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Frequently Asked Questions

Call for Proposals

„Seed-Funding to stimulate third-party funds for the expansion of existing or the establishment of new research infrastructure in the humanities and social sciences”

Generally, seed funding is used to fund the earliest stages of a project, potentially up to the point of launching the project. This call specifically funds projects aimed at preparing a full application to a third-party funder, for example to the DFG or to one of the research-funding foundations (Stiftungen).

The term “research infrastructure” comprises a wide range of facilities for research, such as

  • technical devices and large equipment for cutting-edge research technologies
  • digital platforms
  • scientific information systems, collections, libraries, archives, research data collections
  • open access systems and research data management systems

Please refer to section 3 (Scope of the Funding) in the Call for Proposals document for examples and further detail.

Yes, only one applicant needs to be rooted in the social sciences and humanities. Also, it does not matter if an application is submitted through Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin or Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

At least two from two different partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance are required.

No. Successful projects need to be innovative and original, and involve two institutions. In many cases this will involve interdisciplinary aspects or a component of transferability to other disciplines (example: projects in the digital humanities). In some applications, it may be the case that interdisciplinarity constitutes the main aspect of innovation in the project.

Yes. In such a case, the Steering Committee member will be excluded from any further matters regarding the call such as the review process.

Please note: Members of the Steering Committee 5 are excluded from an application for this seed funding call.

Affiliated institutes (“An-Institute”) are not eligible to apply. However, individuals, e.g. professors of an “An-Institut” with affiliation to an institution of the Berlin University Alliance, are eligible to apply through this institution.

Students and PhD students / doctoral candidates cannot act as applicants for seed funding, but their contracts can be topped with the granted amount.

We welcome the preparation of proposals of infrastructures for Gender and Critical Diversity Studies as well as for research-oriented teaching to strengthen the alliance project Culture Change for an integrated research environment.

To ensure equality and diversity, applications from women as well as from groups of people underrepresented in science (e.g. individuals with diversity characteristics such as disabilities, migration experience, first-generation researchers, etc.) are especially welcome.

In any case, applicants must be willing to network within the Berlin University Alliance with other relevant projects or objectives, in particular Objective 3 - Advancing Research Quality and Value, or CCTs (Cross Cutting Themes: Diversity and Gender Equality, Teaching and Learning, Internationalization), in the event of approval under this call for proposals.

Funding is specifically and exclusively provided for preparing a full project application to a third-party funding agency, such as the DFG, a research funding foundation (Stiftung), or another third-party funder.

Funding is provided for projects with material and personnel resources (incl. student assistants), as well as investment funds (excluding construction costs) in accordance with budgetary law and BUA institution’s regulations. However please note that no new personnel can be hired. It is possible to top up contracts of existing staff (“Aufstockung”).

Third-party institutions or scientists, i.e. researchers who are not members of a Berlin University Alliance institution (which is defined as “having an employment contract of a minimum of 50% FTE”) cannot act as applicants. However, it is possible to name further external cooperation partners. Importantly, these must state their financial contributions in advance.

Funding is provided for 12 months.

Approved funds are tied to the budget year according to the funded project period. Carryover of funds to the following year must be requested from BUA office of the relevant institution (Stabsstelle) by 1st September of the current year and should not exceed 20 percent. Similarly, by 1st September of the year, funds that are not needed must be reported to the BUA Stabsstelle of the relevant institution.

Seed funding projects can apply for a minimum of € 25,000 and maximum amount of € 50,000 for the funding period of 12 months.

At the discretion of the review panel and depending on the demand, applicants may not receive all the funding that they applied for.

Funding is provided as university budgetary funds (“Haushaltsmittel”). As such, the state budgetary regulations and guidelines of the Alliance's institutions apply. Additionally, this means that the German law on fixed-term contracts in academia (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG) applies to staff employed as “Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter” and these positions come with a teaching obligation (“Lehrdeputat”).

The funds are to be used economically.

Approved funds are university budgetary funds and are tied to the budget year in accordance with the funded project duration. They are earmarked and are to be used exclusively for personnel, material and investment funds according to the approved budget plan. Personnel, material and investment funds are generally fungible; however, the balance between the types of expenditure should not exceed 20 percent.

No, since the funding is provided as university budgetary funds.

There will be no follow-up funding within the BUA. It is an essential part of this call that only projects who are aimed at a full proposal to a third-party funding agency will be funded. Within all applications, a long-term perspective within the Alliance or outside must be formulated.

Yes, if you intend to submit a proposal, kindly inform the Call Manger (Dr. Ingeborg Lasser) by 5 December 2021 by sending an email to: sharing-resorces@berlin-university-alliance.de 

Please provide a provisional list of PIs as well as a preliminary project title (including an acronym).

No. It does not matter if an application is submitted through Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin or Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Applications may only be submitted in the form of two documents: one Pdf document plus a budget plan in as Excel-file. Please send both documents to: sharing-resorces@berlin-university-alliance.de 

The deadline for submission is January 31, 2022 at 3 pm. More information on the submission criteria can be found on the call website.

An application should be submitted as two documents: a single Pdf document plus one Excel file containing the budget plan.

The necessary information for an application is listed in the Call for Proposal document. The document and helpful templates for the submitting can be found on the call website.

No. Only one project can be submitted per applicant.

On the basis of the written reviews (see next question) a ranking list will be created. On the basis of this ranking, competent members of the BUA steering committees will select up to six projects for funding.

Projects are assessed as follows:

  1. An initial check for completeness of submitted documents and formal fulfillment of eligibility criteria is carried out by the Administrative Unit of the “Sharing Resources” Objective of the BUA. In case of formal deficiencies, the applicant will be asked to correct the deficiencies.
  2. After the initial check, all proposals will be assessed in a written review by two experts on the topic of research; one of the experts will be external to the BUA. Experts will be chosen in line with the regulations for preventing the effects of biases. Reviewers will also be asked to write a brief review summary which will be sent to the applicants.
  3. The review is based on scores and explanations of reviewers. These are based on the eligibility and evaluation criteria (see sections 4 and 6.2 of the Call for Proposals document).
  4. The selection committee will base their funding decision on the final numerical ranking created from the written and scored reviews. The funding decision will be documented.

Leading PIs have to submit a final report. No progress report is required.

Yes. All applicants must inform their corresponding dean’s offices and administrative departments (BUA ‘Stabsstelle’). Please use the ‘Anzeigebögen für Projekte der Berlin University Alliance‘ provided on the call website.