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Press Release No. 5 | 4 March 2020
DFG Responds to Spread of Coronavirus

Protection of all involved within and outside the research community is top priority / Funding activities to be continued as smoothly as possible / Leibniz Prizes awards ceremony on 16 March in Berlin postponed

In response to the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is implementing precautionary measures in connection with its review sessions and other meetings and cancelling its attendance at larger scientific gatherings as well as its own public events. Through these measures, Germany's largest research funding organisation is contributing to efforts to slow down and contain the further spread of the virus. In particular, it aims to minimise the general risk of infection for everyone involved in funding-related processes within and outside the research community. However, the DFG also aims to ensure that funding activities continue as smoothly as possible.

For the time being, no review meetings will take place with the participation of individuals from the countries that are currently worst affected: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy. Official trips by DFG employees to these countries have also been cancelled. Meetings scheduled to be held in Germany as part of review processes or committee activities will be significantly reduced or postponed. More use will be made of teleconferences and video conferences. In all these measures, the DFG is giving top priority to the protection of its reviewers, applicants and employees. The DFG will continue to monitor the situation closely and implement any necessary changes promptly.

The spread of the coronavirus also has implications for the organisation's public events. The awards ceremony for this year's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes, which was to be held on 16 March in Berlin with several hundred guests from academia, politics and society, will be postponed; a new date will be announced in due course, with adequate notice.

In the current situation, the DFG is in close contact with numerous institutions and organisations in Germany and abroad. In a joint statement with its Chinese partner organisation the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the DFG underlined the need for worldwide scientific cooperation in the fight to prevent the further spread of the infection. It also noted that research is an integral component of the response to the virus. For this reason, the DFG and NSFC are calling for additional long-term support for international collaborative research in epidemiology, virology and emergency management.

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