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by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Regulations Governing Funding in the Area of “Biometrics” within the Federal Government’s “Research for Civil Security” Programme
19 February 2010

Biometric procedures for the authentification or identification of individuals are used increasingly often in different security applications and in e-commerce. With this call, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) intends to support research into innovative solutions that make use of biometric procedures. The focus is on research projects that aim to improve security with the help of biometrics and on projects designed to improve the security of biometric procedures themselves.

The project proposals should include relevant technologies, processes and strategies for action, taking societal aspects into consideration. All applications are expected to include a thorough analysis of the envisaged increase in security and/or comfort and the potential social impact of the technology in question.

Important funding criteria include the innovativeness, holistic character and broad effectiveness of the solution, the consideration of all relevant stakeholders and the importance of the contribution to increasing civil security.

1 Funding purpose and legal basis

1.1. Funding purpose

The "Research for Civil Security" programme forms part of the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy. This programme focuses on improving society’s protection against threats caused, inter alia, by terrorism, organized crime, natural disasters and major technical accidents (see also The funding is expected to lead to solutions that help to improve civil security and open up international markets for German security products and processes.

The "Biometrics" call is aimed at companies that develop innovative security solutions and at research institutions, authorities and organizations working in the security sector that cooperate with companies and users.

Funding will be provided for research into the use of new security solutions for clearly defined areas of application. The “Biometrics” call for proposals is aimed at projects with market potential designed to achieve completely new or considerably improved solutions. The proposals should open up basic technological knowledge that is important for security research and develop innovative technological systems using existing and new basic technologies. The natural sciences and engineering are expected to cooperate with the humanities and social sciences in developing practicable security solutions.

The integration of the entire innovation chain, from research to industry to the end user, is intended to ensure a high degree of relevance to application. End users, as defined in the security research programme, include authorities, security and rescue services (police, customs, technical relief and other relief organizations) and the operators of critical infrastructures (e.g. airports). 

1.2 Legal basis

Project grants will be awarded in accordance with the BMBF's standard terms and conditions for grants on an expenditure or cost basis and the administrative regulations under section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO). There is no legal entitlement to funding. The funding provider will make a decision after due assessment of the circumstances and within the framework of the budget funds available. The European Commission has approved the programme.

2 Object of funding

Funding will be provided to collaborative projects that explore and develop innovative solutions for the application of biometric procedures. Projects should address “security through biometrics” or “the security of biometric procedures” and should take into account the social impact of the solutions. Examples of research projects in the area of “security through biometrics”:
  • New biometric procedures
  • Multimodality (combination of different biometric modalities)
  • Mobile systems (including mobile checkpoints and personal mobile end devices)
  • Biometric “sensor-on-card” or “processing-on-card” systems
  • Improvements in the usability and ergonomics of biometric systems

Examples of research projects addressing "the security of biometric procedures” (e.g. minimization of failure frequency, improvement of application security, and protection against misuse):

  • Increasing the performance of biometric systems (including FRR (false rejection rate) and FAR (false acceptance rate), improved recognition performance and speed)
  • Fake detection (including solutions to detect living human skin and solutions to detect fake materials)
  • Secure and efficient procedures for the protection of biometric templates (including biometric encryption)
  • Secure transaction logs
  • Measures to protect against the misuse of identity attributes
  • Procedures for the protection of biometric reference data
  • Weak point analysis of biometric systems (for example long-term verifiability of biometric characteristics, particularly for minors, including acceptance tests)
  • Objective metrics for the assessment of biometric samples and the recognition performance of biometric systems
  • Test procedures for the evaluation of biometric systems
  • Standardization processes for biometric systems

Generally speaking, all project proposals must incorporate societal issues such as cultural, ethical, economic and legal aspects. They should offer a thorough analysis of the envisaged increase in security and/or comfort and the potential social impact of the technology in question. Societal aspects can include:

  • Observance of constitutional, data protection and employment law
  • Safeguarding of confidentiality
  • Strategies for the avoidance of superfluous information
  • Economic (cost-benefit) analysis of biometric procedures in comparison with existing non-biometric procedures
  • Taking into account ethnic and cultural factors to avoid discrimination
  • Inclusion of alternative control procedures as fallback solutions
  • Studies regarding the acceptance of biometric systems

In addition to societal aspects integrated into collaborative projects, research on more general cross-cutting basic issues relating to biometrics can be funded in individual cases. These research projects can, for example, include threat and cause analyses, risk analyses and risk management systems, economic considerations, innovation and internationalization strategies, ethical and legal aspects, issues relating to the acceptance of technologies and measures, and human-technology interaction. These individual projects can be independent or closely linked to collaborative projects.

Proposals for collaborative projects must include the following key features:

  • Consistent use of the latest findings of science and research 
  • Presentation of a sound analysis of threats and/or requirements of the envisaged security solution
  • Clear improvement over current security standards
  • Consistent use of the latest findings and concepts in user friendliness and ergonomics
  • Clearly formulated project goal, including the envisaged increase in security, economic efficiency and acceptance

As a rule, the duration of the collaborative projects will be three years.

3 Recipients of funding

Research proposals may be submitted by commercial companies (headquartered and mainly exploiting their results in Germany), universities, research and science institutions, public authorities and their research institutions, and similar establishments. As a rule, however, universities and research and science institutions should be involved via R&D (research and development) subcontracts awarded by commercial companies as part of a collaborative project. Research institutions which receive their basic funding from both the Federal Government and the Länder can be awarded project funding under certain conditions only. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expressly invited to participate; their involvement will be taken into account when evaluating the proposed projects.

The BMBF aims to increase the share of universities of applied sciences that receive research funding.

For this reason, universities of applied sciences are expressly invited to participate in the collaborative projects – preferably via R&D subcontracts awarded by commercial companies (see also section 7.3 below).

4 Prerequisites for funding

Partners in collaborative projects must formalize their cooperation by concluding a cooperation agreement. Before a funding decision is taken, the partners must prove that they have reached a basic agreement on certain criteria stipulated by the BMBF.

For further details, please refer to the BMBF form 0110, which can be found online at

As a rule, the coordinator of the collaborative project should be nominated by an industrial partner or an end user.

Cooperation with European partners is desired. Applicants should, in their own interest, familiarize themselves with the European Union’s (EU's) Research Framework Programme and examine whether the envisaged project includes specific European components that would make it eligible for exclusive or additional EU funding (see, for example, The result of this examination should be briefly described in the application for national funding. Bilateral cooperation with French partners is also welcome. The BMBF and the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) have concluded a special agreement to this end. Based on this agreement, groups of French and German researchers can submit joint proposals in response to the BMBF’s call for proposals in the area of “Biometrics” and the ANR’s call “CSOSG 2010 – Biométrie et Sécurité” (available online at Important information about the submission of project outlines for German-French consortia is available online at

5 Type, scope and rates of funding

Funds can be awarded in the form of non-repayable project grants. 

Grants for commercial companies will be calculated on the basis of project-related costs eligible for funding, up to 50% of which can as a rule be covered by government grants, depending on the project’s nearness to application. The BMBF’s policy requires an appropriate own contribution towards the eligible costs incurred – as a rule at least 50%.

Grants for universities, research and science institutions and similar establishments will be calculated on the basis of the eligible project-related expenditure (or, in the case of the Helmholtz centres and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG), the eligible project-related costs), which can be funded up to a maximum of 100% in individual cases.

The European Commission's Community Framework for State Aid for Research, Development and Innovation must be taken into account when determining the rates of funding. The Community Framework allows differentiated rules on extra percentage points for SMEs, which may result in a higher rate of funding. The EU’s definition of SMEs applies (

6 Other terms and conditions

The Allgemeine Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen auf Kostenbasis des BMBF an Unternehmen der gewerblichen Wirtschaft für Forschungs- und Entwicklungsvorhaben (General Auxiliary Terms and Conditions for Funds Provided by the BMBF to Commercial Companies for Research and Development Projects on a Cost Basis) will be part of the notification of award for grants on a cost basis.

The Allgemeine Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen zur Projektförderung (General Auxiliary Conditions for Grants for the Promotion of Projects) and the Besondere Nebenbestimmungen für Zuwendungen des BMBF zur Projektförderung auf Ausgabenbasis (Special Auxiliary Terms and Conditions for Funds Provided by the BMBF for the Promotion of Projects on an Expenditure Basis) will be part of the notification of award for grants on an expenditure basis.

7 Procedure

7.1 Involvement of a project management organization

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has entrusted the following project management organization with implementing the call for proposals:

VDI-Technologiezentrum GmbH
Projektträger Sicherheitsforschung
VDI-Platz 1
40468 Düsseldorf
The contact person is:
Dr. Joachim Fröhlingsdorf
Phone: +49 (0)2 11 / 62 14 – 508
Fax: 02 11 / 62 14 – 484

All project outlines must be submitted using the official form, which can be downloaded from or obtained from the project management organization VDI Technologiezentrum (see above).

Further information, guidelines and leaflets as well as auxiliary terms and conditions are available at

7.2 Two-step funding procedure

The funding procedure consists of two steps.

7.2.1 Submission and selection of project outlines

In the first stage, project outlines are to be sent to the project management organization VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH in written and electronic form by 21 May 2010 at the latest

The deadline for submission is not a cut-off deadline. However, it may not be possible to consider project outlines received after this date.

The collaboration partners, represented by the coordinator, should each submit to the project management organization a project outline of a maximum 20 A4 pages (including annexes, 12 point font) in a form which can be evaluated. The project outlines must be structured as follows:

  1. Objectives
    • Overall objective of the project, summary of the project proposal
    • Scientific and technical working objectives, envisaged innovations, including a thorough analysis of the envisaged increase in security and/or comfort and the potential social impact of the technology in question
    • Project consortium: project coordinator, distribution of roles
  2. State of the art and applicants' own work
    • State of the art
    • Patents filed (by applicant and third parties)
    • Previous work of the applicants
  3. Work plan
    Detailed description of the planned work of the partners in the collaboration (including sub-contractors, if appropriate, and including all scientific and technical issues relevant to the project as well as the proposed solutions).
  4. Utilization plan
    Utilization plan (scientific and technical utilization as well as commercialization of the results by the partners involved), translation into marketable security solutions, procurement, strategies for action and forms of organization, provisions, legal framework conditions, relevance of the results for guidelines and standardization, etc.

    If utilization is linked to a public procurement measure or requires an amendment or adjustment of current law, this must be explained separately in the utilization plan.

    The utilization plan must include information on compatibility with national and international laws and regulations, provisions and standards.
  5. Network plan
    Work packages, handover points, milestones and implementing decisions presented over time
  6. Financing plan
    Estimate of overall costs and funding requirements for each individual partner in the collaboration

Applicants are free to add further points which they consider to be significant for the evaluation of their proposal.

Collaboration partners whose projects are co-financed by industry partners or other agencies must indicate the amount of external funds expected. No legal claims can be derived from the submission of a project outline.
The project outlines received will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Significant contribution to the programme's goal of increasing the population’s security
  • Clear relevance to the call for proposals
  • Clear innovativeness and knowledge gain
  • Holistic character and large-scale effectiveness of the approach
  • Envisaged increase in security and/or comfort and the potential social impact of the technology in question
  • Inclusion of societal issues, including the viability of combining societal and technical aspects
  • Practicability and marketability of the envisaged solution and its optimized economic leverage
  • Quality of the project consortium, involvement of all relevant stakeholders
  • Specific involvement of end users
  • Involvement of SMEs

Project outlines that are suitable for funding will be selected on the basis of the evaluation. The project management organization will inform the collaboration coordinator in writing of the BMBF’s decision (the result of the selection procedure). The coordinator will, in turn, inform the partners involved in a collaborative project of the result of the evaluation of their project outline. The BMBF and the project management organization reserve the right to consult independent experts when evaluating the project outlines received.

7.2.2 Submission of formal applications for funding and decision-making procedure

In a second step, applicants whose project outlines have received a positive evaluation will be invited to submit a formal application for funding on which a decision will be taken after final evaluation by the BMBF.
The approval, payment and accounting for the funds as well as the proof and examination of the proper use and, if necessary, the revocation of the award and the reclaiming of the funds awarded are governed by the administrative regulations pertaining to section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO) and sections 48 to 49a of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) unless deviation is allowed under the present funding regulations. 7.3 Special information for universities of applied sciences

If universities of applied sciences have been successful in the above selection and decision-making procedure for the collaborative projects, they can receive further funding. This additional funding can be provided for a separate research project carried out by a "qualification or profiling group" under the BMBF's funding line "Profile – new technologies (ProfilNT)”. The topic and content of this second, separate application must bear reference to the subject of the collaborative project. However, the additional research project must include advanced or new R&D issues and differ clearly from the tasks of the original application in order to avoid redundancies.

The work plans/research activities and human resources planning of the two applications must not overlap. The additional funding is to be used by a project team to give the university of applied sciences an improved research profile and research expertise in the subject area of the call (bachelor’s/master’s/doctoral degrees, specialized publications, research marketing).

The evaluation and funding decision under the "ProfilNT" funding line will take place in a separate selection procedure.

The BMBF has entrusted the following project management organization with implementing the “ProfilNT” call:

Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen „Otto von Guericke“ e.V. (AiF)
Projektträger Forschung an Fachhochschulen
Bayenthalgürtel 23
50968 Köln
The contact person is:
Michael Grünberg
Phone: +49 (0)221 37680-28
Fax: +49 (0)221 37680-27

Further information (legal basis, prerequisites for funding, guidelines for drafting proposals, etc) and general advice can be obtained from the project management agency AiF ( or the following page on the BMBF’s website:

8 Entry into force

These funding regulations will enter into force on the date of publication in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger) and expire at the end of the first funding period in 2010.
Bonn, 19 February 2010

Dr. Stefan M e n g e l
Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Additional information

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