Establishing a National Research Data Infrastructure – NFDI

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In November 2018, the German federal and state goverments have decided to establish a National Research Data Infrastructure, NFDI for short.


The aim of the national research data infrastructure (NFDI) is to systematically manage scientific and research data, provide long-term data storage, backup and accessibility, and integrate the data both nationally and internationally. The NFDI will bring multiple stakeholders together in a coordinated network of consortia tasked with providing science-driven data services to research communities.

DFG – German Research Foundation



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According to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the goals of the NFDI are summarized as follows:

The NFDI is intended

  • to improve the access to research data systematically and in the long term
  • to tap and secure decentralized, project-based, temporarily stored data inventories
  • to create a comprehensive, integrated structure of interconnected consortia
  • to bring together providers and users
  • to develop standard for an interopable research data management
  • to create a common basis for research data in terms of data protection, sovereignty, integrity and quality
  • to develop service offerings
  • to ensure international competitiveness

Core elements of the NFDI are the Consortial Assembly, the Scientific Senate, and the Directorate. In May 2019, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) informed Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT that the NFDI directorate will be located in Karlsruhe. In March 2020, Professor York Sure-Vetter was appointed NFDI director. Further information are provided on

Process and Planned Consortia

During the two five-year funding periods, up to 90 million euros will be provided annually for the establishment of up to 30 consortia. The call for proposals will be managed by the DFG. In total, there will be three rounds of calls to select successful consortial proposals, each held in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Nine consportia from the first round were selected to receive funding on June 26, 2020.

  • NFDI4Culture – Consortium for Research Data on Material and Immaterial Cultural Heritage (Humanities)
  • KonsortSWD – Consortium proposal for the Social, Behavioural, Educational, and Economic Sciences (Social Sciences)
  • GHGA – The German Human Genome-Phenome Archive (Medicine)
  • NFDI4Health – National Research Data Infrastructure for Personal Health Data (Medicine)
  • DataPLANT – Fundamental Plant Research (Biology)
  • NFDI4BioDiversität – Biodiversity, Ecology, and Environmental Data (Biology)
  • NFDI4Cat – NFDI for Catalysis-Related Sciences (Chemistry)
  • NFDI4Chem – Chemistry Consortium in the NFDI (Chemistry)
  • NFDI4Ing – National Research Data Infrastructure for Engineering Sciences (Engineering Sciences)

RWTH will receive funding as the main applicant in the NFDI4Ing consortium and as co-applicant in the NDFI4Cat and NFDI4Chem consortia.

When deciding the successful proposals, the GWK followed the recommendations of the NFDI expert panel, which proposed the nine initiatives for funding following an intensive review and evaluation process by the GWK. You can view the DFG's statistical evaluation of the funded consortia in German.

Some of the NFDI consortia that the GWK selected for the first funding round have already made their consortium proposals available to the public. You can view these proposals at the recently created NFDI Zenodo Community Collection.

Next Steps

From the beginning of November to mid-December, the second-round proposals will be reviewed and discussed in virtual formats. In February 2021, the results of the review process will be communicated to the consortia, who can then submit a statement on the result of the review.

A meeting of the expert committtee is scheduled to take place at the end of March 2021. Recommendations for funding will then be communicated to the Joint Science Conference GWK. For further information, please also vitis the DFG website.

An overview of all consortia planned so far is available for download: Proposal-submitting consortia (de).


If you have any NFDI-related questions, please contact the ServiceDesk. The RDM Team is looking forward to receiving your questions and comments!