FAQ for applicants

1. What does Stiftung Mercator support?

All information about our funding criteria can be found in our information for applicants.

2. Who is eligible for funding?

Stiftung Mercator is only permitted to support institutions and organizations that are formally recognized as non-profit-making or subject to public law with headquarters in Germany. These include for example universities, charitable associations and NGOs. Organizations with headquarters abroad are only eligible for funding if they meet all the requirements of German non-profit law. Profit-oriented enterprises cannot receive funding. Individual grants are provided only within the framework of the foundation’s own fellowship programmes.

3. What does Stiftung Mercator not support?

Please refer to Stiftung Mercator funding criteria.

4. Can I send a brief initial enquiry to establish whether my application might have a chance of being approved?

If you wish to apply for a grant from Stiftung Mercator, please read the information on Grant Application Requirements and eligibility criteria to see whether your project is eligible for a grant. If you find that it is, the first step is to submit a draft application proposal. If we assess your draft application proposal positively, you will be requested to submit a full application proposal.

5. Which information and documents does my draft application proposal need to contain?

All information about the draft application proposal can be found under information for applicants.

6. To whom and in which form should I submit my draft application proposal?

Please e-mail your draft application proposal without the need for any form to info (at) stiftung-mercator.de or to the relevant project manager.

7. Are there specific dates and deadlines for submitting applications?

You can submit your grant application to Stiftung Mercator at any time. There are no generally applicable application deadlines.

8. Are there upper and lower financial limits for project funding?

No, there is neither a lower nor an upper financial limit for project funding. Depending on their objectives and approaches, the projects approved by Stiftung Mercator are based on grants of a few thousand up to tens of millions of euros.

9. When and where can I apply for a fellowship programme?

Current calls for applications to fellowship programmes are always published online, together with the necessary information about the formal application requirements.

10. Does Stiftung Mercator also fund projects outside Germany? What needs to be observed if the applicant is based outside Germany?

In line with its focal areas, Stiftung Mercator is active internationally first and foremost in the regions of Europe/Turkey and China. German-based organizations may apply for funding for a project outside Germany. Organizations with headquarters abroad are only eligible for funding if they meet all the requirements of German non-profit law. This requires a careful legal review of their status. Please check with us, preferably before submitting an application, whether the international grant you hope to obtain is in fact legally feasible.

11. Where can I find the forms to submit my application?

You can submit your draft application proposal without the need for any form. Please use the form we provide when submitting your full application proposal.

12. Which documents are required for a full application proposal?

In addition to the information provided in the draft application proposal, the full application proposal should contain the following details:

  • Grant application form
  • Detailed project description
  • Measurable project objectives
  • Details of the social impact of the project
  • Details of all project participants (specifically co-applicants, project leaders, cooperation partners, other funding providers)
  • Detailed budget plan (please use the template provided by Stiftung Mercator)
  • Timetable and milestones
  • Details of project evaluation
  • Details of the project’s sustainability
  • Please e-mail your full application proposal and all necessary attachments to the relevant project manager.

If the applicant is a non-profit organization, the current exemption certificate from the tax office should additionally be submitted.

13. What form should the budget plan take?

Please use our specimen form for the budget plan.

14. How long does it take for a funding application to be processed?

If an application (in the form of either a draft or full application proposal) is unsuccessful, we will normally notify you within a matter of weeks. If an application is successful, processing takes several months.

15. Can an applicant submit several funding applications at once?

Provided that the funding requirements are met, several applications can be submitted at once.

16. When can I begin my project once I have been notified that my application was successful?

The grant only comes into effect once the grant agreement has been legally signed by both parties, Stiftung Mercator and the applicant. Although this can take several weeks after approval in individual cases, it usually happens more quickly. Funding can then be provided immediately. In individual cases funding can be provided retrospectively if this has been explicitly agreed and funding starts after the meeting of our board which decides on the application.

17. What do I have to do in the phase between approval and the start of the project?

Once our internal boards have approved a full application proposal, we will send you the grant documents as quickly as possible. These consist of

  • a short grant approval letter
  • a grant agreement
  • our funding guidelines
  • the project description
  • the budget plan 

In many cases, individual clauses of the grant agreement still have to be discussed and agreed between Stiftung Mercator and the applicant (management, project leader, administration). As soon as all the grant documents have been approved, we will officially send you the documents, which will already have been signed by Stiftung Mercator’s representatives. On receipt, please sign the grant agreement and return one copy to us. If the grant recipient is a non-profit organization, please now send us the current exemption certificate from your local tax office if you have not already done so. In addition, we need you to send us a completed payment schedule and call for funds form detailing when you wish to receive payments of which amount, preferably already accompanied by a request for the initial payment. Finally, we will be in contact with you to discuss how to publicize the start of the project and/or the Mercator grant.



18. What concrete form will cooperation with Stiftung Mercator take during the project implementation phase?

This question is answered in our information for grant holders.

19. What happens if I am unable to conclude the project within the agreed period? Can I apply for an extension of my project?

Our funding projects have clearly defined start and end dates. If it becomes clear that you will not be able to conclude the project by the agreed end date, you can apply for an extension of the funding period. Reasons must be provided for the extension application. Stiftung Mercator does not make any additional funding available for the extended period.

20. What needs to be done when the project is concluded?

Stiftung Mercator requires a final project report covering the entire funding period, and evidence of how the received funding was used, to be handed in within two months after the project’s termination using our form. In addition, any unused funds must be paid back to Stiftung Mercator.

21. Do any obligations between Stiftung Mercator and the grant recipient remain after the project has come to an end?

Once a project has come to an end there are no further obligations between the grant recipient and Stiftung Mercator.

22. To whom should I address further questions about grants?

If you have any further questions, please refer to our information for applicants or our information for grant holders. If you do not find the answers to all your questions there, please feel free to contact us using our contact form or by phone. The contact persons in the respective teams can be found on our team page.