A student works in the geoinformatics lab

Photo: Katharina Dubno

Research Funding

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General Information

The aim of research funding is an application-oriented transfer of knowledge and technology through research cooperations between universities (of applied sciences) and partners from the world of business.

Universities of applied sciences are an indispensable part of the German science system due to their unique combination of characteristics - practice-oriented teaching and application-oriented research. Since 2006, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has given an enormous boost to universities of applied sciences.

National research funding

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)

The AiF promotes research and development for the benefit of small and medium-sized enterprises. As the umbrella organization of an industry-supported innovation network, it links business, science and government and offers practical innovation consulting. As the sponsor of joint industrial research and other federal funding programs, the AiF is committed to the effectiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises.


The BMBF supports research as follows:

  • Promotion of basic research and its organizations (together with the states),
  • Promotion of key technologies, in particular in the fields of health research, information technology, ecological research and mobility, research and development for employment and innovative work, transport and space research and marine technology
  • Promotion of governmental sustainability research in the fields of environment, climate, ecology and health, promotion of marine and polar research, research and development to improve working conditions, educational research and research in the humanities and social sciences.


The Federal Government's funding database on the internet provides a complete and up-to-date overview of the funding programs of the Federal Government, the states and the European Union.

The funding activities are summarized independently of the funding level or the funding body according to uniform criteria and consistently presented. It also shows the interrelationships between the individual programs, which are important for the efficient use of government funding.

Research funding from the European Union

Research funding by the European Union is provided in particular through framework programs for research and technological development. It defines the objectives and priorities of the funding for a period of five years.


With Horizon 2020, the European Union has launched an important research funding instrument for the period from 2014 to 2020.

CORDIS is the official portal for participation in Horizon 2020 to provide information on relevant developments in European science and technology.


The EU Office of the BMBF initially acts as a general contact point for general information and questions on the EU Research Framework Program. It is located at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) within the DLR Project Management Organization (PT-DLR).


The European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi) is the joint service platform of the major German research organizations united in the "Association for the Promotion of European and International Cooperation in Science e.V.".

The KoWi publication series offers current details and background information on developments in EU research policy.

Drafts of the 2013 work programs for the calls for proposals:

  • "Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology/KBBE"
  • "Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and New Production  Technologies/NMP"
  • "Energy"
  • "Transport (including Aeronautics)"
  • "Information and Communication Technologies/ICT"


Horizon 2020 - Research financing of the European Union


Foundations for research funding were established to support economic and technology policy goals.

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