applicants, the competition documentation for an open public competition to receive grants from the RFBR should be consulted.

For submission via the DFG elan system German partners should select under “Call for Proposals” the “RFBR-DFG-Call 2020”. In the elan system please go via Proposal Submission – New Project – Individual Grants Programme. In the field “Proposal for a Research Grant” click the button “Start online form” – “Continue”. There you will find the call.

The proposal must include a description of the full proposed research programme and research team and must describe the total resources for the joint project (that is, the funds requested for both the Russian and German groups). In the electronic elan system it is only requested to fill in the German budget, because only applicants in Germany can receive funding from DFG. For the project description please use the “Joint Project Description Template”. This document will be the basis for the review process at DFG as well as at RFBR to ensure that both sides will judge the project on common grounds.

Additional documents as CV of the principal investigators (PI) from both sides must be uploaded following the rules of each organisation respectively. Please note that the reviewers on both sides will need the full information on the PI from Germany as well as from Russia.

For German partners – please note that if you are using the elan system for the first time, you need to register prior submitting your application with your complete personal and address details by 25 February 2020 at the latest.

In accordance with the full proposal target date of RFBR (2 March 2020) proposals to the DFG should be submitted not later than 2 March 2020. The next call for the funding period of 2022–2024 is foreseen for late 2020.

Will my personal data be transferred to third countries?

An applicant’s personal data contained in a proposal submitted by the applicant’s institution/organisation [and any data collected on the applicant in relation to DFG funding] will be transferred, if necessary, to the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. Note that their base or place of data processing is not located in a member state of the European Union or in another state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area. This information is transferred as part of the decision-making process on the proposal. Before transferring this data the DFG ensures that the Russian Foundation for Basic Research has an adequate level of data protection in place through sufficient guarantees. For this purpose, the DFG concludes standard data protection clauses as adopted by the European Commission (Art. 46 (2) (c) GDPR) with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. A copy of the agreed “Standard contractual clauses for the transfer of personal data from the Community to third countries (transfer between parties responsible for data processing)” can be sent on request.

In the absence of such standard data protection clauses this transfer is permissible as an exception because it is necessary

  • for the performance of the funding contract between the applicant and the DFG and for the implementation of pre-contractual measures relating to the proposal (Art. 49 (1) (b) GDPR),
  • for the performance of the (employment) contract between an applicant and an applicant’s employer or the applicant institution/organisation (Art. 49 (1) (b), (c) GDPR) or
  • for the conclusion and/or performance of the funding contract concluded in the interest of the applicant between a third party and/or the applicant’s institution/organisation and the DFG (Art. 49 (1) (c) GDPR

Further Information

Joint Project Description Template:

Guidelines for the DFG Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01):

DFG’s Electronic Proposal Processing System for Applicants – elan:

Contact persons at the DFG:

DFG Moscow office:

Subject-related inquiries:


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