Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Collaborate with German partners on arts and humanities research: round five

Apply for funding to collaborate on arts and humanities projects with German research partners.

The principal investigator in the UK must be:

  • based at a research organisation eligible to apply to AHRC
  • working with a German team led by a researcher eligible to apply to DFG
  • proposing a project within the remit of AHRC.

Research projects must make fundamental advances in human knowledge in any area of arts and humanities.

This is the fifth annual funding opportunity under the UK-German Funding Initiative in the Humanities.

Who can apply

This funding opportunity provides the opportunity for UK-based arts and humanities researchers to conduct highly integrated projects with Germany-based partners, adding value to research objectives through international collaboration.

Applicants in Germany must meet the DFG eligibility requirements. Applicants in the UK must meet AHRC eligibility requirements.

Funding will be distributed among the research partners according to the researchers’ place of work and, in general, according to the funding rules of each individual agency.

Individual eligibility criteria

DFG regulations concerning first time applicants will not be taken into account for this opportunity.

German researchers from non-university research institutions must comply with their duty to cooperate (Kooperationspflicht). This duty to cooperate is not met if one only cooperates with a UK partner.

Costs for project PhD students cannot be included within UK budgets for this opportunity.

International co-investigators

Under AHRC’s policy, the UK component of projects can request funding for international co-investigators. However, we would not expect international co-investigators based in Germany to be included within the UK component. We would expect investigators in Germany to be included within the German team and DFG supported component of the collaboration.

International co-investigators costs cannot exceed 30% of the overall funding requested for the proposal. These costs will be paid at 100% full economic cost.

Read the AHRC research funding guide for further information on AHRC’s international co-investigator policy and which costs are eligible within a UK budget.

Researchers based in Germany can submit a joint proposal to fund domestic (German) and international project costs with colleagues from a developing country.

Further information can be found on the DFG website in the Supplementary Instructions for Projects Involving Cooperation with Developing Countries.

Supporting early career researchers and technicians

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and DFG aim to enable a dynamic, diverse and inclusive system of research and innovation in the UK and Germany that is an integral part of society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit.

We encourage the inclusion of early career researchers and technicians in proposals to this funding opportunity. The suitability of support and management mechanisms for these members of project teams will be specifically considered as part of the assessment criteria for this opportunity as part of the feasibility of the project.

UKRI is a signatory to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, and AHRC has published its own guidance on training and developing early career researchers in the arts and humanities.

UKRI has also published a Technician Commitment Action Plan, which includes guidance on our expectations towards research organisations in recognising and valuing the full diversity of technically skilled people and technical roles working in research teams at all career stages across our remit.

If integrating early career researchers or technicians into your project team, please refer to the documents linked above for more information.

Applying for other funding

If this application has been submitted to any other funding opportunity or funding stream of any other funding agency, this must be clearly stated in the proposal.

Please also check the respective national agency’s rules regarding submission of a project to more than one funder or scheme.


A resubmission is only allowed once within the AHRC-DFG bilateral programme.

Immediate resubmission of unsuccessful proposals from one opportunity to the next is not permitted. As such, resubmission of unsuccessful proposals from the fourth opportunity to the fifth opportunity is not permitted.

However, applicants involved in unsuccessful applications under the fourth opportunity may submit, or be involved in, different or new proposals for the fifth opportunity.

What we're looking for

This is the fifth in a series of annual bilateral opportunities with AHRC and DFG since 2018. Following the renewal of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in June 2021, there will be at least eight annual joint opportunities in total.

Both funding agencies are aware that some of the best research can only be achieved by working with the best researchers internationally. Accordingly, the aims of the funding opportunity are to:

  • support academic research of the highest quality in the humanities undertaken by UK-German teams, whose primary aim is to make fundamental advances in human knowledge
  • deepen and strengthen cooperation between UK and German researchers in the humanities, and to foster the growth of a transnational UK-German research culture.

The projects must focus on substantive research and feature an integrated work programme.

Academic infrastructure or networking activities can only be funded within projects with a substantive research focus. Infrastructure or networking projects will not be eligible as stand-alone projects.

Applicants should demonstrate the added value which cross-national collaboration will make to advancing the research topic by bringing together researchers based in the UK, Germany, and where applicable, other countries.

We expect that each partner substantially contributes to the common project. This also includes taking on organisational responsibilities. This division of responsibilities should also be reflected in the amount of funds requested by each partner.

When undertaking research and innovation activities outside the UK and Germany, you must recognise and address the possible impact of contextual, societal and cultural differences on the ethical conduct of those activities.

The project description (DFG’s equivalent to the UKRI case for support) should be used to evidence how partnerships (if present within your project) are equitable, ethical, responsible and meaningful. Researchers should also follow the key principles of equitable partnerships to address inherent power imbalances when working with partners in resource-poor settings.

Research topics and disciplines

The funding opportunity will be open to applications addressing any research topic where there is significant potential to advance knowledge through collaborative research. Projects will achieve this by bringing together arts and humanities researchers in the UK and Germany.

For this funding opportunity, the field of humanities is defined by the AHRC’s remit, not by the DFG’s classification of humanities.

For a full specification of AHRC’s and DFG’s subject remits, read the AHRC research funding guide and DFG index.

Both single-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary applications can be considered provided that the UK component falls within the remit of AHRC, and the German component within the remit of DFG.

Applications may also overlap with other disciplines provided that they fall primarily within the remit of AHRC and DFG.

Cross-disciplinary applications must demonstrate how their project team fulfils the eligibility requirements. If you are in doubt about the eligibility, please contact the respective organisation.

Only proposals whose primary aim is to make fundamental advances in human knowledge in the relevant fields may be submitted.

Costs and duration

Applicants who are uncertain whether their proposal would be eligible should contact the relevant agencies for clarification.

The duration of the projects will be a minimum of 24 months and must not exceed 36 months. Outcomes will be issued in early November 2023. The UK component of successful projects will be required to start between January and mid February 2024.

Standard AHRC funding requirements apply to the UK component as outlined in AHRC’s research funding guide. UK costs should be approved by an eligible UK research organisation in line with the requirements of full economic costing for applications to UK research councils.

The full economic cost of the UK component of your project can be up to £420,000. AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost (up to £336,000). International co-investigators outside of the UK and Germany will be paid at 100% full economic cost.

In line with its individual research grants programme, DFG does not specify a maximum limit to the amount of funding that can be requested.

Projects should be integrated but do not have to be symmetrical, in the sense that neither the sums requested, nor the items requested, have to be identical on the UK and German sides. However, we would expect the work packages to be delivered reasonably equally.

All budget items must conform to the national rules applicable to each applicant.

A detailed justification of the requested budget will be required. For UK costs they should be included in the mandatory justification of resources document (available under additional information) and submitted by the German principal investigator.

AHRC and DFG retain the right to reject proposals where applicants fail to comply with the procedures set out in the guidelines of the respective agency.

If a proposal is ineligible with one national agency, the whole project will be rejected by both agencies.

It is expected that in the region of 18 awards will be made under this funding opportunity (subject to proposals meeting the criteria and quality standards).

Funding will be granted from the core budgets of AHRC and DFG.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted in English.

All text-based attachments should use an Arial, or other standard sans-serif type font. The font should be no smaller than point 11 and you must use standard (2cm) margins. For the sections project-related publications and bibliography, the font should not be smaller than Arial 9 point.

Full information on how to apply is provided on the DFG website. Please refer to this page and its linked documents for full details of documents (including templates and guidelines) necessary for submitting to this opportunity. Please note that you will also need to include an AHRC justification of resources document.

No Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system submission is required at proposal stage. Only those proposals which are successful will be required to submit via Je-S once outcomes are issued.

How we will assess your application

Applications will be assessed on the basis of their scholarly merit and the added value of UK-Germany collaboration through a joint two-stage process.

The first stage will involve assessment by external expert peer reviewers. The second stage will be considered by members of a joint academic panel, selected by DFG and AHRC, which will make funding recommendations to the funders.

The funding recommendations of the joint expert panel will be subject to approval by AHRC and DFG, including by the DFG’s Grant Committee (Hauptausschuss), taking into account the availability of funds.

The process above is the same irrespective of who the opportunity handling agency is however, in years when it is AHRC there is an additional principal investigator response stage.

It is expected that in the region of 18 awards will be made under this opportunity, subject to proposals meeting the criteria and quality standards.

UK-projects will be required to start within three months of the acceptance of the awards. German projects are expected to follow a similar schedule.

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria are the same irrespective of the opportunity handling agency for each opportunity.

Impact is not a criterion for this opportunity. UK and German reviewers and panel members will not be assessing or moderating based on impact and any reference in the reviews is removed.

All project proposals will be assessed against three sets of criteria:

  • expertise of the research team members
  • academic quality of the research project
  • feasibility of the project.

Expertise of the research team members

This criterion includes:

  • research portfolio of the research team
  • relevant preliminary work.

Academic quality of the research project

This criterion includes:

  • innovative nature of the project
  • appropriateness of research design
  • contribution of the research project to advances in the relevant academic discipline or disciplines and international cooperation
  • scholarly merit of objectives and work programme
  • integrated approach of the project, maximizing the added value of UK-German research collaboration
  • contribution of the project to deepening UK-German academic collaboration.

Feasibility of the project (budget, research facilities and management arrangements)

This criterion includes:

  • feasibility of the project
  • appropriateness of the project’s budget and overall value for money
  • access to research facilities and infrastructure required for the research
  • appropriateness of support for early career researchers, where applicable
  • appropriateness of management arrangements of the project.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

Opportunity administration alternates between AHRC and the German Research Foundation (DFG).

DFG is leading the administration of this fifth opportunity, and should therefore be the first point of contact for general enquiries.

DFG enquiries


Sigrid Claßen, DFG

Telephone: +49 (0)228 885-2209

Dr Nora Böttcher, DFG

Telephone: +49 (0)228 885-2693

AHRC Enquiries

Emma Bessent, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager, AHRC

Email: (policy and process enquiries)

Email: (programme enquiries)

Include ‘DFG’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within five working days.

Additional info

You do not need to have applied or been successful under the previous joint opportunities to submit a proposal.

Data protection

By submitting a proposal, you are giving your permission to AHRC and DFG to process and disclose the data you provide, including processing of personal data.

AHRC may publish on publicly available websites the details of funded projects, such as:

  • the project title
  • project summary
  • impact summary
  • names of all investigators
  • project dates
  • amount awarded
  • names of project partner organisations.

Impacts of COVID-19

UK Research and Innovation and DFG acknowledge that it is a challenge for applicants to determine the future impacts of COVID-19 while the pandemic continues to evolve. Applications should be based on the information available at the point of submission and, if applicable, the known application specific impacts of COVID-19 should be accounted for.

Where known impacts have occurred, these should be highlighted in the application, including the assumptions and information at the point of submission.

There is no need to include contingency plans for the potential impacts of COVID-19.

Requests for travel, both domestically and internationally, can be included in accordance with relevant scheme guidelines, noting the above advice.

Reviewers will receive instructions to assume that changes that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic, post-submission, will be resolved and complications related to COVID-19 should not affect their scores.

Where an application is successful, any changes in circumstances that affect the proposal will be managed as a post-award issue.

Supporting documents

AHRC justification of resources document (DOCX, 26KB)

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