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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 18 | 12. März 2015
DFG-NSF Cooperation: Possibility for Joint German-American Project Proposals in Gravitational Physics

The pursuit of scientific goals recognises no geographic boundaries and as such, international collaborations are today more the norm than the exception. To facilitate the support of collaborative work between German groups and their US counterparts, DFG’s Physics, Mathematics and Geoscience Division and NSF’s Physics Division (PHY) on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between both organisations have recently signed a lead agency agreement that outlines a joint co-review process in the area of Gravitational Physics.

International collaborations are invited to submit proposals in the areas described in the Gravitational Physics programmes. These proposals will be reviewed in competition with other proposals received in the same submission window by one of the agencies which will serve as the lead agency. It is important to note that there are no separate funds available for these efforts through the Physics Division; proposals must compete with all other proposals within the programme and must succeed on the strengths of their intellectual merit and broader impact. The result of the review process will be shared between the agencies to make final decisions on this basis. Support will be granted for those proposals with both DFG and NSF recommendation for funding.

Proposal preparation and submission:

  1. Prior to submission of a full proposal, applicants must discuss within their research team where they feel the largest proportion of research lies, and agree on a proposed lead agency (either NSF or DFG).
  2. The eligibility to submit a proposal follows the regulations for the NSF and DFG programmes for individual funding respectively. If in doubt, researchers are strongly encouraged to contact the corresponding programme officers.
  3. Proposals must be submitted in accordance with the proposal preparation requirements of the chosen lead agency via Fastlane (NSF) or elan (DFG). For NSF, the Solicitation NSF 14-576 and for DFG, the Guidelines Research Grants Programme 50.01 should be consulted. In parallel to submitting the proposal to the lead agency the partner has to submit the proposal to his/her funding agency (NSF or DFG) to provide the non-lead agency with the necessary information and forms into the corresponding system. In a short accompanying letter the applicants should inform NSF and DFG about the chosen lead agency.
  4. The proposal must include a description of the full proposed research programme and research team and describe the total resources for the joint project (that is, the funds requested for both the US and German groups). However, the budget forms submitted to each agency should only indicate the amount requested from that agency.
  5. The proposal should preface the title with “DFG-NSF”.

Please note that  for the part to be financed by DFG only those projects are eligible that fall within DFG’s funding responsibility and that fit into the funding scheme „Sachbeihilfe / Research Grants“. This especially excludes the aspects of construction, commissioning and operation of LIGO.

Applicants to be funded by the DFG are requested to fulfil the eligibility requirements of DFG Research Grants, see the corresponding guidelines of the Research Grants Programme, DFG form 50.01. This includes the duty to cooperate (“Kooperationspflicht”) within Germany for members of non-university institutions with permanent positions.

In accordance with the full proposal target date of the NSF proposals should be submitted not later than 28 October 2015.

Further information

More information on the Gravitational Physics programmes:

Guidelines DFG Research Grants Programme (DFG form 50.01):

DFG’s Electronic Proposal Processing System for Applicants – elan:

Contact persons at the DFG:

Contact person at the NSF: