Individual DFG Research funding


At this moment I am a postdoc at the synchrotron in Germany. The main aim of the postdocs here is to help users to conduct their experiments and also to conduct their own research. My boss have said that it is hard to get the money for a research from the synchrotron unless they are not used for the beamline development. In this case I would like to get the Individual DFG Research funding. During my PhD studies I usually did theoretical work and performed experimental studies using analytical equipment. The materials we got from our collaborators. Now I would like to do synthesis of the similar materials by myself and analyse produced products by the synchrotron radiation. But I am little bit afraid of being unsuccessful in material synthesis because this area is new for me. What could I do in my case? Is it a good idea to get a funding for a risky area?

Avatar for rewt

Can you write the application to say that you know it is risky but you can address it? So that it sounds less risky and draws the attention to what you want to achieve. A lot of applications are risky but if you can address them appropriately it should be fine.

Though it would be better to ask other people who know that funding body better. There should be someone in your department who has applied before and has some experince with what they expect. As every funding body is different and we can only give generic advice.


I had a DFG postdoc fellowship. (This was, however, about 10 years ago.) Back then the expectation was that one had approx. a 50% chance of obtaining funding for an individual postdoc fellowship. As usual in academia, much of your success will be determined by your literary prowess. If you have a good story to tell in the application and your field is deemed somewhat worthy, you have a good chance of getting funded. At the end of the fellowship, you will be expected to write a final report summarizing your results. Once again, this is primarily a literary exercise - virtually any outome of a research effort can be presented as a useful result, unless all you did was burn down the lab. Of course, the final report will look a lot better if you can cite a few additional publications which were produced during your postdoc. At the end, you get a one-line letter telling you whether your project results were deemed "worthy of funding". Of course, your application and final report will be assessed by external reviewers, i.e., important professors in your field (and/or their grad students).

Evidently you are trying to become a professor (why else would one pursue a postdoc). In this context, there is a lot more that could be said about your approach here for obtaining funding. I can elaborate if you are interested.


Dear rewt and Walter_Opera,
Thank you for your answers. So you suppose that it's common to ask the money for "new" things? In that case, at least, I can try to apply for a funding. Yes, I am absolutely interested about all information about the funding.


Researchers who have completed their academic training (as a rule, those who hold a doctorate) are eligible to submit project proposals with a defined thematic focus and project duration.
• Research Grants
Research grants enable individuals who have completed their academic training to conduct at any time research projects with clearly defined topics and durations, regardless of the subject.
• Scientific Networks
Scientific networks offer early career researchers the opportunity to engage in scientific exchange and cooperation on topics of common interest across locations.
• Research Fellowships
Research Fellowships are intended to help early career researchers to conduct a defined project at a location of their choice in a country other than Germany and to use it as an opportunity to familiarise themselves with new research methods or to bring a large project to a conclusion.
• Emmy Noether Programme
The Emmy Noether Programme gives exceptionally qualified early career researchers the chance to qualify for the post of professor at a university by leading an independent junior research group for a period of six years.
• Heisenberg Programme
If you already meet all the requirements for appointment to a permanent professorship, you can apply to the Heisenberg Programme. While you prepare for a future senior academic role, the DFG provides funding to enable you to carry on with high-quality research at the institution of your choice and continue building your academic reputation.
• Clinical Trials
The Clinical Trials Programme enables individuals who have completed their academic training to conduct at any time patient-oriented clinical research within a temporary project. The programme provides funding for interventional clinical studies, including feasibility studies (phase II) and interventional trials (phase III). The programme also funds observational trials, provided that the study investigates a highly relevant research question that cannot demonstrably be answered using an interventional design.
• Workshops for Early Career Investigators
Workshops for early career investigators are a strategic funding instrument. These are aimed particularly at established researchers seeking to address a perceived lack of early-career researchers in their field by holding workshops for early career investigators on specific topics.