Funding line "Start-up funding for research projects"

What is the aim of the funding line?

This funding line supports the initiation, preparation and development of larger, complex applications for acquisition of third-party funded (joint) research projects with relevant funding bodies on a national or international level.
This particularly focuses on third-party funding applications that are reviewed externally and independently and exclusively by involving scientific criteria.
ProFOR+ funding primarily provides support in connection with the increased expenses involved in an application for a joint project that requires numerous discussions will all involved project partners and, if applicable, also travel costs and costs for the implementation of joint workshops. In addition, support is provided for the increased planning and management costs, e.g. when it comes to specific technical and financial requirements of the respective funding bodies.

What is meant by joint research project?

The term specifies projects that will involve several institutional partners – where possible also including international partners.
It mainly focuses on applications for funding of large, collaborative projects, e.g. the establishment of research groups and scientific networks, contributions to special research programs or other excellence-driven formats.
It is expected that the applicant is the overall project manager who is responsible for planning, application and implementation of the future third-party funded project.

What is meant by relevant funding bodies on a national and international level?

This specification includes, e.g. the European Union (programs such as Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe 2021-2027), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) or other federal ministries, the Volkswagen Foundation, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Gerda Henkel Foundation etc.

Who may apply for funding?

(Junior) professors, research associates with a doctoral degree and heads of research institutes at the KU.

Which costs can be funded?

Subsidies for staff costs for hiring student assistants and for research associates, or subsidies for travel costs and costs for materials and equipment.

Approval criteria for the proFOR+ application

The applicant should have proven experience with planning and implementing (third-party funded) research projects.

The measure to be supported by proFOR+ funds must have an appropriate relation to the current research activities of the applicant both as regards timing and subject-matter as well as to the planned third-party funding application.

The intended project is perceptibly well-planned and based on a realistic conceptualization. The requested funding amount must be plausibly justified.

How much is the maximum grant in this funding line?

A proFOR+ subsidy can be granted to a maximum amount of € 45,000.

Is there a deadline for applications for this funding line?

ProFOR+ applications for this funding line can be submitted to the Research Service Center (ZFF) at any time; however, at least four months before the start of the development phase of the application for which proFOR+ funding is requested. As a rule, the review process for applications under this funding line requires higher temporal and organizational efforts due to the necessity to involve several experts.

Who decides about the application?

The Presidium decides on approval of the application. As a rule, the executive research committee will provide advice to the Presidium regarding the decision. The Presidium can also involve external reviewers who have proven expertise in the respectively relevant specialist fields.

General information

Please send the fully completed proFOR+ applications with all declarations and agreements signed by hand to the Research Service Center (ZFF) (e-mail: electronically (preferably as a PDF file).

The applicant must submit a final report to the Research Service Center at the latest three months after conclusion of the funding measure. The report must contain information on implemented activities and measures, obtained results and resulting perspectives and, in particular, regarding the planned application for third-party funding. Together with the final report, the compiled application for third-party funding must also be submitted to the Research Service Center before it is submitted to the third-party funding body.

In justified cases, the application for third-party funding can also be submitted to the Research Service Center later on.Within a funding line, only one application per applicant can be processed and, if applicable, funding provided.

A new application can only be submitted by the applicant and processed by the Research Service Center for possible funding if the first requested funding measure within this funding line is completed and closed as regards content, costs have been fully settled and the Research Service Center has been provided with a short final report.

Heads of research institutions at the KU who submit a proFOR+ funding in their capacity as heads of such institution may simultaneously submit one further application for the same funding line in their capacity as holder of a chair or professorship at the KU even if the funding periods overlap.

Download application form