Press Release No. 14 | March 27, 2024

DFG Adopts Europe Strategy for the Period up until 2030

Ten objectives for engagement in Europe / Key elements are expansion of research cooperation, proactive involvement in creation of the new EU framework programme and ensuring appropriate framework conditions

Cross-border cooperation is a cornerstone of research in Europe. As Germany’s national funding organisation and central self-governing organisation for science and the humanities, the DFG is involved at European level, too, and has now presented a strategy paper that sets out the DFG’s European activities in the coming years. The strategy was previously presented and discussed in the DFG’s Senate and Joint Committee.

“Research funding and research policy have long ceased to be confined to a self-contained national space,” said DFG President Professor Dr Katja Becker at the presentation of the strategy to the DFG statutory bodies. “As we see it, the European Research Area is particularly strong if in addition to the EU framework programmes dedicated to research and innovation there are also effective and autonomous national research and funding systems in place, each with their own priorities, funding strategies and opportunities for cooperation.” Becker added that the DFG would continue to expand its cooperation with funding organisations in Europe so that researchers in Germany and partners in other European countries could collaborate as efficiently and as flexibly as possible in the field of cutting-edge research.

The DFG’s Europe Strategy sets down guidelines for European activities according to the DFG’s three operating principles (“promote”, “access”, “shape”) and describes its current engagement, while also deriving from this the challenges involved and a total of ten objectives for the coming years. The period covered by the strategy runs until 2030, during which time the ERA Policy Agenda is to be further developed at EU level – comprising measures to elaborate structures in the European Research Area – and a new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10, 2028-2034) is to be adopted. The DFG’s Europe Strategy describes how the DFG will seek to get involved in these two processes.

Establishing that it will continue to work to ensure that researchers from Germany and other European countries can apply for bilateral and multilateral research projects at any time, across disciplines and on any topic – as a supplement to the EU framework programmes for research and innovation. In addition to further expanding cooperation with funding organisations in Europe (Objective 1), the DFG aims to actively participate in the Weave Initiative: this currently enables researchers from Germany to apply for funding for research projects with partners from six European countries, whereby the review process is carried out by a participating funding organisation according to the Lead Agency Procedure in each case (Objective 2). 

The DFG also plans to advocate the development of common value-based principles for research collaborations with non-European partners, particularly with regard to ensuring an appropriate approach to the handling of risks. In the spirit of “de-risking rather than de-coupling” and in accordance with its recommendations for “Dealing with Risks in International Research Cooperation”, the DFG will seek to promote a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities and risks involved in research collaboration (Objective 3).

In addition, national funding organisations in European countries that currently have a less pronounced research profile are to receive even more effective support from the DFG in the future (Objective 5). Other objectives include improving the design of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Objectives 4, 6-7) and proactive involvement in the development of appropriate framework conditions and standards for knowledge-driven research at EU level. Here the DFG aims to contribute to the implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda (Objective 8) and establish suitable structural conditions to further increase its efficiency in actively shaping research-related framework conditions at EU level (Objective 9). Finally, the DFG will also seek to become more closely involved in EU legislative processes that are relevant to research but are initiated and managed outside the domain of research itself (Objective 10).

The aim of the DFG’s Europe Strategy is to provide internal guidance in terms of contextualising and structuring the DFG’s European involvement while at the same time offering an explanation of the DFG’s activities externally, i.e. to its German partners in the areas of research and policymaking. The motivation behind this is the significantly changed political environment and new priorities of the DFG’s European activities – as reflected in fresh challenges facing funding activities and also in the need for greater engagement at European level to help shape the framework conditions for research of the highest quality.

Further information

For the text of the Europe Strategy (in German), see the DFG website: 

Further information on cooperation in Europe and in the EU (in German only):

DFG recommendations on dealing with risks in international research cooperation (September 2023):

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