3rd Call


3rd Call for Proposals for IMF Interdisciplinary Pathfinder Projects


The goal of the project house "Interdisciplinary Management Factory" (IMF) is to support the transformation of the School of Business and Economics into an internationally competitive institution for interdisciplinary, technology-oriented research in management and economics. One measure to achieve this objective is the funding of IMF Pathfinder Projects. The typical duration of a Pathfinder Project is six to 12 months.

1. Type and aim of Pathfinder projects
The proposed projects should identify and explore new research fields or develop new methods and methodologies in management & economics with a strong interdisciplinary background. The topics should be new, creative and can be of high risk. They must not already be addressed by national or international public funding programs.

2. Selection and evaluation criteria
The projects will be selected and evaluated by an evaluation group.

The selection criteria for submitted proposals will be

  • Originality (new, creative, explorative),
  • Interdisciplinary focus (participation of researchers from different faculties and disciplines with strongly differing research topics),
  • Subsidiarity (funding through other sources is not yet possible),
  • Team structure (senior and / or high-potential young researchers),
  • Potential impact on the research strategy and structure of RWTH Aachen in general and IMF in particular,
  • Adequateness of research approach and requested funding.

After completion, criteria for a successful pathfinder project are …

  • A peer-reviewed, third-party funded follow-up project has been won by the research team or a proposal for such a project has been submitted (DFG, BMBF, EU, …),
  • Publication (at least R&R) in peer reviewed journals (HB 0,5 or higher),
  • Promising patent applications.

Project teams have to report about these achievements, documenting the quality of their research results and the future perspectives of the research topic, in a final report which has to be submitted 18 months after project closure as well as a shorter report three months after closure.

3. Funding
The budget for a IMF Pathfinder Project is provided by the excellence initiative of the German federal and state governments. The total budget for all new Pathfinder Projects is at most 25.000€. Eligible costs are: Staff expenses, travel and subsistence costs, support for workshops and conferences, hiring students to work on the project, consumables and equipment. Note that pathfinder projects follow the RWTH allocation model in the excellence initiative aiming for a 30% share of funding for female researchers.


4. General conditions
Research Partners: typically 2-3 researchers from different faculties and disciplines; we strongly encourage the participation of young scientists (junior professor, group leader, research fellow, etc.) who are scientifically independent and are leading a research group.

Joint Proposals with partners from Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) are welcome. In this case, the funding for the partners from FZJ needs to be provided by their institutes and cannot be covered by RWTH Aachen University.

Note: Each research team (professor with his/her group) can participate in a maximum of 3 IMF Pathfinder or RWTH Seed Fund Project Proposals.

Progress evaluation: Final report / preliminary report

5. Proposal structure and content
Length of proposal: 10 pages maximum (but shorter proposals are welcome), Type size: Arial 11, line spacing: 1.5

  • Project partners, principle investigators, contact data
  • Summary
  • Current State-of-the-Art
  • Goals and approach (methodology)
  • Relevant work of the applicants
  • Working plan
  • Financial plan
  • Expected long term impact (targeted third party funding, implementation of new scientific infrastructure, new significantly visible, interdisciplinary competences, action plan to achieve these strategic goals)
  • References

Language: English or German

Please note: Proposals that do not comply with the formal criteria will be excluded from the reviewing process.

6. Important Dates

Deadline for submission: ---

Project start: ---

Project duration: 6 to 12 months

Please send your application to  


Fabian Louwen, M.Sc.
Manager, Project House IMF @ RWTH Aachen University
School of Business and Economics,
Room B342, Kackertstr. 7, 52072 Aachen, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)241 - 80 – 93501
Fax: +49 (0)241 - 80 – 92367
louwen@time.rwth-aachen.de or projekthaus-imf@rwth-aachen.de louwen@time.rwth-aachen.de