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Call for ProposalsExplorer Call 2022


Explorer Projects aim to initiate novel research concepts in a forward-looking research domain, involving different disciplines and crossing different scales in experimental design. Joint projects of at least one junior research group and at least one other research group from different fields and institutions are financially supported for up to two years, in order to create the basis for subsequent third-party funding. If necessary and useful, cooperation partners from industry can be involved. The projects are selected by the Research Council and if applicable other experts in a competitive process. Explorer Projects represent a central funding line of the Research Council of the Molecular Foundations of Life, Health, and Disease, Field of Focus 1 (FoF1) / Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences.


The funding duration is two years with a maximum amount of funding of 110.000 EUR in 2023, and 190.000 EUR in 2024 per project. A project can be co-supported by own funds.


Proposals are limited to 5 pages and may be submitted by members of the Field of Focus 1. At least 2 groups from different Field of Focus 1 institutions (Faculty of Biosciences, Faculty of Engineering, Faculties of Medicine Heidelberg and Mannheim, DKFZ, EMBL, MPl-mF, ZI) should work jointly on the project proposed, with at least one independent junior group leader being involved. Applicants and their affiliations need to be listed in the proposal. The proposal should highlight interdisciplinary aspects of the project.

The Field of Focus 1-budget of the Explorer Project has to be administered by a University member. 

The proposal should include the following sections:

  • Short summary (<150 words)
  • Project outline: Central research question; Status quo and, if applicable, own preliminary work; objectives of the project and methods; interdisciplinary aspects
  • Detailed budget outline
  • Confirmation of sufficient lab space to realize the project
  • References
  • Information on applicants (including name, affiliation, list of currently funded projects with those highlighted that have a direct link to the proposed Explorer Project)


After the submission deadline, the Research Council will select up to six applicants to present their project in front of the Research Council. The selection is based on the following selection criteria (listed in order of importance): timeliness of research question, high risk / high gain aspect of proposed project, interdisciplinarity, networking effect for campus. Following the presentation and subsequent discussion, the Research Council will evaluate in depth which projects best fulfil the selection criteria and endorse those for funding by the Rectorate. The Research Council can involve additional experts for advice in this process. A report is expected from successful applicants at the end of the funding period.


    Deadline for proposal submission is September 16, 2022. Proposals should be sent in a single pdf and with the subject line “FoF1-ExplorerProject-2022” to: fof1@uni-heidelberg.de

    Proposals submitted after the deadline cannot be taken into account. Please address your proposal to the Research Council Field of Focus 1. Please contact Dr. Andrea Leibfried via email in case of questions: andrea.leibfried@bioquant.uni-heidelberg.de