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Research Units

A Research Unit is made up of a team of researchers working together on a research project which, in terms of thematic focus, duration and finances, extends beyond the funding options available under the Individual Grants Programme or Priority Programme. Research Units provide the staff and material resources required for carrying out intensive, medium-term cooperative projects (generally eight years). Research Units often contribute to establishing new research directions. Funding opportunities for Research Units are subject to the same principles as research grants.

A research unit consists of various programme modules, weighted and combined in accordance with the respective subject-matter requirements. The funding programme therefore allows the research network to be designed in a relatively flexible way, depending on the respective research question, the research areas involved and the desired structure-creating aspect. Within this framework, research units can provide development opportunities for independent junior research groups, strengthen collaboration with partners outside universities, enable temporary exemption for researchers and intensify international cooperation. Research units can be integrated into overarching research policy initiatives in their various designs. Examples of this are “clinical research units” or “humanities centres for advanced studies”.

Information about the Programme


To fund research groups in which those involved collaborate closely on specific medium-term research projects whose anticipated findings would not be able to be achieved within the scope of the individual grants programme

Eligibility Requirements

Outstanding researchers

Proposal Requirements

Scientific quality and originality of a research project at an international level

Type and Extent of Funding


Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Groups and Heisenberg grant holders may be associated in Research Units.

Funding Duration

As a rule, up to six years

Forms and Guidelines

Proposal Deadlines

New proposals: no submission deadline, draft proposals may be submitted at any time. The submission of a revised draft application is possible once.

Decisions on first-time funding for Research Units are made by the DFG's Senate four times per year.

Renewal proposals: six months before the approved funds are exhausted.