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Press Release No. 17 | 20 May 2020
Changes to DFG Annual Meeting in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

Meetings of statutory bodies to be held virtually / Joint anniversary event with Stifterverband and Federal President and Communicator Award ceremony both postponed

The coronavirus pandemic has significant implications for the annual meeting of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). To protect all participants, and given the ongoing restrictions on public life, the meeting scheduled for 29 June - 1 July in Berlin cannot be held in the originally planned form but will be adapted to current circumstances.

The meetings of the statutory bodies of the DFG – Germany's largest research funding organisation and the central self-governing organisation of the country's research community – will therefore take place virtually rather than face-to-face. This applies to the meetings of the Senate and the Joint Committee on 29 and 30 June respectively and to the General Assembly on 1 July. The key outcomes of the meetings will be announced as soon as possible.

The two major events due to have been held during the annual meeting will be postponed: firstly the presentation of this year's Communicator Award by the DFG and Stifterverband to fisheries scientist Professor Dr. Robert Arlinghaus and the one-time special award for outstanding science communication in the Covid-19 Pandemic to Berlin-based virologist Professor Dr. Christian Drosten on 30 June, and secondly the joint event organised by the DFG and Stifterverband to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of their predecessor organisations on 1 July, with Germany’s Federal President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier as guest of honour.

Both events are to take place at a later date and possibly in a different format. The DFG and Stifterverband have already decided to postpone the joint event to next year.

This was to have been one of the highlights of the DFG's anniversary activities with the motto DFG2020 – Because Research Matters, which have been considerably impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to contain it. The nationwide expedition #researchmatters, as well as other events planned as part of the anniversary campaign, have had to be called off. The DFG is currently working on alternative formats.

"It's very disappointing that we can't meet in the usual way with a large gathering of people from academia, politics and society – especially in our anniversary year, but also, from a personal perspective, in my first year as President," said DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker. "But it's immensely important that the annual meeting will be taking place in this adapted form. Given the serious impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the political measures taken to contain it, which are affecting all aspects of public life and also research and research funding, it's essential to ensure that scientific self-governance can continue to function. This will enable us to continue minimising the impact on research and, where possible, enable researchers to offer scientific guidance on managing the current crisis."

Further Information

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This and other regularly updated information on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the work of the DFG can be found at: