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Press Release No. 22 | 21 June 2021
Announcement and Appointment Notice: Virtual DFG Annual Meeting from 5 to 7 July 2021

Meeting with high-ranking political involvement on the coronavirus pandemic and digitalisation / Joint anniversary ceremony with Stifterverband and video message from the Federal President

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is due to hold its 2021 Annual Meeting from 5 to 7 July. During this time, all central bodies of Germany’s largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation for research in Germany will meet – including the Executive Committee, the Senate, the Joint Committee and the General Assembly. As in 2020, all meetings will be held in virtual form due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the meetings of the Senate on 5 July and the Joint Committee on 6 July, the agenda will include a discussion of research policy focusing on the challenges and changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic as well as digitalisation in science and the humanities. For the first time, the DFG’s funding providers will be represented at the meeting of the Joint Committee by the Federal Minister of Education and Research along with a number of science ministers from the federal states. The two bodies will also be making funding decisions as well as adopting other resolutions relating to the DFG’s funding activities.

At the General Assembly on 7 July, DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker and Secretary General Dr. Heide Ahrens will provide the representatives of the 97 member organisations with a review of the DFG’s funding activities since last year’s General Assembly in July 2020. The DFG’s “2020 Annual Report” will also be presented at the General Assembly, containing not just the main figures and data on funding work but also featuring selected funding projects. Other items on the agenda include the amendment of the DFG’s statutes and elections to the DFG’s Executive Committee and Senate.

This year’s festive event in connection with the Annual Meeting will also be held by the DFG on 7 July together with the Stifterverband. Marking 100 years of the promotion and development of free, independent research in the service of society in Germany, the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of the two predecessor organisations was originally planned for last year but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the virtual ceremony to be broadcast online to several thousand invited guests from academia, business, politics and society, the DFG and the Stifterverband will look back on their joint origins as well as focus on current and future challenges. Live talks and recorded contributions will take attendees on a journey from the very first Greenland expeditions in the 1920s to today’s innovation labs and artificial intelligence. The guest of honour at the ceremony will be Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who will address participants with a video message.

The Communicator Award 2021 – the most important award in the field of science communication in Germany – will also be presented at this festive occasion. For more than 20 years, the DFG and the Stifterverband have awarded this prize to researchers who have rendered outstanding services to dialogue between the academic community and the public. This year’s recipient is mathematician Professor Dr. Jürgen Richter-Gebert of the Technical University of Munich.

Finally, the Annual Meeting and the integrated festive event will also mark the end of the anniversary campaign “DFG2020 – Because Research Matters”, which was launched at the beginning of 2020. Since almost all planned public events under this nationwide campaign had to be cancelled or else held in digital form as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the anniversary expedition #fürdasWissen will now take place as a one-time event in Berlin at the end of June, enabling citizens to put their questions to the academic community. The DFG will be documenting the event on its anniversary website and revisiting selected issues as part of an ongoing dialogue. Under its anniversary motto “Research Matters”, the DFG aims to continue to promote the value of free, independent research and research funding in the interests of an open and well-informed society.

Further Information

Media contact:

Notes on media relations:

The DFG will provide information on funding decisions and other important resolutions adopted by the Senate, Joint Committee and the General Assembly in a series of press releases to be issued on 6 July (at around 4 p.m.) and 7 July (at around 2 p.m.).

The virtual DFG Annual Press Conference 2021 will take place from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. on 8 July. President Katja Becker and Secretary General Heide Ahrens will provide a summary of the Annual Meeting and comment on current issues relating to research funding and the research system. The DFG Annual Report 2020 will also be presented to the public.

Media representatives will receive a separate invitation to this annual press conference.

This and all other press releases relating to the Annual Meeting 2021 are also available as part of a digital press folder at:

Accompanying information on the Annual Meeting is also to be found on the DFG website at www.dfg.de and via Twitter at

The DFG Annual Report 2020 can be requested with an embargo until 8 July 2021 from

For a collection of detailed information and materials on the anniversary campaign “DFG2020 – Research Matters”, see