News Release

DFG announces winners in third round of international research marketing competition

DFG ideas competition: Three main prizes and one special start-up prize awarded

Grant and Award Announcement

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the winners of the third round of an ideas competition in international research marketing. Awards will go to Forschungszentrum Jülich, the University of Münster and the University Alliance Ruhr. Each prizewinner will receive €100,000 to implement their research marketing measures and activities. The special start-up prize of €75,000 will go to the German Sport University Cologne. This prize is aimed at institutions that are just starting to engage with international research marketing or are adapting existing efforts in this area. All prizes are financed through special funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This year a total of 21 marketing proposals were submitted by universities and research institutions.

The ideas competition is designed to promote measures and activities that enhance the visibility and appeal of German research abroad and attract highly qualified researchers, either to participate in collaborative projects with German researchers or to visit Germany for research purposes. "In an increasingly interconnected world, the importance of international research marketing cannot be emphasised enough. The ideas competition provides an opportunity to develop creative ideas for marketing a research location, try out novel activities and pursue new approaches in international research marketing," said DFG Secretary General Prof. Dorothee Dzwonnek.

The winning ideas impressed the international selection panel, consisting of research managers and experts in internationalisation, communication and marketing, with their potential and visibility. The panel of judges especially commented on the fact that each project was perfectly tailored to the individual institution and its own research marketing strategies. The modern ideas for increasing the international visibility of German research and attracting more researchers to Germany are model concepts that will also provide inspiration to others.

The proposal designed by Forschungszentrum Jülich envisages a knowledge and technology transfer bridge between Germany and Africa in the areas of soil science, nutrition and hydrology. It has two main components: a training unit in terrestrial modelling followed by an interactive 'hackathon' in Africa. This will enable African researchers to partner with German experts on site to discuss models and further develop software. Both measures will be given media coverage by an African journalist, other media partners and social media activities.

The focus of the research marketing proposal submitted by the University of Münster is on international female researchers and their career development. Through the campaign, the university aims to raise Germany's international profile as a family-friendly and gender-sensitive setting for top-level research of an excellent standard. It has designed a network specifically for this target group with special funding opportunities and support structures for women, known as WiRe - Women in Research. The initiative is intended to send out a clear message that will have considerable impact and visibility. Through an authentic communication strategy involving international female role models from the WiRe project, the university plans to reach out to and recruit female early career researchers from all over the world.

The research marketing proposal presented by the University Alliance Ruhr, a strategic alliance between the University of Duisburg-Essen, Ruhr University Bochum and TU Dortmund, focuses on a central and dynamic group which the universities will target in a joint approach for the research site. The University Alliance Ruhr will support 30 junior professors and heads of independent junior research groups working in materials science to help them establish their own international networks. The target group will be able to invite international postdoctoral researchers to participate in the joint development of funding proposals and implementation of research projects.

The special start-up prize went to the German Sport University Cologne. The Sport University intends to forge partnerships with full universities in the parent disciplines of sports science: social sciences, humanities and life sciences. Using the example of the football World Cup, the German Sport University will host a Sport Science Slam World Cup. Early career researchers from all over the world with creative communication ideas will be invited to submit short videos outlining their research profiles. Twenty of them will be invited to Cologne to present their individual research projects and possible starting points for research cooperation. The Science Slam will be accompanied by a programme of science-related events as well as sports and cultural activities. The proposal combines the socially relevant topic of sports with top-level research and the third mission - the dissemination of scientific knowledge through good stories - in an original way.

The DFG Ideas Competition is part of the International Research Marketing project, a joint project of the DFG, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG). The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the initiative 'Promote Innovation and Research in Germany'.


Further Information

For more information about the DFG ideas competition 'International Research Marketing', please visit:

Media contact:

DFG Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2109,

DFG Head Office contact:

Vera Pfister, International Affairs, Tel. +49 228 885-2937,

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