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From the DFG

Coronavirus pandemic: statements and reports from the DFG and its Head Office

"Along with the protection of all those involved, it was and remains our goal to continue the funding activities of the DFG, and thus the funding of your research projects, as seamlessly as possible," said DFG President Katja Becker in a statement on 8 April.

Here you will find all statements issued by the President as well as other statements, news and reports from the DFG and its Head Office.

DFG Establishes Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research

Against the background of the current coronavirus pandemic, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is to establish an interdisciplinary commission for pandemic research. The commission, made up of 18 members representing all scientific disciplines and headed by President Katja Becker, is to strengthen the knowledge-driven research which is essential to pandemic and epidemic research and identify research needs. Its first meeting is scheduled for 15 June.

DFG Supports MOSAiC Expedition in Arctic Ocean During Coronavirus Pandemic

© AWI/Manuel Ernst/UFA

The DFG together with the BMBF is stepping in to support the MOSAiC expedition in the Arctic Ocean by sending the research vessels Sonne and Maria S. Merian to Spitzbergen. There they will rendezvous with the research icebreaker Polarstern and perform a complete changeover of approximately 100 personnel as well as exchanging cargo and supplies.

Changes to DFG Annual Meeting in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has significant implications for the annual meeting of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). To protect all participants, and given the ongoing restrictions on public life, the meeting scheduled for 29 June - 1 July in Berlin cannot be held in the originally planned form but will be adapted to current circumstances. The meetings of the statutory bodies of the DFG – Germany's largest research funding organisation and the central self-governing organisation of the country's research community – will therefore take place virtually rather than face-to-face.

Extensive Financial Support for Research Projects in Response to Coronavirus Restrictions

With immediate effect, the DFG is offering additional funding to support DFG-funded projects affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions on public life. The Joint Committee has approved a package of measures. These measures allow additional staff and project funding to be requested across a wide range of funding programmes, allowing research work that cannot be carried out as originally planned to be continued and completed. The support package amounts to at least €175 million.

Video Statement by DFG President Katja Becker: Support During the Current Crisis (in German)

Science Organisations Welcome Amendment of Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act due to Coronavirus Pandemic

The German Bundestag has amended the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act (WissZeitVG) in order to protect researchers with temporary contracts from potential disadvantages caused by protective measures taken within the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Research institutions and universities are now able to extend employment contracts beyond the current maximum limit. The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany expressly welcomes this amendment.

DFG Underlines Importance of Scientific Quality Standards in Publications

Amid the global spread of SARS-CoV-2, a growing number of publications are being made available on preprint servers without having undergone peer review. In a statement for the Science Media Center, the DFG has commented on the opportunities and risks associated with this method of publishing scientific findings.

Special recognition for Christian Drosten

Professor Dr. Christian Drosten

Professor Dr. Christian Drosten

© Peitz / Charité

Virologist Professor Dr. Christian Drosten is being recognised with a special award from the DFG and the Stifterverband for outstanding science communication amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interner Link- Further Information

DFG President Katja Becker: Utmost Support for the Continuation of Research Activities during the Corona Crisis

Professor Dr. Katja Becker

Professor Dr. Katja Becker

© DFG

In a statement addressed to DFG-funded researchers on 8 April 2020, the DFG President underlined the following:

- The DFG is doing everything in its power to support research work.

- The DFG is focusing on the health and work-related concerns of researchers and at the same time continuing its funding activities to the same high standard of quality.

- She thanks everyone who is contributing to effective research and funding under difficult circumstances.

- The DFG will do its utmost to offer the maximum support for research projects during and after the anticipated transitional situations.

DFG Stresses Importance of Long-Term Basic Research and International Cooperation

In a press release on 16 March, DFG President Dr. Katja Becker made the following comments in response to developments: "Like all infectious diseases, the current coronavirus pandemic can be tackled all the more effectively the better we understand the pathogen and its effects on humans. This requires comprehensive long-term research, with the aim of understanding the genetic, biological, environmental, medical and socio-economic factors associated with an outbreak of this kind." She added that everything we currently know about the coronavirus, including diagnostic methods and possible treatment approaches, ultimately derives from the results of basic research.

Staff recalled from international offices

Owing to the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the DFG has recalled staff in the International Affairs (I-IZ) division working at its international offices to Germany for the time being.

GEPRIS information system is a popular resource

The DFG project information system GEPRIS has proved a popular resource during the coronavirus pandemic. In March, a high number of users searched for coronavirus-related research using the DFG tool.

DFG Head Office staff working from home

As a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus, most members of staff at the DFG Head Office in Bonn, the Berlin office and international DFG offices have been working from home since 17 April and will continue to do so until further notice. The best way to contact them is by e-mail. All members are working hard to keep funding activities functioning as normally as possible. However, should there be any delays, we ask for your patience.

Statements from the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

The German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina has convened an ad-hoc working group in response to the coronavirus pandemic.