R&D projects can count on numerous forms of financial support. There are many programs allocating R&D grants, interest-reduced loans, and special partnership programs. Financing is provided by the European Union (EU), the German government, and the individual German states.
Research and development (R&D) is considered to be among the most important areas for the development of the German economy. Industry and the public sector have made a commitment to spend around three percent of national GDP per year on R&D activities. This amounts to approximately EUR 70 billion R&D spending each year.
R&D incentives programs generally provide money for R&D project personnel expenditure. Other costs for instruments and equipment may also be eligible if they can be clearly assigned to the relevant R&D project (if such instruments and equipment are used beyond the lifetime of the R&D project, only the depreciation costs for the duration of the R&D project are considered eligible).
To participate in R&D funding programs, companies must define an R&D project with clear objectives and a fixed time line. The project application should highlight the innovative character of the project and the technological risks involved.
An application for R&D funding also has to set out a commercialization plan, detailing how research results will be transformed into products, processes or services which generate additional turnover and/or employment in the region where the R&D project is located.
The total amount of incentives a project may receive depends on the size of the company (small, medium-sized, or large), whether the project is conducted in cooperation with other companies or research institutes, and the research category of the project. The research category expresses the scope of the intended projecect.