The following questions and answers have been collected in our email conversations. We would like to share them here.
Disclaimer: All answers reflect the opinion and experience of the program initiators. An independent board of reviewers will eventually decide on the selection of projects together with DFG representatives.
Topic: Phase #1 Project Proposals
- “Is it possible to know the number of projects that will receive a grant?”
No. We can only say that the granted total budget for the SPP should be sufficient to fund about 20 PhD students. The number of accepted projects will depend on their average volume.
- “Are the proposed projects supposed to be interdisciplinary?”
No. Interdisciplinary projects are fine, but it is not a requirement. The idea of an SPP is to strategically strengthen research in an emerging field and to bring together researchers who haven’t collaborated before. Under the umbrella of the SPP they can exchange their ideas and start collaboration for mutual benefit. Eventually, this will lead to interdisciplinary research, but not necessarily within the individual projects. Feel free to propose a project in your individual area of expertise if you can contribute to the goals of the program.
- “What kind of consortium is expected? Is a large consortium (4 partners) okay, each partner asking for one Ph.D. position?”
A project with four partners would be unusual for an SPP. Typical project sizes in an SPP are the same as for DFG’s Individual Research Grants. It is likely that most projects will apply for one or two Ph.D. students.
- “Would it be fine to submit the proposal in a team of two PIs or do we need to submit the grant as a single PI?”
Single-PI and double-PI proposals are both possible. Of course, if you apply for two PhD students instead of one, more output is expected. We would recommend to explain in the proposal why the tight collaboration of the two PIs is important for the goal of the project, e.g. different areas of expertise. Ideally, you should also have joint preliminary work, which proves that you can work together successfully. Keep in mind, that in an SPP cooperation is expected across the participating projects. That holds for double-PI projects as well. Collaboration with your partner alone is not enough.
- “Is there is a special procedure for submitting an SPP 2377 project proposal or is it the same as for DFG ‘Individual Research Grants’?”
An SPP project proposal is very similar in to a proposal for an ‘Individual Research Grant’ in structure and length. The DFG provides a lot of information in SPPs and how to write your proposal (available in German and English):
Make sure that you have an ELAN account, because the proposals are submitted electronically. The proposal must be written in English, as it is very likely that DFG will international reviewers. You apply for the first funding period of three years. Within ELAN make sure that the proposals is submitted as a proposal for SPP 2377.
- “Can we use the SPP funding to develop new ‘disruptive’ memory technology?”
If you mean by “development” research in the area of physics or device-level (electrical) engineering, this is not intended. Even though such research is very interesting and relevant, this SPP has its focus on the software implications of novel memory technologies. The technology should ideally already exist so that empirical research can be conducted. However, computer architecture research that builds upon and improves disruptive memory technology would fit into the scope of the SPP if prototyping is feasible, e.g. based on FPGAs.
- “We have a project with more than one PI. Can our project proposal have extra pages?”
No. We have asked the DFG about this and the answer was clear: As stated in the DFG guidelines, the section 1 to 4 may have 15 pages and the remaining sections another 10 pages. Also note that there are specific requirements on font size, line spacing. etc.