Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: UK-German collaborative research projects in the humanities

The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have launched a call for collaborative research proposals, bringing together arts and humanities researchers in the UK and Germany to conduct joint projects.

Up to £350,000 is available for projects of up to three years. Research projects can address any area of arts and humanities, including law and linguistics.

This is the third in a series of annual bilateral DFG-AHRC calls, following successful calls launched in 2018 and 2019.

Who can apply

The call will be open to applications addressing any research topic where there is significant potential to advance knowledge through collaborative research bringing together arts and humanities researchers in the UK, whose research falls within the remit of the AHRC, and humanities (including law and linguistics) researchers in Germany.

Applicants in Germany must meet the DFG’s eligibility requirements and 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.

The immediate resubmission of unsuccessful proposals from the second call (2019 to 2020), under the AHRC-DFG memorandum of understanding, to the third call (2020 to 2021) is not permitted, even if the proposal is revised. Any application judged to be a resubmission of an application under the second call will be rejected.

First AHRC-DFG call – unsuccessful applicants

Applicants unsuccessful under the first call (2018 to 2019) may submit a reworked proposal under this call.

Second AHRC-DFG call – unsuccessful applicants

Applicants involved in unsuccessful applications under the second call may submit, or be involved in, different or new proposals for this second call.

Applicants unsuccessful under the second call (2019 to 2020) may submit a reworked proposal under the 2021 to 22 call to be launched in November 2021.

What we're looking for

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 call 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
  • to 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 duration of the projects will normally be, and must not exceed, three years. Successful projects will be expected to start in early 2022.

The UK component may seek up to £350,000, to which the AHRC will normally contribute 80% full economic cost.

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.

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

How to apply

The DFG is leading the administration of this third call and should therefore be the first point of contact for general enquiries relating to the call.

A single integrated proposal with separate financial sections for each national agency must be submitted via DFG’s submission system “elan” no later than Wednesday 24 February 2021 at midnight (German time).

Proposals received after the deadline will not be eligible. For details on the format of the proposal and on the required documents please refer to the “Information for Applicants”.

UK applications will be required to submit their costings on the finance form provided as an attachment to the integrated proposal submitted to DFG.

UK applicants should consult with their organisation’s research or finance offices in the finalisation of the costings for the UK component prior to submission, and ensure that relevant approvals for the submission of the application, including the research organisation contribution to the full economic costs, are obtained from the UK research organisations involved.

Costs for the UK element must be compiled according to AHRC’s standard rules, as outlined in section three of the AHRC Research Funding Guide.

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 two peer reviewers. The second stage will be consideration by members of a joint academic panel, selected by the DFG and the AHRC, which will make funding recommendations to the funders.

The peer review process will be undertaken in English. Funding will be granted from the core budgets of AHRC and DFG.

Contact details



Sigrid Claßen
Tel. +49 (0)228 885-2209

Dr Nora Böttcher
Tel. +49 (0)228 885-2693


Dr James Davies, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager

Please put DFG in the subject heading.

Additional info

AHRC’s provision to include (where relevant) international co-investigators will apply to the UK component of projects.

However, we would not expect international co-investigators based in Germany to be included within the UK component as we would expect investigators in Germany to be included within the German team and DFG supported component of the collaboration.

Please refer to the AHRC Research Funding Guide for further information on AHRC’s International Co-Investigator policy and which costs are eligible within a UK budget.

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

You can find answers to frequently asked questions on the DFG website (PDF, 57KB). This may be updated whilst the call is open, so please check for further updates.

Supporting documents

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