Research Funding by the Federal Government

Who funds what and how does it work, where should applications be submitted - these are important questions with regard to research funding. Research funding aims to maintain and expand scientific competences, strategic technology developments and processes with special leverage for growth and jobs. You can find the answers to these questions here.

What can be funded?

Within the framework of its specific programmes, the Federal Government promotes basic technologies which push forward developments in key fields of application and thus serve as a force for growth in many industrial sectors. Moreover, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are supported by means of specific funding programmes that are not bound to a certain sector or research direction. In addition to BMBF, the federal ministries BMWi, BMU and BMELV also provide funds.

Who can receive funding?

German industrial companies as well as universities, institutions of higher education and other R&D institutions can participate in these programmes. Research collaborations between scientific institutions and companies are given priority in terms of funding. Individual researchers are supported via special funding institutions.

How does the funding process work?

As a rule, the Federal Government's research funding is realised by means of direct project funding within the framework of technology-based funding programmes and in the form of non-repayable grants.

Current calls for proposals concerning specific research priorities are published in the Federal Gazette and are circulated via the websites of the funding institutions.

Project management organisations are in charge of the technical and administrative coordination of R&D funding projects. They advise applicants and accompany the implementation of the projects until they are completed.

After submission of a project outline to the project management organisation responsible for the respective subject area and comprehensive advice about the scientific and technical contents of the specialised programme concerned, the application will be formulated, evaluated based on the general funding conditions and submitted for decision. The project is to be submitted via the electronic application system "easy".

After the completion of the project, a final report is to be submitted which must contain information on how the research results will be exploited. The German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) in Hanover provides reference copies of recorded research reports.

  • Innovation Funding of the Federal Government for SMEs

    Innovation funding as part of the Federal Government's economic funding aims at strengthening the innovation competence and competitiveness of SMEs. Interfaces to the instruments of research funding can be found especially in the areas of business financing, improvement of market positions, education and further training as well as improvement of framework conditions for SMEs.
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  • Funding Programmes Not Bound to a Certain Sector or Research Direction

    Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the main target group of funding programmes that are not bound to a certain sector or research direction. R&D cooperations and innovative networks between enterprises as well as with research institutions are of special importance.
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  • Technology Transfer - Utilisation of Research Results

    Ideas and inventions should become marketable applications. To this end, the Federal Government and the Federal States provide support.
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