Press Release No. 29 | 1 June 2007
Doctoral Research Without Borders
DFG Promotes Internationality in the Research Training Group Programme
The enabling of structured doctoral research within a collaborative scientific network has been the declared objective of the Research Training Group Programme, offered by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), since its inception in 1990. How important the internationalisation of this programme is to the DFG is also shown by the International Research Training Group programme, founded in 1997, in which German groups together with groups from abroad offer structured doctoral programmes. The DFG also expects Research Training Groups not belonging to this category to have an international orientation, and it supports efforts to establish international contacts. At its meeting on 1 June 2007 in Bonn, for example, the committee responsible for Research Training Groups allocated additional funds to seven projects for cooperation with the graduate schools funded by the Academy of Finland.
The committee also resolved to provide funding for the travel required to prepare International Research Training Groups and to bring the foreign allowances for doctoral students in Research Training Groups into line with the higher rates available to postdoctoral researchers, from 1 July 2007.
However, international cooperation is only one of the options that doctoral students will be offered in future from the DFG. New approaches and forms of cooperation, such as collaboration between higher education institutions and business enterprises or universities of applied science, which impart additional experience to doctoral students and improve their carrier prospects, are especially encouraged.
As a result of the introduction of the two-tiered review process for Research Training Groups, only one establishment proposal was received, which was approved by the committee at its June meeting. The German-Japanese project "Structural changes to civil society: A comparison of Japan and Germany" addresses the question of how analogous, but also diverse, structures and behavioural patterns have emerged in the civil society of the two countries. The International Research Training Group will investigate the historical, cultural and political preconditions for these changes. (Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Gesine Foljanty-Jost, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg)
Information, contact names and lists of all funded Research Training Groups can be found on the internet at
For questions regarding the Research Training Group programme, please contact
- Dr. Annette Schmidtmann, Tel. +49 228 885-2424, E-mail: Annette.Schmidtmann@dfg.de