All research programs financed by the German federal government have been concentrated within the federal High-Tech Strategy.
The High-Tech Strategy defines specific lead markets and priorities as well as key technologies with a high dependency on ongoing high-tech research and development - each of these consists of a number of different R&D programs.
Budgets and Research Sectors
Approximately EUR 5 billion annually is reserved for R&D projects in the form of non-repayable project grants. Grant rates can reach up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. Higher rates may be possible for SMEs. Cooperation between project partners, especially between enterprises and research institutions, is usually required.
The federal government periodically calls for R&D project proposals for specific research topics followed by a competition of best project ideas. Germany Trade & Invest's incentives experts regularly update and define the specific support possibilities for R&D projects in the scope of the High-Tech Strategy. Please contact us for more information using the contact button on the right.
Focus: SME Participation
A specific funding scheme called "KMU-innovativ" focuses on the participation of small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) within the High-Tech Strategy technology focus. Funding applications within the framework of the "KMU-innovativ" scheme are possible on an ongoing basis and are not connected to a specific research topic.
In addition, a number of national programs without a specific technological focus also exist. The Central Innovation Program for SMEs (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand, ZIM) is the most important one. Application for incentives under these programs is possible at all times and without any prior calls for proposals or application deadlines. Please contact Germany Trade & Invest's incentives experts for more information.
German Federal State Funding
In addition to programs run by the federal government, each German state has R&D grant programs - generally targeted at SMEs - in place. Some states put particular focus on specific industry clusters but programs without specific technological focus also exist. Cooperation between project partners is not always necessary.