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Details provided in connection with special personal circumstances or hardship applications

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Information relating to special personal circumstances or hardship applications often contain sensitive data that is particularly subject to protection under data protection law. Please only provide the DFG Head Office with information and data that you feel is relevant to the DFG Head Office and to the processing of your proposal.

1. Submitting an application: Do I need disadvantage compensation due to unavoidable delays in my academic career?

When the DFG decides on proposals for funding research projects, the key evaluation criteria are the quality of the project and the anticipated results, as well as the prospects of success. The applicant’s previous academic achievements are also included in this overall assessment. In order to adequately assess an individual’s academic performance, their individual circumstances have to be taken into account as well. In this connection, ensuring equal academic opportunities means making allowance for unavoidable delays in an applicant’s career.

The following circumstances in particular can lead to unavoidable delays in an academic career:

  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Childcare
  • Providing care for relatives
  • Disability, chronic or long-term illness (general rule: absence from academic activity of more than three months in a year)
  • Voluntary service, military or civilian service
  • Delays due to the pandemic
  • Switching between different academic systems, language acquisition
  • Displacement, asylum

If these or similar circumstances result in lengthier qualification periods, publication gaps or reduced stays abroad, appropriate compensation for disadvantages can be requested when submitting a proposal. There is no obligation to disclose all circumstances listed above when submitting a proposal to the DFG since this information is essentially private. Nonetheless, voluntary disclosure may be useful in order to explain gaps in an academic career that might otherwise appear unjustified. The request for such compensation can ensure that, despite unavoidable gaps in a curriculum vitae, only previous academic performance is evaluated in comparison with other applicants.

Please note the following information on the content and scope of the information relating to special personal circumstances:

The dates of birth of children as well as periods spent providing childcare only (such as temporarily giving up work or working part-time due to family care obligations) can be listed voluntarily in a CV by persons of all genders. This voluntary information is to be taken into account by all those involved in the decision-making process exclusively to the benefit of applicants when assessing their previous academic performance.

Applicants who wish to voluntarily refer to other unavoidable delays in their academic career in connection with the review and evaluation process must explicitly point out the respective circumstances and explain the resulting delay in their academic activities. Please bear in mind when selecting which information to provide on special personal circumstances that the period during which you were completely or temporarily unable to pursue academic work is primarily relevant in terms of DFG funding. The only relevant criterion here is whether there was an unavoidable reason for the period of academic inactivity. Please do not provide too much detail in connection with your voluntarily disclosed personal circumstances other than the actual period of academic inactivity. As a rule, it is sufficient to make a general reference to the reason by simply stating “childcare”, “care of relatives” or “change of academic system and language acquisition”. In particular, the DFG does not normally require details of specific medical diagnoses. In such cases, it is sufficient to state that there was an absence “due to illness”. In order for the period of absence to be taken into account appropriately, please be as specific as possible about its duration. It is also possible to indicate a proportionate reduction in academic activity: e.g. “100% restriction on academic activity from 15 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 (3.5 months) and 50% restriction from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021” (equivalent to a six-month absence in a full-time position).

The DFG will be introducing a new template for the submission of CVs in connection with DFG funding proposals on 1 September 2022. During a transitional phase up until the end of February 2023, you can decide for yourself whether you would like to submit your funding proposal using the new standardised DFG form or whether you would like to submit your own individual CV. As of 1 March 2023, the use of the new CV template will be mandatory (except for Research Training Groups, Collaborative Research Centres and in some cases in international procedures). You will find the new CV template at:

If during the transition period up until the end of February 2023 you do not use DFG form 53.200 (CV template) but opt to submit an individual CV instead and wish to voluntarily claim special personal circumstances, please always attach the following DFG data protection form (consent, DFG form 73.01). Without this form, the additional information voluntarily provided with your proposal cannot be processed. (If you use DFG form 53.200 for your CV, DFG form 73.01 is not required).

If, in particular, such unavoidable delays result in formal programme criteria not being met (such as exceeding a certain period of time after obtaining a doctorate in connection with the Emmy Noether Programme), please refer to the relevant programme information and the interner Link “Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ” provided on this subject. If necessary, please get in touch with the respective contact person for the programme in question as early as possible regarding possible beneficial regulations. Always take care to enclose the following DFG form on data protection (consent, DFG form 73.01) when you submit a written request to the DFG

2. What happens if I need specific support measures to compensate for disadvantages at the start of the project/at the time of proposal submission or during an ongoing project – for example, when special personal circumstances arise?

For the reasons mentioned under 1 above, special needs may also arise in terms of resources or arrangements in connection with proposals that have already been submitted or approved. These might include the following:

  • Change in project duration
  • Change in the scope of work of the project manager or DFG-funded personnel involved in the project (such as a switch to part-time work or complete absence of more than three months per year due to family commitments or due to a long-term illness)
  • Reallocation of funds (please refer to the regulations set out in the Funding Guidelines relevant to your approval)
  • Transfer of project management to another person (possibly with the intention of re-transfer at a later date)
  • Interruption of work on the project (e.g. due to a long-term illness of more than three months per year or due to family commitments).

In such cases, please seek individual advice from the DFG Head Office as to which of the aforementioned measures would be most appropriate to your personal situation and your specific academic project. Some of these measures can also be combined if necessary. If you would like to submit such a request for consideration of special personal circumstances in connection with the design of the project, please always use DFG form 73.01 for this purpose. Without this form, the additional information voluntarily provided with your proposal cannot be processed.

3. How will your information on special personal circumstances be handled in the review and academic evaluation of a proposal?

For information on this subject, see:

Further Information