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Applying with the German Research Foundation

Are you writing a DFG proposal?

General information about DFG proposals  

The DFG provides information sheets and guidelines for all programmes and funding lines. You find an extensive list of all information and templates here. The site takes you to guidelines that are mostly in German. Please contact us if you need help navigating these documents!

Selected funding lines

Research grants

German researchers or researchers working at a German institution who have earned a doctoral degree may apply for a research grant. You may apply for different modules as part of the research grant. 

An important module for postdoctoral researchers is the module "Temporary Positions for Principal Investigators". It allows you to apply for your own salary, so that you may work on your research project for a defined period of time, usually three years. Please note that you need to provide an "Arbeitgebererklärung" (employer's statement), with which the university promises to act as employer for the duration of the grant. The Arbeitgebererklärung is signed by the university's Kanzler. We will collect the signature for you. Please contact us in time.

If you have worked in Germany for less than three years (or if you apply while you are abroad), you will need to provide a statement by a researcher from Konstanz which evaluates both you as a researcher and your proposed project. This statement needs to be provided on top of the Arbeitgebererklärung.

The "Basic Module" allows you to apply for essential funds: salary for doctoral students or postdocs, technical or student assistants, equipment, travels costs etc. You do not need to provide an Arbeitgebererklärung when you apply for salary for other people, but it might nonetheless be a good idea to let people in your department know that you are submitting a grant and that you will need office space if your application is successful.

Walter Benjamin Programme

The Walter Benjamin Programme enables researchers in the postdoctoral training phase to independently conduct their own research project at a location of their choice. This allows you to gain academic independence and to lay the foundation for your further academic career. As that further requires mobility and thematic development, the programme generally requires that the applicant change his or her research institution.

Funding is granted for up to 2 years as either a Walter Benjamin position (Germany) or as a Walter Benjamin fellowship (abroad). Please note that when applying for the Walter Benjamin position, you need to provide an "Arbeitgebererklärung" (employer's statement), with which the university promises to act as an employer for the duration of the grant. Please contact our reseach support team in time, if you need an Arbeitgebererklärung.

Emmy Noether Programme


The Emmy Noether Programme funds independent junior research groups for a period of six years.

The programme shall enable young researchers to gain academic independence and the qualifications required for a permanent position at a university. Postdocs who have international experience and who have earned their doctoral degree between two and four years ago are eligible to apply.

If you are considering an application for this prestigious programme, we will gladly advise you. When applying for an Emmy Noether research group, the support of your department and the university is essential. That is why you should get in touch with the representatives of your department in time.

Heisenberg Programme


The Heisenberg Programme addresses all researchers who fulfill the requirements for a tenured professorship.

Once you have been accepted to the Heisenberg Programme, you can select between four funding types or combine them during the five-year funding period. Regardless of which funding type you will choose: The support of your department and the university is essential for a grant proposal. That is why you should get in touch with the representatives of your department and the Research Support team in time.

The funding types:

  • With the Heisenberg position funding is provided for your own position at a host institution in Germany.
  • Clinician scientists may apply for a Heisenberg temporary substitute position for a full-time or a part-time replacement.
  • With the Heisenberg fellowship the DFG funds the further qualification of successful applicants at a host institution in Germany or another country.
  • With the Heisenberg professorship, funding is provided for a temporary professorship. The host institution must give a binding statement that after the DFG funding period ends it will transfer the professorship permanently to its own budget. That is why this funding line requires the most planning and preparations out of the four options.

All funding types can be combined with a research grant for project funding.

Major Research Instrumentation Programme

The DFG funds large scientific equipment through its Major Research Instrumentation Programme.  Half of the costs are provided by the DFG, the other half needs to be paid for by the state of Baden-Württemberg. In this funding line, the university is the applicant. Before a proposal is submitted to the DFG, the source of the co-financing has to be agreed upon. Please contact us early if you are interested in submitting a proposal!

Coordinated programmes


The following programmes are "coordinated programmes":

Applying for a coordinated programme usually involves  an extensive planning period. Various units within the university need to be involved, and you should make sure that you contact the Rectorate, the Academic Staff Development, the Office for Equal Opportunity, Family Affairs and Diversity as well as Communications and Marketing.

Handling of research data

Part of the project description is a section on research data. You are asked to describe what relevant data and information will be systematically produced using DFG project funds. Please state how this data  will be stored and made available for future reuse by other researchers. You may always reference the university's Policy on Research Data Management.

  • We suggest that you study the information provided on the DFG website regarding this issue.
  • The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany has established the task group "Digitale Information" that regularly provides materials on research data managment and best practice examples (in German).
  • The website provides information and best practice examples, for instance on how to draft a Data Management Plan. While the website is sponsored by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK), the university's Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) is mainly responsible for the content. The colleagues there will be happy to assist you with all your questions concerning research data management.

Core facilities

Core facilities contribute to an overall improvement in research infrastructure. The DFG supports the establishment of core facilities and the joint use of the technologies they offer.

The portal RIsources, run by the DFG, contains information about scientific research infrastructures which provide researchers with resources and services for planning and implementing research projects.

Within the framework of most DFG funding lines such as Research Grants or Collaborative Research Centres researchers can apply for specific project related costs that arise when using the services of Core Facilities.

Please note:

When you apply for a budget to conduct surveys or interviews, which usually includes staff costs or the remuneration of test subjects, the DFG assumes that you will be the one to oversee these studies. As a rule, outsourcing the relevant work later on will not be possible. This also applies to entrusting Core Facilities or other service units with certain tasks. Therefore, please make sure to describe not only the task at hand, but also the projected implementation when writing a grant proposal and ask for the appropriate budget for each task.