Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Pre-announcement: collaborate with German partners on arts and humanities research: round five

Apply for funding to strengthen cooperation between UK and German researchers in arts and humanities.

You must be either:

  • a researcher eligible to apply to DFG
  • based at an organisation eligible for AHRC funding.

Research projects can address any area of arts and humanities, including law and linguistics, to make fundamental advances in human knowledge.

The full economic cost of the UK component of your project can be up to £350,000 (to be confirmed). AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Projects can last up to three years.

This is a pre-announcement and the information may change.

The funding opportunity will open on 6 October 2022. More information will be available on this page by then.

Who can apply

Applicants in Germany must meet 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.

Research teams

Each joint research project must consist of two (UK and German) national teams. Each team must be led by one principal investigator.

The UK team must be:

  • led by an arts and humanities researcher who falls within the remit of AHRC
  • based at a research organisation eligible to apply to the AHRC.

The German team must be led by a humanities researcher eligible to apply to DFG.

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

First time applicants and international co-investigators

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

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.

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.

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


If this application has been submitted to any other 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.

Immediate resubmission of unsuccessful proposals from one opportunity under the AHRC-DFG memorandum of understanding (MOU) to the next opportunity is not permitted. Resubmission of unsuccessful proposals from the fourth opportunity to the fifth opportunity will not be permitted.

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

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

For this opportunity, a reworked resubmission from the first, second and third opportunities will be allowed, where the proposal has been revised. For example, with changes to:

  • research questions
  • methodology
  • the project team.

Changes should be summarised under the resubmission heading in the case for support.

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 MOU in June 2021, there will be 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.

As stand-alone projects, infrastructure or networking projects will not be eligible.

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.

This brings together arts and humanities researchers in the UK, whose research falls within the remit of the AHRC, and humanities researchers in Germany.

For a full specification of AHRC’s and DFG’s subject remits, read 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.

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

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

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.

Costs and duration

The duration of the projects will normally be, and must not exceed, 36 months. Successful projects will be expected to start in early 2024.

The full economic cost of the UK component of your project can be up to £350,000 (to be confirmed). AHRC will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

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.

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.

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. 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.

How to apply

All applications must be submitted in English.

Where appropriate for the research topic, you may also submit your proposal in both German and English, although you are not required to do so.

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.

Full information on how to apply will be provided with the full opportunity on 6 October 2022.

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 considered by members of a joint academic panel, selected by DFG and AHRC, which will make funding recommendations to the funders.

The peer review process will be undertaken in English.

The funding recommendations of the joint expert panel will be subject to approval by AHRC and DFG, including by the relevant DFG decision making board, taking into account the availability of funds.

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

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 criteria includes:

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

Academic quality of the research project

This criteria 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 criteria 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 DFG.

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

DFG enquiries


Include ‘AHRC’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within five working days.

Sigrid Claßen, DFG

Telephone: +49 (0)228 885-2209

Dr Nora Böttcher, DFG

Telephone: +49 (0)228 885-2693

Emma Bessent, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager, AHRC


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

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

Impacts of COVID-19

UKRI 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.

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