Gaining knowledge on the structure of matter and the fundamental laws in nature is among the decisive elements of our education and research. Scientific basic research takes a prominent position in this, because it is also the starting point for technical innovations and for a sustainable development of the economy and society.
Supporting basic research is primarily a task of the German Federal States ("Länder"). Institutions and projects of scientific research with national importance are co-funded by the Federal government.
Therefore BMBF's support for scientific basic research is focused on
Topics which are
specific to large-scale research and require an institutional anchorage to organisations such as the Helmholtz Association or the Max Planck Society,
of supraregional, international or
of fundamental significance;
Equipment for research which belongs to the category of large-scale facilities due to
dimension and complexity,
necessary effort for operation and further development,
national and international significance.
Large-scale facilities are a fundamental component of Germany's research infrastructure. The selection process for new large-scale facilities takes place after an intensive peer review, including for instance the "Wissenschaftsrat" involving worldwide experts of the respective field. This ensures that large-scale facilities of outstanding quality are chosen to be built and funded.
Construction and operation of the large-scale facilities is carried out by the Helmholtz Research Centres as well as the institutes of the Leibniz Association , the Max Planck Society or by international research organisations like CERN, ESRF, ESO, and ILL.
Research at large-scale facilities is expedited - among others - by excellent research groups at German universities. This fosters an active and fruitful exchange between the operators of large-scale facilities and the external user community which leads to the conception of new experiments and to the development of innovative instruments and research methods..
The BMBF considers this concurrence of external research groups and the large-scale facilities in national and international centres as an important area for funding and thus supports this cooperation financially in the framework of the so-called "Verbundforschung" (collaborative research). With specific funds - primarily addressed to universities - scientifically excellent projects at large-scale facilities are funded.
The funds are mainly granted for universitary education and the talented junior staff in natural sciences.