Who provides funding and how, where do applications have to be submitted - these are important questions regarding research funding. This page provides the answers.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports innovative projects and ideas in research through targeted funding programmes.
Why fund research?
Research and development together with the latest production processes are the basis for the new technological developments of tomorrow. Research funding has the goal of financing the development of new ideas and technologies. Funding is provided for projects in a wide spectrum of research areas. The range covers everything from basic research in natural sciences, environmentally friendly sustainable development, new technologies, information and communication technologies, the life sciences, work design, structural research funding at institutions of higher education to innovation support and technology transfer.
EU-wide standardized regulations play a decisive role in the basic conditions of research funding. These regulations apply to, for example, definitions for research institutions and businesses, the criteria for what can be considered small and medium enterprises, or what relation between funding and equity capital is permissible with funded businesses.
Decisions for or against funding are always based on the clarification of points such as:
- Degree of innovation: how innovative is a project from a scientific or technical perspective?
- Utilization: how can the prospects of success be assessed? With technological developments, is there a utilization strategy?
- Avoidance of double funding: has funding already been provided for the project idea?
Research funding supports scientific institutions and enterprises. Individual funding is thereby expressly excluded. The BMBF funds individual researchers via special funding institutions. An overview of the possibilities of such funding is available here
Three steps can provide orientation in research funding:
- Overview of the thematic focuses
- Funded projects
- Access to forms and addresses
The Federal "Research and Innovation" Funding Advisory Service offers information and advice on all current funding measures free of charge.
Project Lump Sum
The Federal Government intends to structurally and lastingly strengthen the performance and competitiveness of Germany's institutions of higher education through the introduction of a project lump sum for these institutions as part of the direct project funding from section 30.
As of the 2011 budgetary year, the BMBF grants a project lump sum in the amount of 10 per cent of the contributions from its specialized programmes as part of the direct project funding for institutions of higher education. As of 2012, this lump sum increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent for new allocations. The project lump sums support the financing of project expenditures arising indirectly from the individual research projects.
Click here for a list of answers to frequently asked questions regarding project lump sums
(in German only).
General or thematically specific funding information
Research funding is generally based on research fields. The goals of funding are stipulated by research programmes. There is however a series of crosscutting, interdisciplinary measures. Thematic orientation is provided by the funding priorities of the BMBF and the funding regulations of the individual areas.
Who funds what and how, where to send an application? These are important questions in research funding. The following pages provide information on what funding regulations there are, which calls for proposals are currently issued, and where information on each research area can be found.
Issued by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
The project funding of the Federal Government in the field of new technologies supports projects in the following areas: Information and communication technologies, materials innovation and nanotechnology, optical technologies as well as production and manufacturing technologies.
Research funding in the life sciences is provided under the framework programme "Biotechnology - Using and Shaping its Opportunities", the programme "Health Research - Research for People" as well as by means of the institutional funding of non-university research institutions. The BMBF supports scientific research projects on the ethical, legal and economic aspects of health research and bioscientific research as well as activities in the field of innovative work structure and services.
Supporting basic research is primarily a task of the German Länder. Institutions and projects of scientific research with supraregional importance are co-funded by the Federal and Länder governments. Many of the DFG's programmes enable funding recipients to apply for equipment grants provided that the project proposal specifies the need for such instrumentation. This programme is supported by the Federal Government with an annual budget of 85 million euros.
The Federal Government has defined clear objectives for its sustainability strategy. The Federal project funding is carried out prior in the frame of the programmes "Research for Sustainability" (BMBF), energy research "Innovation and New Technologies"(BMWi, BMU, BMBF) and "Renewable Resources" (BMELV).
What is the current state of research? Which projects already receive funding?
All BMBF-funded projects, their findings in the form of a final report, and often findings published by the projects themselves are available online. Here you can find out how to access this information.
topic Hightech Strategy
The Federal "Research and Innovation" Funding Advisory Service is the central point of contact for any questions concerning research and innovation funding. The centre informs potential applicants about the federal research structure, funding programmes and the persons to contact as well as about current funding priorities and initiatives.
The publicly accessible databases of the BMBF contain data on over 100,000 research projects. This is the most comprehensive source for information on Germany's research landscape: the kind of research receiving public funds, who is doing or has recently done research on which topics, and what results these projects delivered.
The search engine Forschungsportal.Net is specifically optimized for searches in scientific web sources. It indexes more than 20.000 web servers solely in universities and research institutions. The results are clustered with those clusters ranking at the top, that give access to the largest number of web publications for a given search phrase. The user of the search engine Forschungsportal.Net thus has easy access to the most competent scientific institutions matching a search request. Further searches are supported by a list of associated search phrases in scientific terminology that are derived from the search results.
Where does research in Germany happen? Where are regional clusters? What kind of references can be found? The BMBF research maps have been developed to answer questions like these.
What about the paperwork? Why not try "EASY"?
Awarding research grants is not possible without forms. Here you can find information on which forms you need, where you can find them, and how the electronic application process works.
This software allows users to fill out digital application forms for funding from diverse ministries and departments. Available in German only.
The BMBF Forms Cabinet contains further information, data sheets, tips and further regulations.
The Funding Data Base at the BMWi gives a comprehensive overview of research programmes, of the federal level, the Länder and the EU for industry. It contains the full text version of all calls and additional information.