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NSF 15-059

Dear Colleague Letter: Research Opportunities in Germany for NSF CAREER Awardees


To further scientific and technological cooperation between the scientific communities of Germany and the United States, a Letter of Intent was signed on May 27, 2014 to enable U.S.-based scientists and engineers with NSF-funded CAREER awards to pursue research collaboration with colleagues supported through German Research Foundation (DFG) grants.

Connecting researchers with complementary strengths and shared interests promotes scientific progress in solving some of the world's most vexing problems. This international research opportunity is mutually beneficial to the U.S. participants and their hosts through cooperative activities during research visits and also by establishing international research partnerships to enrich future research activities in Germany and the U.S.

Under the Letter of Intent, the DFG identifies DFG-funded research groups who wish to host CAREER awardees for research visits of up to one year in connection with their DFG funding. This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) invites current CAREER awardees to apply for supplemental funding to support travel for research visits to any identified, appropriate DFG-funded research group. Further, the DCL gives instructions on how to apply and other relevant policies and requirements.

DFG hosts a web page with links to a database of DFG-funded principal investigators and research teams eligible to host NSF CAREER awardees:

CAREER awardees should communicate directly with DFG-funded PIs to ascertain areas of mutual interest and research goals as well as modalities for a visit. They then must discuss their plans for their visits with the cognizant NSF Program Officer prior to submitting a supplemental funding request.



Activities are subject to availability of funds and all applicable laws, regulations, policies, and programs of the DFG and NSF.


Only CAREER awardees with active awards may apply. For definition, research visits of less than 6 months are considered short-term, whereas visits of 6 months to one year are long-term visits. The maximum visit duration is limited to 12 months. The visit(s) should begin at least 12 months prior to the initial expiration date of the NSF CAREER award.


NSF CAREER awardees may apply for a single short-term or long-term research visit or multiple short-term visits. Multiple short-term visits should aggregate to an agreed-upon number of visits and minimum time, e.g., 6 months.

CAREER awardees will continue to receive NSF funding during the period of their visit to the DFG-funded research laboratory, and their salaries may be covered in accordance with the award terms and conditions. NSF will provide supplemental funding to the CAREER award for the foreign travel expenses of the awardee for short-term visits and, if requested, for the awardee plus (conditional on the availability of funds) for qualified family members (as defined in the Federal travel regulations) for long-term visits.

In-country costs should be provided from the existing DFG funding in accordance with applicable national laws and regulations, commensurate with the level of experience of the CAREER awardee. These in-country costs may include subsistence on a per diem basis, or other appropriate arrangement by the host institution. Other eligible costs incurred during the visit that are directly related to the DFG-funded project may also be allowed and should be agreed with the DFG-funded host prior to submitting the request.

CAREER awardees will be expected to report on the research visits in their annual and final project reports, as appropriate, and may be asked to participate in follow-up evaluation activities.


Research visits will be funded for NSF CAREER awardees as supplements to their awards. Supplemental funding requests will be prepared in accordance with standard policies and procedures using FastLane following consultation with the cognizant Program Officer.

The supplemental request consists of:

  • description of the research to be performed during the visit(s) at the host location, and how it relates to current research and more broadly to career goals (no more than 3 pages).
  • 2-page biographical sketch of the U.S. PI.
  • 2-page biographical sketch of the European collaborator.
  • time-line for the proposed activity.
  • IRB, IACUC, permits, and/or other special clearances needed, if any.
  • budget and budget justification.
  • communication from the department chair of the U.S. PI (uploaded as a supplementary document) endorsing the visit and its duration.
  • communication from the DFG-funded PI host (uploaded as a supplementary document) indicating:
    1. how the proposed project fits within the DFG project;
    2. facilities and resources to be made available to the CAREER awardee, and;
    3. expectations that the DFG PI host has for the visit.
  • communication from the DFG host institution (uploaded as a supplementary document) indicating their endorsement.

Supplement requests should be submitted a minimum of 6 months prior to the proposed visit.

NSF may share the supplemental request in its entirety with DFG staff and the DFG-funded host PI.


For further information, please contact the cognizant Program Officer for your CAREER award.