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Top Level – Cross-Locational – Structure-Forming

Collaborative Research Centers (CRC) and Transregios (TRR)

Collaborative Research Centers (CRC) and their location-distributed variant Transregio (TRR) represent the most prestigious funding of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) outside the Excellence Strategy. Collaborative Research Centers (CRC) are large, open-topic, and interdisciplinary research collaborations lasting up to 12 years, which allow participating researchers to engage in long-term research on innovative, basic research-oriented issues. A Collaborative Research Center is a distinction of the international level of research and functions as a structure-building element and research focus of the university. The two-stage application process takes about 2 years and requires a special degree of internal university coordination.

Characteristics of the program


The Collaborative Research Center or Transregio format places special demands on the interdisciplinary and cross-department research program, which is composed of individual, coherent subprojects, as well as on the spokesperson, who must be specially qualified and have the corresponding management competence. This form of collaborative funding is unique in its funding period of up to 12 years and its intended special significance for the formation of structures at the applicant university. It enables the processing of very complex and demanding research topics based on special preliminary work and own resources.

Yellow sticky notes © Kelly Sikkema ​/​ Unsplash
Application processes at TU Dortmund University

Specifics in the application for CRC/TRR

Applications for Collaborative Research Centers are submitted in an elaborate two-step application process, which requires careful coordination of all parties involved at the university. In total, the process takes about 2 years until approval. At the DFG, decisions on setting up a CRC are made only twice a year – at the end of May and the end of November, which is what the schedule is based on.
Please contact us as early as possible.

TU Dortmund University accompanies the application process of Collaborative Research Centers and Transregios and offers financial support for the application process. TU Dortmund University has developed application processes for the best possible support of its researchers.

Application processes

Services and contact persons

TU Dort­mund University supports the acquisition of Collaborative Research Centres, among other things, by financial support for personnel for the preparation of an outline as well as for the preparation of a full proposal. In addition, a MERCUR Sprint funding [website in German only] can be applied for the preparation of full proposals.

The Rectorate provides support as early as the first step in brainstorming and forming a consortium for a DFG collaborative project. Contact person in the Rectorate is Dr. Gunter Friedrich.

The team member of the Grants Services responsible for your Department will be happy to assist you in submitting a proposal to the DFG. The range of services offered by Research Support Services includes:

  • coordination of contact persons within the university administration
  • annotated templates and guidelines
  • text modules on cross-sectional topics such as research data management, support for early career researchers, and equal opportunities
  • comprehensive advice in all phases of the application process
  • strategic feedback on your proposal
  • support in the planning and preparation of on-site review
Team photo of Grants Services © OK et al. ​/​ TU Dortmund

Further information