Press Release No. 25 | July 1, 2020

Virtual Annual Meeting 2020: DFG Underlines Importance of Research at Universities

Meetings of statutory bodies held by video conference / Support and impetus during the coronavirus pandemic / 2019 Annual Report: over 31,000 projects funded with €3.3 billion

Meetings of statutory bodies held by video conference / Support and impetus during the coronavirus pandemic / 2019 Annual Report: over 31,000 projects funded with €3.3 billion

At its 2020 Annual Meeting, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has emphatically underlined the importance of research at German universities. This importance is especially apparent in a variety of ways against the background of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, said DFG President Dr. Katja Becker on Wednesday 1 July, at the closing General Assembly of Germany's largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation for the research community. Like all sessions at the Annual Meeting, the General Assembly was held by video conference.

"During these times, German universities are continuing not only to carry out the best research, but also to organise academic training, build our knowledge resources for the purposes of application-oriented research, and themselves contribute to this research," said Becker. "In this way, our universities are creating the framework for a research system that enables excellence across the board, in which cooperation takes priority over competition and synergies are possible, and thus makes a valuable contribution to societal challenges. This deserves recognition from all of us."

During the General Assembly, as she had already done during the virtual meetings of the Executive Committee, Senate and Joint Committee that preceded it, the DFG President also reflected on measures the funding organisation has taken so far in response to the coronavirus pandemic. By extending award periods and calls for proposals, as well as fellowships and employment contracts, and not least through extensive additional support amounting to €175 million, the DFG has sought to minimise the delays and financial impacts for funded projects resulting from the pandemic and the associated restrictions on public life, and to provide funded researchers, particularly early career researchers, with the best possible support and prospects, the President said.

Through a current multidisciplinary call for epidemic and pandemic research and the recently established interdisciplinary commission for pandemic research, the DFG has also created important impetus for research, especially essential basic research, in these areas, she added.

The DFG's Annual Report for 2019 was also presented at the General Assembly. As well as reporting on the most significant topics and developments of the past year in relation to funding and research policy, it presents selected funded projects and key facts and figures on funding activities.

In 2019, the DFG funded approximately 31,150 research projects in all scientific disciplines with a total volume of almost €3.3 billion. Of these, 7,330 projects were newly approved.

Once again, in 2019 more than half of all funded projects – amounting to 17,128 or 55% of all projects – were in receipt of individual grants; approximately €1.2 billion was awarded in funding for this type of project. In Research Training Groups, Collaborative Research Centres and other coordinated programmes, funding was awarded to 850 groups with approximately 11,806 projects and a total approved sum of approximately €1.43 billion.

In terms of the major research categories, life sciences received the most funding with approximately €1.2 billion (35.5% of the total sum awarded), followed by natural sciences with approximately €735 million (22.4%), engineering sciences with approximately €639 million (19.5%) and humanities and social sciences with approximately €493 million (15.0%); interdisciplinary projects received approximately €252 million (7.7%) in funding.

Further Information

Media contact:

  • Marco Finetti,
    Head of DFG Press and Public Relations,
    Tel. +49 228 885-2230,

Regularly updated, detailed information on the DFG's current and planned measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found at:

The DFG Annual Report 2019 is available at

and a free printed copy can be requested by sending an e-mail to .

This and other press releases on the DFG's virtual Annual Meeting 2020 can be found at: