Would you like to find out more about the opportunities for funding a research projects or the various funding bodies? Are you seeking advice on the eligibility of a project or do you require assistance with preparing your application? Here you will find information about the different opportunities for securing external funding as well as the relevant contact persons at Leipzig University.
Acquisition of External Funding
The Leipzig University External Funding Regulations stipulate that the acquisition of external funding is not only desired, but indeed part of the official duties of the University’s full-time academic staff. The Saxon Freedom of Higher Education Act (SächsHSFG) stipulates in Sections 46 and 49 hat employees in research with at least 25 per cent of the average regular working hours of a full-time employee at Leipzig University may carry out research projects at the University.
In principle, a person’s status as a member of the University pursuant to Section 49 of the Saxon Freedom of Higher Education Act (SächsHSFG) – and their associated entitlement to apply for external funding – end when they leave the University, in particular for reasons of age. In individual cases, professors who have already retired can, upon application to the relevant faculty and with the approval of the Rectorate, be granted membership rights. This permits them to apply for external funding and supervise the ensuing project.
The Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) advises on the numerous funding opportunities offered by various funding bodies. You are welcome to make an appointment with us to find out about the funding programmes and guidelines. We can also support you in the project proposal process (including budgeting and content-related questions).
Staff from the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) offer regular information sessions on the topics of research funding, external funding and applications. In addition, our DFG and EU teams offer workshops on writing proposals in cooperation with the Research Academy Leipzig. The dates of these events can be found in the University’s staff training database.
Information About Funding Opportunities
Many funding bodies provide information about their funding programmes on their websites. It is often possible to subscribe to a newsletter. For your own research, we recommend using the ELFI funding database. You can access it free of charge from the University network and create your own account. If you already have an account, you can also access the funding database from outside the University network. Furthermore, the FIT for Science information service (in German) offers free online listings of current announcements. Many funding bodies, e.g. the DFG, the BMBF and the Volkswagen Foundation, also offer a newsletter service.
Proposal requirements vary depending on the external funding body. Some funding bodies, such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, require that the proposal be submitted by the University itself, which is why a legally binding signature of the University management is required. This also applies to proposals that require co-financing from central University funds (Section 2.2.4 of the Leipzig University External Funding Regulations). After reviewing proposals, the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) forwards them to the Head of Administration and Finance for signing. The project management is not authorised to sign such applications on behalf of Leipzig University. We therefore ask that you contact the relevant team for national funding and international funding in good time.
Postdoctoral students (including junior professorships on fixed-term employment contracts) have the possibility to apply for funding from the University’s Leipzig Flexible Fund in order to develop their own externally funded research projects and to promote their own academic career. The aim of the Leipzig Flexible Fund is to support preparatory activities that are necessary to prepare applications (e.g. grants for research, conference visits, assistant, interview training, travel expenses). Detailed information on the objectives, on how to apply for funding from the Leipzig Flexible Fund, and the relevant contact persons can be found in the University’s Leipzig Flexible Fund Guidelines.
When applying to the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a coordinated programme (Collaborative Research Centres and Research Training Groups), the guide to applying for DFG collaborative projects must be observed and adhered to.
An essential part of every external funding application is the funding plan. Since the funding bodies’ regulations differ, we recommend that you use the support of our national funding and international funding staff when costing your project.
In particular, we recommend seeking advice on the following aspects:
The different funding bodies’ specifications for the calculation of personnel costs vary greatly. Some organisations offer lump sums, while others expect the most realistic possible forecast of staff expenditure. Some funding bodies let costings take annual salary increases into account, while others do not.
Please note that failure to carefully cost your project may result in financial shortfalls later on.
Every externally funded project also makes use of Leipzig University’s state-financed standard resources – such as rooms, equipment and staff. Many funding bodies are prepared to provide financial support for this as well, in the form of a lump sum for overhead costs. The Leipzig University External Funding Regulations require those submitting proposals to ensure that, in the case of external funding applications, the potential overhead costs offered by the respective external funding provider or funding institution are always applied for in full.
When you submit your application for external funding to the funding body, you must inform the University management in detail about your project. To do this, you submit a so-called external funding notification, referred to in German as a Drittmittelanzeige, to the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1). The external funding notification form essentially checks the principal investigator’s affiliation to Leipzig University. In addition, it must be demonstrated that the infrastructural prerequisites for implementing the project are met. Externally funded projects at the Faculty of Medicine must be notified to the Faculty’s own Department of Research.
Please fill in and sign the form and then ask your faculty or the head of your institution to confirm that the necessary personnel and material conditions for conducting the externally funded project are met. Next, please submit the external funding notification together with the proposal submitted to the funding body to the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1).
Contract Research and Scientific Services
Contract research is generally understood to be scientific research commissioned – and thus paid for – by a private or public-sector body. The goal of the research project is specified by the client, which usually also reserves the rights to the research results. In addition, the details of the commission are laid down in a research and development contract, which is concluded between the client and Leipzig University. Contract research is usually fully charged and subject to VAT. Please contact Dr Dirk Wilken for further information about contract research and scientific services.
Besides non-commercial services, the University also provides commercial services such as contract research. Leipzig University separates these two areas in terms of costs and funding in order to demonstrate that no cross-subsidisation occurs.
This means that aspects of competition law also need to be considered when calculating the budget for commercial projects. The Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation of 27 June 2014 (2014/C 198/01) requires that the remuneration for contract research at least covers the (direct and indirect) costs incurred by the University and includes a reasonable margin. Otherwise, private sector providers with the same research capabilities would regularly lose out to the University and could take action against it for breach of competition rules. This means that the actual costs – including overheads and profit as well as VAT – have to be factored in for research contracts and research-related services. Costing can be performed using IVMC-WEB, which also provides further information. Here, too, we recommend you seek the support of our Research Service when calculating the project budget.
Creating a project account requires written approval (post, fax or email) from the external funding provider in the form of a notice of grant. If the external funding body does not issue such notices, then it will be necessary to conclude a research contract (grant agreement, funding agreement, cooperation agreement, research and development contract or contracts for scientific services; see also this FAQ page). The approval or contract must at least specify the type, scope and duration, the conditions of funding, and the project management.
As soon as a binding funding approval (notice of grant, contract, other binding approval) and an external funding notification have been received, the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) will set up a project account. The project account is used to manage all income and expenditure within the project. You will receive a notification from Department 1 that a project account has been set up, in which we will provide you with important project data, in particular an internal University project number under which your project will be processed. Please always quote this project number in correspondence. The notification will also tell you which member of staff in the Services for External Funding team is responsible for you and your project. From then on, that person will be available to answer any questions you may have regarding the financial management of your project.
The Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) has drawn up model contracts for handling research projects. Generally speaking, however, their content is negotiable between the respective funding body and the University or between the partners. Please check the extent to which our model contracts are suitable for your purposes. If the contractual partner sends you a different draft contract or requests changes to the model contracts, please contact the Research Service or In-House Counsel Ulrike Augustin at the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) in good time so that the document can be checked.
Before signing the contract (for example, cooperation agreement, research and development contract or contracts for scientific services), the project must be fully costed and a funding plan drawn up. Our Research Service checks these. Once the contract text has been agreed (between the cooperation partners or client and Department of Research and Transfer) and countersigned by the project management, the contract is submitted to the Head of Administration and Finance for signature. The principal investigator is not authorised to sign such contracts on behalf of Leipzig University.
At the latest after signing the contract, an external funding notification (see also this FAQ page) must be submitted to the Department of Research and Transfer (Department 1) in order to set up a project account.
Your externally funded projects will be administered by Section 12 of the Department of Research and Transfer (Services for External Funding) which is divided into three teams according to funding bodies:
|Philin Hagemann||Anja Radon||Sylke Tröger|
For all faculties
For the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, all grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG).
For the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law, Faculty of History, Arts and Oriental Studies, Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Faculty of Economics and Management Science, Faculty of Sport Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences
For the Faculty of Life Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and Central Institutions:
Federal ministries and grants from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
|Anke Pötzsch||Kerstin Hirsch|
Grants for the Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law, Faculty of History, Arts and Oriental Studies, Faculty of Sport Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Central Institutions (URZ, UB and iDiv)
Grants for the Faculty of Philology, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Economics and Management Science, Faculty of Life Sciences, Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences, cross-faculty research institutions
EU, ESF/ERDF/SMWK, contract research, foundations, DAAD, ministries of other federal states, other funding bodies (e.g. associations)
|Christiane Wellner||Peggy Zieger||Birgit Hünniger|
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The project management is required to document all project-relevant processes. You should keep originals of any quotations received for goods, works or services and the resulting award records (Vergabevermerke), correspondence with the funding body or your copy of an original contract (e.g. a cooperation agreement) for a period of ten years or 25 years in the case of EU projects, as the funding bodies may wish to inspect these during on-site audits.
As the person responsible for an externally funded project, you and persons authorised by you will receive access to the financial data concerning your externally funded project via IVMC-WEB (on the University intranet). This means you will have information on the status of income and expenditure (individual entries) and the account balances.
You can apply for access to IVMC-WEB using the form provided. To use IVMC-WEB, you will need access to a computer in the University network and a university login.
With some funding agencies and formats, approved funds can only be paid out by financial year. This means that any remaining balances from one year are not automatically carried over to the next financial year. Information on this can usually be found in funding bodies’ own guidelines. If it is not possible to exhaust the budget for a particular financial year but there is the possibility of transferring funds to the following year, please contact your administrator from the Services for External Funding in good time (usually by the end of October).
How to request the approved funds depends on the individual funding body. Information on this can usually be found in the funding body’s own guidelines and/or the notice of grant. If you have any questions, please contact the administrator responsible for your project on the Services for External Funding team. Below you will find information about the most important providers of funding.
DFG, federal government and foundations
For the funding bodies DFG, the federal government (BMBF, etc.) and foundations, the general rule is that disbursement of approved funds can be requested as required, or at certain intervals for a fixed period of time, using a form provided on the respective website (DFG funding: Mittelabruf or “request for disbursement of funds”; federal government funding: Zahlungsanforderung or “payment request”; foundation funding: procedures vary). Funds may only be requested when they are required for payments due within the project. If the funds will not be required for the intended purpose in the foreseeable future, they must be transferred back to the provider without delay; otherwise, the provider may charge interest for the period from the disbursement of the funds until they have been used for the intended purpose (e.g. within three months in the case of DFG projects, and within six weeks of receipt of funds in the case of projects with federal funding).
In consultation with you as the project management, the person responsible for your project on our Services for External Funding team is in charge of requesting the disbursement of funds; in the case of projects funded by the federal government or foundations, it is possible that a disbursement plan will be drawn up for the entire financial year. For Leipzig University, funds are transferred to the account of the main treasury of the Free State of Saxony at the Deutsche Bundesbank. If you have any questions, please contact the administrator responsible for your externally funded project.
Disbursement requests are not necessary for projects financed by the EU. Funds are transferred base on the relevant contract as pre-financing or with each financial report (up to a maximum of 85 per cent of the budget). The remaining 15 per cent is normally paid out with the final payment after completion of the project.
In consultation with you as the project management, the member of staff responsible for your project will prepare the financial report according to the funding provider’s specifications and submits it electronically via the participant portal.
With a few exceptions, funding providers make approved funds available at the start of the project or based on regular disbursement requests. In exceptional cases, payment may be delayed or the provider may refuse to pay – for example, if the project management has not complied with its reporting obligations. This can result in your externally funded project facing a temporary financial shortfall. If this happens, please contact the member of the Services for External Funding team responsible for your project in order to discuss how to proceed.
If, during the implementation of the project, it becomes necessary to use the funds in a way other than that provided for in the funding provider’s grant letter, it will be necessary to submit a reallocation application (unless otherwise provided for in the grant conditions).
Please discuss the intended reallocation in advance with the person responsible for your project on the Services for External Funding team or, in the case of Horizon 2020 projects, with the responsible member of staff. If necessary, you then submit a reallocation request to the funding provider. Please inform the person responsible for your project as soon as you receive a written response concerning your reallocation request.
If there is a need for additional project funds once the project has started (for example, if you have recruited more experienced project staff than anticipated), then depending on the funding provider it may be possible to apply for top-up funding.
Please discuss any top-up requirements in advance with the member of staff responsible for your project. With their help, you can then submit a request for top-up funding to the funding body. Please note that top-up applications can only be signed by those persons with the authority to sign original grant applications. Please inform the person responsible for your project on the Services for External Funding team as soon as you receive a written response concerning your request for top-up funding. Any such changes will form part of the project file and the basis of budget changes in the accounting system.
If there are any surplus project funds at the end of the accounting period, some funding bodies allow you to apply for a cost-neutral project extension. The member of staff responsible for your project can advise you on how to apply. If a cost-neutral project extension is not possible, the University usually returns any remaining funds the funding body.
Changes to the Project
If during the implementation of the project it becomes necessary to change the project duration, it may be necessary to apply for a cost-neutral extension or to formally arrange an extension. Please send the extension application submitted to the funding body to the member of staff responsible for the original application. Please note that extension applications can only be signed by those persons with the authority to sign original grant applications. As soon as you receive a written response concerning your extension request, please inform the person responsible for your project so that they can make the necessary changes to the project file and project master data.
If the duration of your project changes, the funding body’s guidelines may require you to comment on this change in the project report. Reporting obligations are often tied to payment deadlines, meaning that the funding agency may refuse payment if a particular reporting obligation is not met. If necessary, apply for a postponement.
If you are transferring to another university or research institution and would like to continue your externally funded project there, please speak to the member of staff responsible for your project in good time.
If you leave the University for age reasons or are already retired, you can in individual cases – and with the approval of the Rectorate – be granted membership rights. If you do not apply to the Rectorate or if you leave the University for other reasons, it will be necessary to transfer the project to another principal investigator.
For every research project it is necessary to demonstrate to the funding body that the external funding has been used, stating the respective funding code. The manner and timing of these financial reports vary depending on the provider. Please refer to their individual guidelines for more information. The project management is responsible for preparing the annual and final financial reports. If you have any questions, please contact the person responsible for your project on the Services for External Funding team. Once the documents have been signed, the relevant member of staff will send the proof to the funding provider.
If your project is about to end, all outstanding invoices must be forwarded via the University’s central invoice office to Section 12 at the Department of Research and Transfer. This must be done in good time to ensure that they are processed before the end of the project. A status report must also be prepared (sample in IVMC-WEB).
The final account is prepared by the Department of Research and Transfer in consultation with the project management. The documents will be reviewed by the University’s Internal Audit team if necessary, signed by the Head of Administration and Finance, and then passed on to the funding provider by the relevant member of staff. The final accounting for economic projects is carried out by the Department of Finances.