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.

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.

Current GPF Panel sessions:

12th GPF meeting: July 04/05, 2023
Feedback to proponents: from August 07, 2023

13th GPF meeting: January 31 / February 01, 2024
Feedback to proponents: from March 04, 2024

The submission system has been open permanently since December 2021. Next planned maintenance closure: December 05, 2023. Please note: During maintenance, all proposals in "work" status that are not finally submitted will be deleted.