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DFG: Information on travel activity in the funding application

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is anchoring the idea of ecological sustainability in its funding activities. Reflecting on travel in the research project should be considered according to the new catalog of guiding questions.


In the future, the environmental impact of research - including travel in research projects - must already be considered in the funding application. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is the largest research funding organization in Germany and thus also helps to shape the framework conditions for the scientific system. In June 2023, recommendations were made for "anchoring the concept of sustainability in DFG funding activities" (in German), which focus primarily on ecological sustainability besides the social and economic dimension. According to these recommendations, funding proposals should be supplemented by the applicants with considerations on sustainability aspects in the research process and on possible reduction potentials in the additional information.

A list of guiding questions serves as an orientation as to which aspects could be considered in terms of an environmentally friendly and resource-saving design of research processes. On top of the list is the "reflection of travel activity". Various exemplary starting points and subquestions are listed that can be taken into consideration:

  • Digital communication
  • Adaptation of means of transport and routes (e.g. train instead of flight)
  • Linking of multiple destinations
  • Prioritization of (more expensive) direct flights when travel to distant destinations is necessary
  • Quantitative estimation of environmental impact (GHG emissions)  
  • Use of digital or hybrid formats for organizing meetings


The FlyingLess project welcomes this advance of the DFG and the direct address of the reflection of the travel activity. Already available products of FlyingLess like the Guideline Measures and the GHG monitoring tool can support the reflection of travel activity. Further products from the project like the FlyingLess Toolbox and a Travel Desicion Tool will follow soon.

Click here for the DFG press release (in German).