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One-year Directorship of the International Research Cluster at CIF

Call for Applications

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Director of the International Research Cluster at CIF 

The University of Cologne funds one international research cluster at CIF every year. Scholars at the University of Cologne can apply to take on the coordination of the cluster and thus realise up to five internationalisation projects/sub-projects with a common theme. The cluster can be part of a new or an existent comprehensive research proposal.

A total sum of €65,000 is available for the realisation of the internationalisation projects. The sub-projects can be carried out by the director of the cluster and their international partners or, on their invitation, by participating University of Cologne-based researchers and their international partners. The projects are to take place within the course of one year.


In 2022, applications must be submitted by September 30th; in following years the deadline for applications will be March 31st.

Applications are open to professors and PIs at the University of Cologne with a research theme/proposal with an overarching character (e.g. compatible topic, interdisciplinary character, regional or sector orientation etc.), which would be decisively enhanced or expanded by international partners and bi- or multilateral cooperation. 

The application should include detailed information on the research proposal (timeframe, financing, people/institutions involved, theme) and an explanation of how the cluster additionally drives the research forward and serves its internationalisation. 

Application form

The selection will be made by the academic board of the CIF and announced in November 2022, or in June from 2023.


Selection Criteria:

  • academic significance of the proposal (e.g. academic relevance, innovation and originality; where applicable, special interdisciplinary orientation)
  • strategic relevance of the research theme (e.g. in what way does the planned cluster contribute to the image of the University of Cologne or the faculty? Relevance to higher education policy and/or on a macrosocial level)
  • added value of the internationalisation measures (e.g. in what way does the research proposal profit from the measures; academic necessity of the measures)
  • innovative character of these measures (e.g. originality of content; special formats of cooperation; constructive inclusion of teaching and junior academic development) 
  • contribution to sustainable international relationships (e.g. development of more sustained international relationships; institutionalisation approaches; likelihood of follow-on projects or continued cooperation; interdisciplinary expansion)


After the funding is awarded, the director has up to six months to complete the detailed planning of up to five individual measures (sub-projects), which should be realised within a period of one year after the end of the planning period. An earlier start of the measures may be negotiable. An extension is not foreseen and also barely possible in practice due to the cluster character of the funding. Funds not spent within this period are forfeited in favour of other CIF projects.

Up to €25,000 can be spent on materials per individual measure or sub-project – within the framework of the total sum and depending on the total number of projects. At least 3 and a maximum of 5 individual projects, which can be arranged and financed in various different ways, are expected.

Realisation must include at least three events at CIF in which the project is presented, with substantial preliminary results, to the university and a wider external public.

A short report and a cost breakdown must be submitted for each measure once the funds have been spent.


Format and eligibility of measures:

The director is free to decide the format the individual measures will take, although usual budgetary rules must be respected.

The measures should clearly and recognisably drive internationalisation forward and be assignable to one of the following categories:

  • international institutional cooperation (e.g. with an international research institute or professorship)
  • international cooperation with colleagues (with individual researchers from international HEIs/research institutes)
  • interdisciplinary international collaboration 
  • collaboration with a project-related geographical link
  • comparative or methodological complementary cooperation. 

If the funds are to be procured for new/additional measures, the cluster can also follow on from already approved third-party funded or completed projects. If the application takes place in conjunction with an already approved third-party project, the application documents and notices of approval from this project are to be enclosed. However, CIF funds can not be used to fill funding gaps; they should be used explicitly for as yet unplanned measures, which enrich the project through their international character.

The sub-projects should be output-oriented and are to be concluded with a specifically defined and documented result (e.g. workshop/conference, publication, working paper, expert report, recorded lecture or lecture series, web archive/OER). They can stand alone or be a cumulative part of final results.


Eligible measures can be, for example:

  • Research stay in Cologne (max. 3 months at €3,000)
  • Non-residential (not specific to a location) research grants (max. 3 months x 3,000 €)
  • Awarding writing grants 
  • Clearly defined research commissions for field research, literature report, comparative studies, source/archive appraisal etc.
  • Hybrid cooperation
  • Workshops (on-site/hybrid/digital)
  • Conference preparation/realisation
  • Mutual teaching projects (e.g. hybrid seminars/lecture series/tandem teaching)
  • Individual lectures or lecture series
  • Expert research reports
  • Mobility/travel funds (up to 40% of the project funds also for travel and short stays by UoC project personnel)
  • Fees (for international authors/conference participants/speakers)
  • Undergraduate/research assistant to support project (max. 4 months per sub-project)
  • Necessary administrative costs related to the project (e.g. printing costs, software, hardware, special technology. Standard products such as laptops, tablets, webcams etc. only in justified exceptional cases)
  • …and many more….

Budgetary limitations and requirements are to be respected. Please refer to the Guidelines for the Use of CIF-Funds.



First round of calls for proposals in 2022: Call from July 1st to September 30th 2022, selection on November 15th 2022, detailed planning by the end of February 2023, project period March 1st 2023 to February 28th 2024 (or earlier), submission of short reports/cost breakdown.

From 2023:

March 31st 2023: Deadline for applications
June 15th 2023: Nomination of the director
Dec 15th 2023: Completion of detailed planning (An early project start, where applicable from autumn, is possible.)
By Dec 31st 2024: Carrying out of the sub-projects (incl. events at CIF)
Feb 28th 2025:  Submission of short reports/cost breakdown