Projects evaluated on the principle of Lead Agency are increasingly becoming one of the preferred forms of cooperation between foreign agencies supporting basic research due to reduction of administrative burden they offer. Project duration is two to three years, depending on the agreement with the specific agency. Project proposals from all fields of basic research can be submitted. The Czech applicant determines the project topic in cooperation with the foreign applicant. Applicants process and submit only one grant project based on the call of the partner agencies, which is evaluated by the bodies of the partner agency acting in the Lead Agency role. The evaluation process is based on an international peer review system. The Lead Agency informs the partner agency of the evaluation result and proposes project funding to them. The evaluation system on the Lead Agency principle is based on mutual trust between the partner agencies. Each national provider finances activities connected to the parts of project within his own territory.
Maximum project duration is 3 years.
Projects with well-founded cooperation of teams from the Czech Republic and partner countries.
All scientific fields and disciplines of basic research are included.
Scientific teams are financed by their national agencies.
Budgets reflect the principles of international cooperation (budgets do not have a lower or upper limit, but their necessity must be justified).
Grant project proposals are submitted for evaluation to only one of the agencies (Lead Agency).
Evaluation system is based on peer review.
Recommendation for Lead Agency funding serves as a basis for the decision of GACR, unless GACR is in the role of Lead Agency.
While working on grant projects, national laws and regulations apply (in the case of the Czech Republic, the Act on the Support of Research and Development; the Act on Accounting etc.)
USA – NSF
On April 28, 2021, GACR signed an agreement on prestigious cooperation in basic research with the American agency National Science Foundation (NSF). It is one of the largest scientific cooperations between two countries. The cooperation works on the Lead Agency principle with the American agency in the role of Lead Agency. The first projects in this coooperation were proposed in 2021 (with work on them beginning in 2022). Projects may be proposed in the fields of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and plasma sciences.
On December 18, 2020, 12 national research funding organisations with the support of Science Europe launched Weave, a cross-European initiative to fund and support excellent international research projects. It is the first time a large network of this scale has developed an initiative of this kind to enable bilateral and trilateral scientific cooperation in Europe. More information can be found on Weave’s dedicated page.
Luxembourg – FNR (Weave)
On 18 February 2021, GACR signed an agreement on cooperation on basic research with the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). The cooperation falls under the Weave initiative and operates on the Lead Agency principle. The first projects in this cooperation may be proposed in 2021 (work on them begins in 2022).
On 27 November 2019, GACR signed an agreement on cooperation in basic research with the Swiss agency Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) on the occasion of the Science Europe General Assembly in Brussels. The cooperation works on the Lead Agency principle and has been part of the Weave initiative since 2020.
Germany – DFG (Weave)
Cooperation with the German agency DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) began in 2005, when an agreement on mutual cooperation was signed on 24 November. Czech and German applicants could together propose international bilateral grant projects. Project proposals were evaluated independantly by both national agencies according to their own rules. The last call for this type of projects was announced in 2020.
On January 12, 2021, GACR and the German DFG signed an agreement of cooperation as part of the Weave initiative. Cooperation between the Czech and German agencies have thus been transformed from 2021 from international bilateral projects to projects evaluated on the Lead Agency principle. In 2021, both agencies may be in the role of Lead Agency.
Austria – FWF (CEUS)
On 27 May 2013, The Czech Science Foundation (GACR) signed an agreement on cooperation in basic research with the Austrian agency Funds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) on the occasion of GRC Summit in Berlin.
The first call for project proposals based on this principle was announced in 2013.
In connection to the launch of cooperation under the CEUS initiative, the cooperation with the Austrian agency is moving under the new rules adopted under the CEUS partnership. These rules will be published in January 2020.
On 17 June 2019, the highest representatives of GACR, FWF (Austria), NCN (Poland) and ARRS (Slovenia) signed the “CEUS – Central European Science Partnership” Lead Agency Agreement: Memorandum of Understanding on the unilateral administration and mutual recognition of evaluation procedures. This new cooperation enabled scientists from the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland and Slovenia to carry out scientific projects with new foreign partners. Within the CEUS initiative for support of basic research in the Central European region, scientists were enabled to submit bilateral as well as trilateral project proposals on the Lead Agency principle. The main criterion for determination of Lead Agency is the agreement of international scientific team on the origin of a base idea, which will become the subject of research of the grant project and the international team’s budget amount, via which the project proposal is submitted. Based on these “Lead” criteria, scientists themselves choose the national LA agency that will evaluate the project proposal.
On 14 October 2019, the government approved the document on International grant projects evaluated on Lead Agency principle (LA grants), thanks to which it was possible to start this cooperation.
At the end of 2020, the CEUS initative became the foundation for the creation of the much larger international Weave initiative.
International Relations Department: firstname.lastname@example.org
NSF – USA
|Teresa de la Puente, Ph.D.|
FNR – Luxembourg
|Dr. Helena Burg|
|Head of International Relations|
|+352 691 36 28 12|
SNSF – Switzerland
|+41 31 308 22 18|
DFG – Germany
|tel.: +49 228 885 2351|
FWF – Austria
|Dr. Christoph Bärenreuther|
|+43 (0)1 / 505 67 40 – 8702|
ARRS – Slovenia
|+386 1 400 5971
NCN – Poland
|+48 532 080 275|