General Information

The DFG Priority Programme "Antarctic Research" is the most important funding instrument for German Antarctic research, with an annual funding volume of approximately 2.7 million euros. Scientists at German universities and research institutions that want to conduct research primarily in Antarctica or on Antarctic topics are eligible for funding. Comparative investigations in the Arctic are possible.

Applications can be submitted every year. The deadline is usually the first week of November. If an application is approved, funding for the project begins in July/August of the following year.

About 6-8 weeks before this deadline, the SPP Coordination Office always organises a coordination workshop in September of each year (see "Workshop"), at which applicants present their project proposal in a short presentation, and current project holders and applicants for a continuation of their projects report on their results by means of a poster.mandatory for all new applicants and currently funded project-holders. The coordination workshop serves to provide mutual information, e.g. on questions of logistics in the polar regions, and to coordinate and cooperate with colleagues within the SPP, as interdisciplinary applications are particularly welcome. Thus, active participation in the coordination workshop is a basic prerequisite for a successful application in the SPP 1158. Furthermore, there is an obligation to cooperate in SPP 1158 between full-time scientists of non-university research institutions (e.g. Helmholtz) and a German university. This is intended to ensure that universities in particular are funded by the DFG's Priority Programme. Information sheet 55.01 Cooperation Obligation (German) as PDF.

Applications with all enclosures and the "Application form for application to the SPP 1158" must be submitted via the DFG ELAN-Portal (DFG Electronic Proposal Processing System). Information on the elan user account and on submitting proposals via the DFG elan portal can be found  here.

To create the elan application user account for the SPP Antarctic Research application, please follow the link below:

In addition, please send a copy of your application with the "Accompanying Form for Application to the SPP" and the form data (copy of the data when submitting the application in the elan portal (see example) but without further attachments by mail to the SPP Coordination Office (SPP-Antarktisforschung(at)

Please submit your application in accordance with the information sheets 50.01, 50.05 and 54.01 (also available under Downloads).

Applications must be submitted in English. The project cost plan must be presented in both English and German.

New applications can be submitted for a funding period of up to three years. It is possible to submit individual applications (one main applicant), joint applications (several main applicants with separately reported costs) and project bundles (single and joint applications as a project association).

For renewal applications, a one-year funding period continues to apply. Select your current project in ELAN for which a renewal application is to be submitted. The linked project title takes you to the application form.

The application must be submitted together with the accompanying form for the application to the priority programme “Antarctic Research with Comparative Investigations in Arctic Ice Areas SPP 1158".

In the "Antarctic research" priority programme, cooperation for non-university institutions is desirable, as in the normal procedure (i.e. 51% of funding by a university partner). The exception to this is the application for an own position.

For doctoral positions, a maximum of 67% of a full academic position (67% TVL 13) may be held for all disciplines.

Under "Other Applicants", only co-operation partners or scientists who make a significant contribution (independent contribution with regard to content) to the project must be indicated in the online procedure.

Logistical Planning

Participation in undertakings of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI):

As a matter of principle, the AWI cannot pay the travel and transport costs to and from the port of deployment of the FS POLARSTERN for scientists outside the institute. Funding for this as well as any costs for medical examinations and mountain training courses can be applied for at the DFG and must be specified in the cost plan of the application.

If trips with FS Polarstern are planned, please state the corresponding code number in your application (see "Logistics" for information).

Even if you are planning a polar expedition without assistance from the AWI, the AWI must be informed about it.

Participation in undertakings of German institutions (e.g. BGR Hannover) or foreign institutions:

Funding can be applied for from the DFG for the corresponding costs, provided they are not covered by the basic equipment or special funds of the respective institute or host institution. It must be checked beforehand whether the necessary equipment can be provided on loan by the research institute carrying out the project.

Research work in the Dallmann Laboratory on King George Island:

Please note, that the future of the Dallmann laboratory on King George Island beyond 2020 is currently uncertain, as the AWI will not renew the respective contract with Argentina. If there is need for using an Antarctic field station in your project, please contact the coordination office, as we may be able to help finding an alternative.

Research work at the German-French Arctic Research Base AWIPEV (formerly Koldewey Station) Spitsbergen:

Research stays planned here must be registered with the AWI Potsdam by September 30th of the previous year, see Further information from Dr Roland Neuber (Roland.Neuber(at)

Authorisation requirement for research activities in the Antarctic:

The Law on "Implementation of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty on 4 October 1991” must be observed. Thus, scientific activities in Antarctica that were organized in the Federal Republic of Germany or originate in its territory are subject to approval. If research activities in Antarctica are planned in your proposal, the necessary notification and/or approval procedures by the Federal Environment Agency must be completed, if possible, before the application is submitted to the DFG.

Compliance with the rules of Antarctic environmental protection:

The Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty requires that all Antarctic researchers be briefed on the requirements of Antarctic environmental protection. For this reason, a two-day seminar focusing on environmental protection is held annually by the Alfred Wegener Institute. All persons conducting scientific work in the Antarctic are required to attend. The Alfred Wegener Institute will invite you separately at the required time. If you need a travel grant, you can contact the priority programme coordinator, Professor Ulf Karsten, (Ulf.Karsten(at),

to apply for this grant directly.

Questions and contact persons:

For questions of a formal nature, please contact Ute Bennerscheid (+49 (0)228/885-2455, Ute.Bennerscheid(at)
For technical questions, please contact Dr Susanne Faulhaber (+49 (0)228/885-2363, Susanne.Faulhaber(at)


Rules for sampling in Antarctica

In principle, any activity that is to be carried out in Antarctica and is organised in Germany or emanates from German territory is subject to the authorisation of the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA). An application for the authorisation to carry out the planned activities must be submitted to the UBA at least 3 months before the start of the trip.

This is based on the Law on the Implementation of the Environmental Protection Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty (Environmental Protocol Execution Act, AUG).

An exception to the authorisation requirement exists if the activity has been authorised by another party to the Environmental Protection Protocol, e.g. through a foreign collaborator. In this case, the UBA shall be informed of the activity, and the foreign authorisation shall be submitted to the UBA.

In principle, any extraction from nature or any work harmful to the Antarctic flora and fauna is prohibited. However, in individual cases, an exemption may be granted for such activities, e.g. for scientific studies or for the procurement of scientific information.

The Nagoya Protocol for Access and Benefit Sharing and the corresponding EU regulation do not apply directly to Antarctica, since Antarctica is a state-free area, i.e. no state exercises sovereign rights here.

Statement of the German Federal Environment Agency (in German only)