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Research Impulses

With its funding instrument “Research Impulses”, the DFG seeks to improve the conditions for coordinated knowledge-oriented research projects at universities of applied sciences (UAS: Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften – HAW – and Fachhochschule – FH). As part of a comprehensive package of measures, the new funding instrument is intended to support UAS with strong research capabilities to develop or advance a clearly defined research profile and expand their competitiveness by concentrating and supplementing existing innovative approaches.

Framework Conditions

Research Impulses will initially be put to the test in a five-year pilot phase, based on a decision made by the DFG Senate and the Joint Committee.

As such, five rounds of calls for proposals are planned, with the first starting in the last quarter of 2022. The calls are not subject to any restrictions in terms of subject matter.

In each round, between five and seven Research Impulses can receive funding.

An initial funding period of five years is planned, with the possibility of a three-year extension.

The funding instrument is deliberately designed to be very open-ended, offering applicant UAS maximum leeway to adapt to individual circumstances and needs. For example, Research Impulses may be subdivided into individual projects, or they may be structured entirely differently.

Eligibility Requirements

UAS with a strong knowledge-oriented research profile are eligible to apply. Proposals cannot be accepted from universities or equivalent institutions of higher education with the right to award doctorates, or from institutions of higher education that are not non-profit.

Each UAS eligible to apply may submit one proposal for the establishment of a Research Impulse per round of calls.

Each proposal is to be supported by a group of researchers, the majority of whom work at the UAS submitting the proposal. One of the persons involved assumes the position of spokesperson, also acting as the primary contact person for the DFG.

Cooperation with other UAS, universities, non-university research institutions and industrial partners is possible as long as the majority of the proposed project is carried out at the UAS submitting the proposal.

Type and Extent of Funding

A maximum of €1 million per Research Impulse and year can be applied for. Depending on individual needs, these funds can be applied for and used to cover the cost of personnel, material resources and investments. In addition, approved Research Impulses receive a programme allowance to cover indirect project expenses. Please note that from 2023 onwards, the programme allowance can only be awarded to institutions that have established guidelines for its use. See here for further information on this new regulation.

As with other DFG funding programmes, the rules for the correct use of approved funds are set down in the form of Funding Guidelines, which are published well in advance.

The DFG guidelines on Safeguarding Good Research Practice must also be observed.

The applicant UAS are expected to provide the necessary Core Support, which includes the scientific and technical infrastructure required to implement the research programme.

In order to ensure the funding instrument has a sustainable impact, each proposal must document the commitment of the respective higher education institution to the Research Impulse, as well as its willingness to continue the newly created subject focus area after DFG funding ends, using its own resources.

In addition, the federal states are called upon to provide financial and personnel support for the newly established structures of the Research Impulse. For this reason, higher education institutions planning to submit a proposal should get in touch with the contact persons responsible at the respective federal state authority at an early stage.

Funding Criteria

The DFG is currently elaborating the funding criteria in detail. They will be geared towards the objectives of the funding instrument, but the following criteria will be essential: contribution to profile-building at the applicant institution, quality and coherence of the research project, qualification of the individuals involved and composition of the group, sustainable promotion of structures and improvement of research conditions on site.


All proposals are evaluated by reviewer groups that are suitably composed in terms of subject matter and content.

The people invited to serve on such groups include academics from both universities and UAS. In addition, at least one representative of a relevant Interner LinkDFG review board is present at all reviews to ensure professional quality assurance.

In order for the Interner LinkJoint Committee and Interner LinkSenate as the responsible bodies to be able to arrive at a funding decision and report on the review to these bodies, a member of the DFG Senate also participates in the review. Representatives of the science ministries of the respective host state may also participate in the reviews as guests.

Where possible, all proposals are assessed individually. If a large number of proposals are received, it may be necessary to combine several thematically suitable proposals under a single review panel – a practice that has proven successful in connection with other DFG funding programmes.

Timetable for the first round of calls

  • The first round of calls is planned for the end of 2022. All relevant information and forms are available on the DFG website, via the Interner LinkDFG newsletter     and on the DFG’s social media channels. We will also be offering an additional digital information event in this connection.
  • In the run-up to a proposal submission, a letter of intent must be submitted promptly after the announcement of the call for proposals.
  • There will be a period of several months between the call for proposals and the latest possible date for submitting the proposal, so the deadline can be expected to be in February or March 2023. Proposals must be submitted via the DFG’s electronic portal (Externer Linkelan    ).
  • The plan is to conduct the reviews in early summer 2023.
  • The DFG Senate is expected to be able to make its first funding decisions in autumn 2023.
  • Funding for the first Research Impulses is scheduled to begin in January 2024.

Further Information

Contact persons