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of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the strategy of the German Federal Government for the internationalisation of science and research on regulations governing the funding of mobility measures for the initialisation of knowledge-based partnerships for sustainable solutions with Sub-Saharan Africa

1. Funding purpose and legal basis

1.1 Funding purpose

With its strategy for the internationalisation of science and research, the German Federal Government is meeting the demands of globalisation. One essential component of this strategy is the continuous strengthening of the co-operation with what are referred to as ‘developing countries’, in this case in Sub-Saharan Africa. With some exceptions, this region is in need of special international efforts in order to ensure that these countries have a chance of making economic and socially important advancements. In light of this, Germany can position itself as a reliable partner country of future scientific and economic centres and work together with them to make a contribution towards solving regional problems of global significance. By doing so, the German Federal Government is following its aim of significantly expanding its co-operation with what are referred to as ‘developing countries’. The strategy is also aimed at tapping into future potential for innovation in regions with considerable development opportunities at an early stage and accompanying these regions as they evolve, in the capacity of a partner.

The necessity and importance of continuous co-operation not only with the partner countries in the world that are ‘strong’ in terms of economy and research policy, but also with researchers from countries where research capacities are still limited, results from the increasingly complex problems relating to, for example, the global challenges faced today such as health, sustainable energy and water supplies, and resource consumption. The joint development of integrated solution approaches must be at the heart of such collaborations, and scientific expertise must be combined with fundamental knowledge of the events in the region and the specific needs of the area.

To achieve research results that can be sustainably implemented in Africa, a partnership-based understanding of the co-operation is essential. In this context, partnership means, above all, safeguarding personal responsibility, the principle of equality for everyone involved as well as the acceptance of partially diverging interests within the framework of joint objectives. The two-way transfer of information and knowledge, and structures and media suitable in the context, takes diverse requirements into consideration and contributes towards the development of existing potential in an integrative manner.

The funding measures are intended to act as an incentive for German universities and non-academic research institutes and companies – in accordance with their scientific strengths and problem solving expertise – to develop new co-operation approaches with partner institutes in Africa and thereby significantly expand the capacity of German development-related research and to establish a reliable, long-term network.

At the same time, these partnerships should contribute to the expansion of scientific capacity in Africa over the medium and long term to give (young) qualified African scientists the opportunity to embark on a career in research in their home country. International research co-operations are incredibly important for the scientists who work in these countries, as scientific work performed there is faced by great obstacles as a result of the weak research infrastructures and research networks as well as limited availability of national research funding. It is often difficult for scientists to enter into international co-operations, as their own means are neither sufficient nor consistently available and because the existing research infrastructure is often limited reliable co-operations are almost impossible.

This is where the funding measures come into play. Financial means for mobility measures in research are made available to prepare new partnerships against the background of joint interests and to tap into the potential for future, project-related collaboration. A further aim is to improve the integration of scientific organisations from African countries in international consortia with German participation and with long-term prospects. In particular, a resilient network of German and African scientists should be created with researchers from other countries – above all with our European partners and partners in other developing or emerging countries (e.g. trilateral co-operations).

New and diverse knowledge-based partnerships with Africa will make a solution-orientated contribution not only to the implementation of African (national and regional) development strategies, but also to the development of the German internationalisation strategy. Interdisciplinary research approaches that lead to larger, flexible research networks in the long term are particularly welcomed.

1.2 Legal basis

Project grants or private-law funding contracts can be awarded in accordance with this announcement, the BMBF standard terms and conditions for grants on an expenditure or cost basis and the administrative regulations under sections 23 and 44 of the German Federal Budget Code (BHO). There is no legal entitlement to funding. The funding provider will make a decision at its own proper and dutiful discretion and within the framework of the budget funds available.

2. Object of funding

Using an approach without thematic restrictions, mobility measures for the establishment of future research partnerships are funded that:

  • explore new or advanced possibilities for joint research and thereby support German and African universities, research institutes and companies in the internationalisation of their research
  • aim to drive relevant, joint topics forward through co-operation
  • cultivate seeds of innovation in the partner country to improve the country's competitiveness
  • incorporate local and regional expertise and make it available
  • make preparations for applications for follow-up projects – scientific programmes of the BMBF, the DFG, the national programmes of the partner country (if applicable), EU programmes or programmes from national and international development co-operation organisations (including the KfW banking group, GTZ, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank)

The funding of mobility measures should facilitate new contacts or strengthen existing contact with suitable partners.
The partner countries include the Sub-Saharan African countries with the exception of South Africa. However, it is expressly desired that partners from South Africa and from the whole of northern Africa are included in the initiation of multilateral co-operation activities.

3. Funding recipients

Entities entitled to apply for funding include German universities, non-academic research institutes, clinics actively involved in research as well as companies that work together with partner organisations from Africa. Applications from, or with the participation of, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME1)  from Germany are expressly desired.

4. Funding prerequisites

To receive project funding, at least one German and one African research institute must maintain a co-operation. The recipient of the funding must conclude a letter of intent and a co-operation agreement with its African partner. Several research institutes as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises may also be involved in this agreement.
In addition to the German applicant or to the German co-operation applying for funding, at least one but preferably several further scientific organisations from Sub-Saharan Africa should be involved.
Compliance with the procedure, see point 6.

5. Nature, scope and amount of funding

The total funding applied for per project can amount to EUR 15,000 for up to six months. For state universities, an additional project allowance of 20% of the total expenditure (excluding travel costs) is granted.
Funding can be granted through project funding as non-repayable subsidies for the following expenditures:

  1. Travel costs to Africa for German experts: Provision of train and plane tickets (economy class) and, if applicable, further travel costs in the partner country (e.g. rental vehicle) for visits of up to a maximum of 20 days including reimbursement of the necessary visa and a daily allowance (depending on the country, currently between EUR 82 and EUR 107 per day, see In justified exceptional cases, a longer visit may be granted.
  2. Travel costs to Germany for African experts: Provision of train and plane tickets (economy class) and, if applicable, further travel costs for the journey to and from the airport in Africa and Germany. Furthermore, for visits of up to a maximum of 20 days, including costs for temporary residencies, a daily allowance (currently EUR 104 per day) can be claimed. Note: contributions towards health insurance and, if applicable, other insurance policies are covered by the daily allowance and must be paid for by the recipient of the funding. In justified exceptional cases, the possibility of a longer visit may be reviewed.
  3. In justified exceptional cases, subsidies for material expenses (primarily workshop costs) may be granted within a limited scope. Material expenses apportioned to the basic equipment of the organisation applying for the funding are not eligible.
  4. In principle, personnel costs are not covered or subsidised.

6. Procedure

6.1 Involvement of the International Bureau of the BMBF and request for documentation

The BMBF has commissioned the International Bureau with processing the funding measures:

Internationales Büro des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (IB)
im Projektträger beim Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
53227 Bonn

Scientific contact person at the International Bureau:

Petra Ruth Mann (southern Africa)
Tel.: +49-228-38 21-1461

Nina Helm (western, central and eastern Africa)
Tel.: +49-228-3821-1546

Administrative/financial contact person at the International Bureau:

Stephanie Neumann
Tel.: +49-228 3821-1848

In the event of technical questions regarding Internet-based application, please contact:

Mr Maik Brattan
Tel.: +49-228-3821-1651

6.2 Submission of official funding applications and decision-making procedure

Applications are accepted and processed on an ongoing basis. This announcement expires on 1 September 2012.
The funding procedure has two stages. In the first stage of the procedure, a project outline is requested. This project outline is to be submitted electronically in English using PT-Outline
If, after the first evaluation, eligibility for funding can be considered, an official application is requested during the second stage. It is requested that the content of this application be made different to that of the project outline, but presented in an identically structured application, and it is also requested that official funding applications be prepared. This should be done using the electronic application system "Easy" that has been web-based since 1 January 2011 and can be accessed at the following web address:
In parallel to electronic application via "Easy", the final (finalized in the electronic application) version of the application signed by the German side (original signature) and the foreign side (scanned signature sufficient) is to be sent by post (punched, not bound!) to the International Bureau at the following address:

Eliza Cwynar
Internationales Büro des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (IB)
im Projektträger beim Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
53227 Bonn, Germany

The digital application form provided must be used without fail. In addition, the application must be written in English. Any applications received that do not use the form provided will be excluded from the selection process. (see
The applications should include a precise description of the objectives and necessary project preparation methods on a maximum of ten pages.

The project outline and the application form are structured identically:

  1. Key Terms
  2. Coordinating Applicants and Partner Institution(s)
  3. Project Objectives
    1. Brief Description of the Mobility Measure
    2. Scientific Aim of the Subsequent Research Cooperation
    3. Context
    4. Added Value and Utilization Targets
  4. Task Schedule
    1. Scheduling and Steps of Procedure
    2. Role Allocation of Partners
  5. Qualification of Participants
    1. Key Aspects of Previous Pertinent Activities
    2. Most Important Relevant Publications/Patents
    3. Measures Promoting Equal Opportunities – Involvement of Young Scientists from Both Continents and Realization of Gender Aspects
  6. Prospects of Success after Mobility Measure
    1. Financing Scheme
    2. CVs
    3. Letter of Intent

The IB will conclude a private-law funding contract on behalf of the BMBF with the applicants selected to receive funding. The administrative regulations under section 44 of the German Federal Budget Code (BHO) apply for the authorisation, payment and settlement of the funding as well as for verification and the examination of the use of and, if applicable, the necessary termination of the funding contract and the reclamation of the granted funding.
The national contact points of the German Federal Government provide information and advice regarding EU funding programmes. The German portal for the 7th research framework programme of the EU at offers additional information, addresses and contact persons at the national contact points. Before submitting an application to the International Bureau, it is recommended that the responsible national contact point is consulted.

6.3. Evaluation criteria

The received funding applications are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Compliance with the prerequisites for funding (see above)
  • Stimulation of new partnerships
  • Options for long-term, continuous co-operation
  • Quality and scope of the planned networking
  • Quality and originality of the proposed co-operation topic
  • Added value for partner organisations
  • Innovative content
  • Practical application (degree of requirement- and influence-orientation, especially in view of the current challenges faced in Africa)
  • Classification of activities in terms of existing political targets on the local, national, regional and global level
  • Promotion of young scientists
  • Promotion of equal opportunities
  • Qualification of the applicant and all other partners involved

Furthermore, the following are also taken into consideration in the evaluation (but are not obligatory requirements):

  • Contribution to ecologically adapted, socially sustainable and economically viable concepts (‘sustainability’)
  • Involvement of social science for scientific fields

A decision will be made after final evaluation of the application on the basis of the criteria specified above. The applicant will be informed in writing of the result of the evaluation.

7. Entry into force

This announcement comes into effect on the date of publication in the Bundesanzeiger (German Federal Gazette).
Bonn, Germany, on
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
on behalf of


1In accordance with the EU definition of SME: see

Additional information

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