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National Funding Bodies

Potential funding sources for projects include the German Research Foundation, various ministries, the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia, and numerous foundations.

German Research Foundation (DFG)

The most important funding body for basic research in Germany is the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG). This is why our advisory services are centered on the DFG funding programmes, on which we provide comprehensive information. Moreover, we are happy to assist you with your application.

When applying for Collaborative Research Centres and Research Training Groups, please read the relevant information at our service portal (German website).

DFG funding programmes at a glance

DFG Liaison Officer

Liaison Officer

Professor Ilona Rolfes is the DFG liaison officer at Ruhr University Bochum. The German Research Foundation expects the liaison officer to be notified of any applications, grant approvals, and rejections of DFG proposals. Moreover, the liaison officer liaises between the university and DFG.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ilona Rolfes
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
High Frequency Engineering Institute
Room ID 04/335
Phone: +49 234 32 27383

Federal Ministries

The Federal Ministry for Education and Research as well as the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action play a pivotal role in research funding. They finance the development of new research ideas and technologies.

The research funding programmes “Industrial Collective Research (IGF)” and “Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM)” run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action are managed by the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF).

The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia

The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia provides funding programmes (German website) with the aim of identifying and promoting specific objectives. It finances primarily application-oriented cooperation projects focusing on different research subjects, and also supplies funding to junior research groups and provides start-up funding.

Moreover, applications for the European Regional Development Fund ERDF (German website) can likewise be submitted to the Land.

Good to Know

Contacts at the Administrative Departments

Please note: project proposals and applications for Federal Ministries and ERDF projects are generally undersigned by the third-party funding division at Administrative Department 4, and for projects in the field of medicine by the third-party funding division at Administrative Department 7. Applicants should reach out to the respective contacts in good time.


Applications with different thematic focuses and funding volumes - from travel expenses to conferences to larger projects - can be submitted to numerous foundations. In addition to topic and discipline-related calls for proposals, these foundations offer a variety of funding opportunities that match the profile of the respective foundation. You can search the databases of the Deutsches Stiftungszentrum and the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen for potential funding sources for your project. Further application assistance can be found in the service portal.

Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR)

A key partner for the universities collaborating under the umbrella of University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) is Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR). MERCUR provides financial backing for research, education and administration projects at the three UA Ruhr universities that pave the way for sustainable prospects and joint future activities that go beyond current projects.

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