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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 61 | 19. September 2019
Priority Programme “Taxon-Omics: New Approaches for Discovering and Naming Biodiversity” (SPP 1991)

In July 2017, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Taxon-Omics: New Approaches for Discovering and Naming Biodiversity” (SPP 1991). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

Taxonomy is the science most directly relevant for documenting and understanding changes in biodiversity, whether from species loss or from species introduction. Over the past ten years, this field has undergone a major shift because of its move towards DNA-based data, which can readily be shared. Research in this Priority Programme encompasses modern taxonomic approaches to discover, name, and quantify organismal diversity as the basis for documenting, assessing, and mitigating changes in biodiversity. Research will focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • discovery and delimitation of species or other evolving units of interest, using modern approaches,
  • accelerating the naming process and generating updatable identification tools, descriptions, classifications, or monographs, and
  • efficient or novel use of natural history collections through automated image analysis, genetic or genomic data from historic specimens or living collections, or new ways of comparing and quantifying traits.

Projects addressing phylogenies, hybrid species, or eco-morphological traits relevant to taxonomy will fit into this Priority Programme as long as they use or develop novel empirical or analytical methods, as will research concerned with clarifying the meaning of the tens of thousands of existing, but poorly typified, names through modern methods.

The Priority Programme will bring together teams working on the systematics/taxonomy of animals, fungi, plants, or eukaryotic microorganisms. Hence, this call seeks proposals from researchers with demonstrated interest and expertise in the application of broad sets of systematic data, ranging from field collection to -omics-based or wet lab approaches, ideally with methods that could fruitfully be applied to different kingdoms.

Projects are encouraged to include a comprehensive and integrated data management plan, and to contribute to the Priority Programmes’ efforts to develop standards for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable taxonomic data (FAIR principles).

Along with their students and postdocs, the principle investigators will benefit from the annual Priority Programme meetings focusing on approaches to the discovery and understanding of organismal diversity, whether of plants, animals, fungi, or protists. A clearly outlined contribution to the training of the next generation of systematists will therefore be desirable, as will be a description of how the planned research would contribute to the future development of the field of taxonomy by employing broadly applicable new or improved approaches. A contribution to global initiatives and international collaboration is encouraged.

Potential applicants are kindly asked to send a very short summary of the intended research (applicant(s), preliminary title, plus a maximum of 5 lines of text) no later than 31 October 2019 by email to the speaker (contacts see below). To allow for mutual information and coordination among applicants these short summaries will be compiled and, in one password-protected file, made available to all applicants named in these summaries.

Interested researchers are invited to submit proposals for research projects, in English, no later than 29 January 2020 to the DFG. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 15 January 2020 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal submission process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 1991” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal.

A review meeting with reviewers and applicants will probably be held in late April 2020. The date and place will be communicated to the applicants after the submission of the proposals. The envisaged start of funding is late summer 2020. The duration of the projects should be 36 months, and cannot exceed this period.

Successful applicants and their team members are expected to collaborate, for example through the exchange of students/postdocs or through methodological and knowledge exchange. They are also expected to attend the annual assemblies, and to actively participate in Priority Programme workshops.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Sabine Renner,
    Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München,
    Department Biologie I, Systematische Botanik und Mykologie,
    Menzinger Str. 67,
    80638 München,
    phone +49 89 17861-250,
    Link auf E-Mailrenner@lmu.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact:


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