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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 60 | 15. August 2019
Priority Programme “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (SPP 1992)

In March 2016, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Exploring the Diversity of Extrasolar Planets” (SPP 1992). The programme is designed to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the second and last three-year funding period.

One of the most exciting recent discoveries in astronomy is the existence of a huge variety of extrasolar planets orbiting other stars, including numerous multi-planet systems. Exoplanets can be very different to those found in our Solar System, and range from the so-called “Hot Jupiter” and “mini-Neptune” gas planets to large rocky planets (“super”-Earths). The Priority Programme aims to explore such diversity and understand its origins. The programme wants to make substantial contributions to answering the following fundamental questions:

  • What does the diversity of exoplanets tell us about their formation processes and the evolution of planets and planetary systems?
  • What can we learn about the astrophysical conditions necessary to harbour life and are these conditions common in our Milky Way?

To understand the diversity and complexity of exoplanets requires combined efforts across disciplines, linking observational planet detection and characterisation to theory. Science areas addressed in the Priority Programme therefore include:

  • the detection of exoplanets and observational characterisation of their properties (e.g. orbit, mass, radius, atmosphere); and
  • the understanding of exoplanet properties and diversity in terms of atmospheres, planetary interiors, habitability, formation and evolution processes.

The major observational data basis for the Priority Programme will result from national and international ground- and space-based projects with strong German participations, data becoming publicly available during the programme, and from major observatories. The Priority Programme will focus the German exoplanet science community to explore the new data by driving scientific data exploitation, triggering dedicated follow-up observations for further characterisation, and by developing the related theory needed to answer the above mentioned scientific questions.

The Priority Programme wants to support projects which have a direct relationship to observational exoplanetary data which will become available within the time frame of the programme, their analysis and/or their scientific interpretation. This excludes e.g. theoretical work and observations of disks before a planet has formed and general interior and atmosphere modelling without the clear goal of interpreting data on observed exoplanets. Studies of Solar System bodies are also not part of the programme. Additionally, work related to instrumental set-up in observational projects is not foreseen. A goal of the programme is to support cooperations across disciplines and teams.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 13 January 2020 via DFG’s secured portal “elan”. All proposals should follow the guidelines in DFG form 50.05 (Priority Programmes, Part B) and 54.01 (Project Proposals). A proposal template is available on the website of the Priority Programme.

If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional addresses before being able to submit a proposal. If you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a temporary position for principal investigators) you need to register additionally the address of the new institution. These registrations can be done online by yourself – however, it takes one to two working days to be confirmed by DFG staff. Please note that DFG’s Head Office is closed from 21 December 2019 to 5 January 2020.

If you would like to submit a proposal in “elan” for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to “Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes” and select “SPP 1992” from the current list of calls. In case you want to submit a renewal proposal for an existing project in the programme, please start in “elan” at “Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal”.

In addition to submitting your proposal to the DFG, please send an electronic version
(pdf format) to the coordinator.

A colloquium and review panel meeting are planned for 6/7 May 2020. Please check the Priority Programme’s website for possible additional information which may be communicated there.

Further Information

For further information on the Priority Programme and for a proposal template please refer to:

The DFG’s elan system with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 54.01en and 50.05en, part B, and rules for publication lists in DFG form 1.91en which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific inquiries concerning the scope of the Priority Programme, please contact the programme’s coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr. Heike Rauer
    Technische Universität Berlin
    Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik
    Hardenberg-straße 36
    10623 Berlin
    phone +49 30 67055-430
    Link auf E-Mailheike.rauer@dlr.de

For funding enquiries please contact:

For administrative enquiries please contact:


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