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FAQ: Information from the Life Sciences

In which language should proposals be submitted?

Proposals may be submitted in English or German. Applications in English enable a larger group of reviewers to be accessed, making it easier to avoid bias. For this reason, it is highly desirable to submit proposals in English. For the English outline, see:

What is important for me to observe if my project proposals includes animal experiments?

In submitting a proposal to the DFG, all applicants undertake to comply with the provisions of the German Animal Welfare Act and the German Laboratory Animal Ordinance. The animal experiments must be described in the work programme, including an explanation of how the 3Rs principle (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) is to be implemented. For the evaluation and presentation of experiments with laboratory animals, the DFG expects established international standards to be taken into account such as the ARRIVE guidelines. If you require funding for the acquisition, breeding and keeping of experimental animals, the costs must be itemised and explained.

What amount can be requested for doctoral researcher positions?

In the life sciences, doctoral researcher positions are usually funded at 65%. Higher amounts must be specifically justified and are only approved in exceptional cases. If doctoral researchers from other disciplines are to be recruited (e.g. physicists or computer scientists), other guidelines may apply:

When do I have to submit a statement by an ethics committee?

As a rule, a statement by an ethics committee must always be submitted if studies are to be carried out on humans, on material taken from humans or using identifiable personal data. Please make sure that the ethics committee statement is current (no more than two years old) and is issued in your name, as well as containing the title of your proposal. A statement by the chairperson of the locally competent ethics committee issued using the so-called simplified procedure is also sufficient. For a renewal proposal you will require a new statement to be issued. If applicants from different research institutions are involved in a project proposal, or cooperation partners whose contribution to the project requires a statement by an ethics committee, it is sufficient for the project as a whole to be evaluated by the locally competent ethics committee responsible for the institution at which the project manager is employed.

If requested in the research proposal, the costs for ethics committee statements may be covered by the DFG if the project is approved. By way of an exception, expenses are eligible even if the legal grounds for payment arose before the date of the grant.

Who are the people to contact?

If you have any questions about funding opportunities offered by the DFG or about subject-specific issues, the relevant contacts at the Head Office will be glad to help you.