Press Release No. 5 | 1 February 2010
Multilateral Research Funding: Joint Initiative for Researchers from G8 Countries
Funding Organisations from the Major Industrialised Nations Issue Pilot Call
Beginning immediately, researchers from the G8 nations can jointly initiate research projects and obtain the necessary funding within the scope of a new funding initiative. Under the leadership of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the G8 Heads of Research Councils (G8 HORCs) have started the first multilateral call for proposals. This call addresses exascale computing, the fastest supercomputers of the next generation. Researchers from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA are eligible to apply. The G8 HORCs initiative is unique: unlike previous multilateral collaborations, researchers no longer have to apply for funding in each participating country or from a number of different organisations. Rather, funding can be applied for jointly from a single organisation. And, instead of being evaluated separately by each country involved, funding proposals are only reviewed in a single, two-stage process. The participating organisations also coordinate the payment of funds. This is intended to facilitate multilateral research projects that would otherwise be seriously en-cumbered or rendered impossible by administrative hurdles or differing funding mechanisms.
"We are entering uncharted territory with our initiative for multilateral research funding," com-mented DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner in Bonn at the launch of the call. Science has long understood that certain topics can best be tackled by a multinational approach. Funding such projects generally becomes more feasible if a limited number of countries are involved that have similar funding programmes. In the emerging European Research Area, positive experiences have been made with the "Lead Agency Process", which the DFG practices with its partner organisations in Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg. Outside of Europe, cooperations between German, Chinese and Russian research teams, for example, have been successful. "But if the number of participating countries increases and the formal and administrative differences between the participating funding organisations are too great, such cooperations often meet their limits. In this regard, the G8 initiative endeavours to provide the highest possible quality standards with the least amount of bureaucracy," emphasised the DFG President, who suggested the new process last year to his colleagues.
The first call for proposals is in the area of exascale computing and focuses on the computing power that is to be expected within the coming decade in what will then be the world's fastest supercomputers. Such computers will be able to perform up to a thousand times more arithmetic operations than the current fastest computers in the same amount of time. Both the provision of this computing power and its efficient use are enormous scientific challenges that cannot be ad-dressed sufficiently by means of the current approaches. Funding will therefore be awarded to multilateral research projects that address the research and use of exascale-suitable application software, thereby allowing the available computing power to be used for scientific and social is-sues.
Researchers from the participating G8 countries who are interested in applying first submit a pre-liminary proposal of their projects to the DFG by the start of May of this year. From these propos-als, an international review panel will select the most promising projects, which will then be invited to submit their full proposals. These will be evaluated subsequently under the leadership of the country in which the scientific coordination of the respective project lies. The other funding organisations, with which the process is individually coordinated, recognise the results of the re-spective review. By February 2011, a total of eight to ten multilateral consortia are to be funded for two to three years, with each of the participating organisations contributing approximately 500,000 euros per year.
This is the first of three calls for proposals with a specified topic that will be issued annually until 2012. The calls will serve as a test bed for future joint actions of the funding organisations. Ideally, the G8 HORCs will be able to jointly fund projects without specified thematic calls in the medium term. "The best ideas always come from science itself," emphasised DFG President Kleiner. "Therefore, our multilateral initiatives should likewise be open for all topics."
Further information on the initiative and the call for proposals can be found at:
Contact for the initiative and the G8 HORCs:
Contact for the Lead Agency Process:
Contacts for administrative queries: