Call for Proposals 1st Phase (closed 08/2010)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established the Priority Programme “Evolutionary Plant Solutions to Ecological Challenges: Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Adaptive Traits in the Brassicaceae s.l. (Adaptomics)”. The programme is designed to run for six years.

Natural diversity enables plants to thrive in a multitude of habitats and manifests itself in a plethora of plant forms and responses to the environment. Research in this Priority Programme will dissect the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying traits in the Brassicaceae and its sister family Cleomaceae, examine the relevance of specific sequence variation for plant performance in the natural environment, and infer its evolutionary role. Through its focus on relatives of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the Priority Programme capitalises on the uniquely well developed knowledge, tools and resources available for this species. “Adaptomics” furthermore takes advantage of the full scope of opportunities arising from the current revolution in sequencing technologies as a central enabling tool.

Applications are now invited for the initial Priority Programme phase of three years. Research projects will investigate traits such as floral structure, breeding system, annual versus perennial life cycle, C4 versus C3 photosynthesis, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and plant architecture. Each project will combine at least two of the following research activities: (1) assessment and analysis of phenotypic or genetic diversity within and between natural populations or species; (2) identification of genes and alleles governing trait variation, as well as the determination of physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying population- or species-specific traits; (3) determination of the selective, evolutionary and/or ecological relevance of variation in specific genetic sequence and causally linked traits; (4) and genome-wide analysis and enabling approaches for use in (2) and (3) and for tracing evolutionary genome dynamics. Projects providing methodological platforms and resources to accelerate comparative analyses, such as germplasm collections, sequence data, markers, and web-based comparative genomics, bioinformatics and software platforms and databases are also encouraged. Proposals for these latter projects should be drafted in close consultation with the steering committee in order to meet the requirement of a particularly good integration with the research programme of the SPP.

The focus of this programme is on questions that complement work in Arabidopsis thaliana, using alternative model species which fulfil the following criteria (in the order of priorities): accessible natural populations, a well-developed international research community, a genetic map, established techniques for stable genetic transformation, availability of DNA libraries, a genome sequence, accessibility for genetic approaches. Projects that merely examine whether findings from Arabidopsis thaliana also extend to other species will not be considered. An exception to the rule that projects involving only Arabidopsis thaliana will normally not be considered will be proof-of-principle studies that combine experimental ecology with molecular genetics.

Proposals for an initial three-year funding period should be submitted on paper (3 copies) and on CD-ROM (including the proposal and all appendices as pdf-files) no later than 2 November 2010. All proposals must be written in English. Submissions, marked as "SPP 1529 Adaptomics", should be addressed to Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, attn. Dr. Catherine Kistner, 53170 Bonn. It is anticipated that funding of individual projects will commence in May 2011.

Further information

Guidelines for individual research grants can be found at:
Specific information on Priority Programmes is available at:
Contact address for further information

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme's coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr. Ute Krämer, Chair of Plant Physiology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150 ND3/30, 44801 Bochum, Germany, Tel. +49 234 32-28004, Fax +49 234 32-14187,

For information on submitting proposals and related administrative enquiries, please contact:

  • Dr.Catherine Kistner, Tel. +49 228 885-2803,