Enhanced innovation and European cooperation


The DFG presents its 2004 Annual Report

For the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) 2004 was a year of innovation. Fundamental new developments in its funding programmes made them more attractive. At the same time, the DFG also enhanced its involvement in European research. These are just a few of the topics covered by the 2004 Annual Report.

As an example of the modernisation of the DFG's funding programmes, the President of the DFG, Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, in his preface to the report, mentions the developments in the Collaborative Research Centre programme, where the selection procedure has been significantly accelerated by the introduction of review panels. The Priority Programmes were also modified. Approvals for Priority Programmes now attach greater importance to Germany-wide networking within the projects. Additionally, the age limit for the Emmy Noether Programme was abolished in 2004.

Changes decided in 2003 also started to take effect over course of the past year. For example, the reform of the DFG's peer review system, which saw the replacement of review committees by review boards, was implemented in 2004. The changes made to Research Training Groups, intended to lead to more clearly defined topical concentration, improved funding and increased internationalisation, also began to make their mark, with the number of proposals rising by about 50%. In addition to this, 2004 saw the first establishment of a Sino-German and six Franco-German Research Training Groups.

In the area of science policy, the DFG's activities in 2004 included its participation the discussion on the Genetic Engineering Act and the 'Excellence Initiative', in which it is a key player. The DFG also played a decisive role in efforts to establish a European Research Council (ERC) over the past year. The ERA-NETs established or extended during 2004, which aim to unite the European research area by funding programme coordination and forming an academic infrastructure, bear testimony to the cooperation between the DFG and the EU. They include ERA CHEMISTRY and the social science network "New Opportunities for Research Funding Cooperation in Europe A Strategy for Social Science" (NORFACE).

In total, the DFG's income for 2004 amounted to 1.307 billion. Around 58% of this came from the Federal Government, 41.7% percent was contributed by the states, and the remaining 0.3% came from foundations and other private sources. Amongst other things, these funds allowed the DFG to finance 9,163 full-time researchers' positions, 8,823 part-time researchers, 3,731 doctoral students and 1,037 postdoctoral fellowships. In 2004 the DFG processed a total of 15,173 funding proposals for general research funding, 7,840 of which were approved, amounting to a total funding volume of 785.6 million.

Of the total funding volume, 15% went to the humanities and social sciences, 38.2 % to life sciences, 25.4% to the natural sciences and 21.3% to the engineering sciences. A total of 738.5 million in funding was spent on the DFG's coordinated programmes in 2004, 381.1 million of which went to 272 Collaborative Research Centres, 2.8 million to 14 Transfer Units, 80.2 million to 257 Research Training Groups and 152.5 million to 134 Priority Programmes. A total of 16 million was awarded in prizes.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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