Operation Area of the Vessels

German Research Vessels Portal

In the field of basic marine research, Germany has a very efficient fleet of research vessels at its disposal. As universal platforms, the vessels facilitate research in all marine science disciplines and in the waters of all oceans.

This portal provides a platform for scientists working at publicly funded research institutions (universities, institutions of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, institutions of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Association, institutes of the Max Planck Society, and subordinate federal authorities) to submit cruise proposals for the research vessels POLARSTERN, METEOR, SONNE, MARIA S. MERIAN, ALKOR, HEINCKE, and ELISABETH MANN BORGESE. Proposals for secondary use of RV POLARSTERN are accepted also from scientists who are employed at a research institution outside Germany.

The decision on which research groups will be allocated access to the research vessels is made in the framework of a uniform evaluation procedure based on scientific criteria. For further information, please refer to the subpage "Evaluation".

Important note: The "Cruise Proposal Preparation Instructions" are updated consistently and the ship proposals must be composed in accordance with the current version.

Short cruises of one to three working days aiming at the test of scientific equipment under development can be requested directly at the ship operators (see subpage "Contact").

Information for potential secondary users:

All cruises recommended by the GPF to be included in the scheduling process that could not be scheduled yet by the ship operating institutions are listed in the following overview:

> Overview table of approved but not yet scheduled cruise proposals


News and Announcements:

The submission system is open. Cruise proposals could be submittedvia the submission system of the Portal deutsche Forschungsschiffe following the link https://www.portal-forschungsschiffe.de/en/cruise-proposals/submissions. Further information on preparing cruise proposals can be found following the link https://www.portal-forschungsschiffe.de/en/cruise-proposals/guidelines.

From December 2021, the submission system will be open permanently. Applicants will be able to submit a cruise proposal any time.

The Review Panel German Research Vessels meets twice a year in winter (January/February) and summer (June/July). If a cruise proposal should be discussed on a specific GPF meeting, please take a lead time for submission of approx. 5 months into account for regular cruise proposals. Cruise proposals that do not undergo external review (preregistered cruises in context with coordinated programs, cruises financed by other departments than the BMBF, equipment tests, and educational cruises) should be submitted with a lead time of at least 3 months.

Desired GPF meeting for discussion of a cruise proposal Recommended latest submission date of regular cruise proposals Recommended latest submission date of cruise proposals that do not undergo external review
Winter (January/February) By July of the preceding year By September of the preceding year
Summer (June/July) By January of the same year By March of the same year


All proponents are kindly requested to utilize the flexible year-round standing open call, and to submit, if feasible, completed cruise proposals also distinctly earlier than at the recommended latest submission dates listed above.

Upcoming GPF Panel sessions:
10th GPF meeting: July 04, 2022
Feedback to proponents: from August 01, 2022

11th GPF meeting: February 02/03, 2023
Feedback to proponents: will be announced

The submission system has been open permanently since December 2021. Next planned maintenance closure: December 19/20, 2022. Please note: During maintenance, all proposals in "work" status that are not finally submitted will be deleted.

Covid-19 Pandemic:
The global Covid 19 epidemic also has impact on the allocation of ship time, ship operation, and the Status Conference Research Vessels.

Ship operation
Due to worldwide travel restrictions, many of the cruises already planned for 2020 and 2021 could not be carried out. Cancelled cruises will be included in the cruise planning again at a later date without the need to submit a new cruise proposal. Cruises that were granted in transit tenders and have now been cancelled wil not be rescheduled.