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Research funding

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  • Advice to companies on securing skilled workers / advice on potential
    This program promotes participation-oriented consulting for companies in NRW. The consulting must address one of the following topics: 1) Work organization, 2) Demographic change, 3) Health. 4) Digitalization or 5) Competence development and qualification consulting. Funding is provided for 50 percent of the expenses (excluding VAT) for a maximum of ten consulting days and 500 euros per consulting day.
  • Employee transfer (promotion of transfer companies)
    The program supports the transfer of people threatened with unemployment into new employment through counseling and accompanying activities. In order to be eligible, one of the following criteria must apply to the company: 
    1. A company that is to be classified as a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) according to EU criteria. The SME property is to be declared by the company.
    2. A company that is threatened with insolvency or is insolvent. Evidence must be provided, for example, in the form of a ruling by the local court.
    3. A company which is demonstrably in economic difficulties and is of particular importance to the region in terms of labor market policy. Proof must be provided.
    4. Employees in the company must be at risk of unemployment due to a reduction in staff. The funding amount is a lump sum of 80 percent of the standard unit costs per month and per job, and the funding period is 12 months.
  • Advice to companies on securing skilled workers / advice on potential
    This program promotes participation-oriented consulting for companies in NRW. The consulting must address one of the following topics: work organization, demographic change, health, digitization or skills development and qualification consulting. Funding is provided for 50 percent of the expenses (excluding VAT) for a maximum of ten consulting days and 500 euros per consulting day.
  • Employee transfer (promotion of transfer companies)
    The program supports the transfer of people threatened with unemployment into new employment through counseling and accompanying activities. In order to be eligible, one of the following criteria must apply to the company:
    1. A company that is to be classified as a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) according to EU criteria. The SME status must be declared by the company.
    2. A company that is threatened with insolvency or is insolvent. Evidence must be provided, for example, in the form of a ruling by the local court.
    3. A company which is demonstrably in economic difficulties and is of particular importance to the region in terms of labor market policy. Proof must be provided.
    4. Employees in the company must be at risk of unemployment due to a reduction in staff. The funding amount is a lump sum of 80 percent of the standard unit costs per month and per job, and the funding period is 12 months.
  • Education voucher NRW
    Within the framework of the Bildungsscheck NRW, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with the support of the European Social Fund (ESF), promotes participation in continuing vocational training. These can serve to provide professional qualifications or to teach technical skills or key qualifications. New forms of continuing education such as online-based training (for example, online events and e-learning) are also supported. In-company seminars are also funded. Eligibility is granted to individuals as well as companies. In company access, SMEs with more than 250 employees with their registered office or place of work in North Rhine-Westphalia are eligible for funding. In individual access, taxable annual income must be between EUR 20,000 and EUR 40,000 (between EUR 40,000 and EUR 80,000 for jointly assessed persons). If the annual income is lower, the federal government’s education premium can be used. On the other hand, there is no upper income limit for company-based access. The maximum amount of funding is 50 percent of the course costs, up to a maximum of EUR 500. A maximum of ten education vouchers can be applied for in the case of company access, and one education voucher per calendar year in the case of individual access.
  • Promotion of in-company training in combination
    In this program, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with the support of the European Social Fund (ESF), promotes the provision of in-company training places in a training alliance between companies and an educational service provider. The aim is to improve the supply of initial in-company training, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. As a rule, the company concluding the training contract must have fewer than 250 employees and the company must not be able to provide training on its own. Both must be confirmed by the chamber. The training in the network must be designed in such a way that the training period is at least six months for the partners in the network and at least 12 months for the company concluding the training contract. The amount of the grant is €4,500 per training place. Applications must be submitted to the relevant district government.

  • The federal government’s funding database offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of all German and European funding programs for your own research. Using filter functions and detailed searches, interested parties such as entrepreneurs, universities or start-ups can display suitable programs at regional, national and EU level with just a few clicks.
  • Specialized programs BMBF
    The current BMBF framework program “Innovations for production, Service and work of tomorrow” aims to find applicable solutions to maintain and expand value creation and jobs in Germany. This program runs until 2020 and the funding budget amounts to around 1 billion euros during this period.
  • KMU-innovativ
    The BMBF’s KMU-innovativ program supports both individual projects and collaborative projects. The aim is to strengthen the innovation potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in the field of cutting-edge research. The funding measure is particularly attractive for companies applying for the first time due to a simplified application procedure. The advice hotline (“pilot service”) provides quick and comprehensive guidance on funding programs. Project outlines can be submitted at any time. Evaluation deadlines are April 15 and October 15 of the current year. Companies in the commercial sector with fewer than 250 employees, annual sales of no more than 50 million euros and an annual balance sheet of no more than 43 million euros are eligible to apply.
  • Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM)
    With the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM), the BMWi supports innovation and development projects of small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim is to bring successful development results to market more quickly. An important aspect is the cooperation between companies and business-related research institutions. Funding is provided for both the participating companies and the research institutes involved. The special feature of this program is that applications can be submitted on an ongoing basis. Companies with up to 499 employees are eligible to apply.
  • Industrial Cooperative Research (IGF)
    The Industrial Cooperative Research (IGF) funding instrument has a bottom-up approach and is used to form long-term networks, and is therefore mostly handled by research institutions. There is no funding for companies here.
  • BMWi innovation vouchers (go-Inno)
    In the search for new products and processes, SMEs in particular often reach the limits of their capacity. In order to still be able to make investments in the right place, it can make sense to make use of consulting services. With go-inno, the BMWi’s innovation vouchers, SMEs can cover 50 percent of their expenses for external consulting services. These service providers advise companies on innovations in the areas of technology, organization and management. The providers are selected by the BMWi according to strict quality criteria. An application procedure is not required.
  • Innovation competence INNO-KOM
    The INNO-KOM Innovation Competence funding program supports the performance of non-profit external industrial research institutions in order to sustainably strengthen the innovative power of SMEs in structurally weak regions of Germany.
  • Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI)
    Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) is the economic development agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. Investors from Germany as well as from abroad can be supported by Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) in the selection of funding programs. GTAI advises before the start of the project regarding suitable programs as well as the appropriate financing models.
  • Research Grants Act
    On January 1, 2020, the Act on Tax Subsidies for Research and Development (Research Subsidy Act) came into force. Under this law, R&D projects that are classified as basic research, industrial research or experimental development are subsidized. All companies subject to income or corporation tax in Germany are entitled to the subsidy, irrespective of the size of the company (group perspective). The basis of assessment is the personnel expenses subject to payroll tax for personnel carrying out favored R&D activities. The subsidy rate is 25 percent. For R&D activities up to June 30, 2020, the maximum annual subsidy amount is €0.5 million per company. For R&D expenditures made in the period after June 30, 2020, and before July 1, 2026, the cap on the assessment base is four million euros instead of two million euros. This means that a maximum funding amount of one million euros per year is achievable in the years 2020 to 2026.

The new research framework program of the European Commission started on January 01, 2021 and is one of the largest funding programs for research and innovation worldwide. The total funding volume of HORIZON EUROPE amounts to EUR 95.5 billion. Of this, EUR 5.4 billion comes from the EU’s “NextGenerationEU” build-up plan. In addition, there is EUR 4 billion in additional investments from the EU long-term budget, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The content is geared to important social issues such as health, the environment and transport. A central goal is to promote excellence in European science.

On behalf of the BMBF and in cooperation with the European Commission, the National Contact Point (NCP) supports German interested parties in successful participation with information and intensive advice.

  • The VDMA has been successful in organizing and handling research cooperations for many years. VDMA Services GmbH has a wide range of contacts with the research networks and, above all, with the funding bodies. The VFI provides support in arranging research cooperations, advice on research funding, project management of research projects and rapid knowledge transfer of research results.
  • The Forschungskuratorium Maschinenbau e.V. (FKM), with its 8 independent research associations and a further 21 research-active trade associations within the VDMA, offers efficient and beneficial cooperation platforms for pre-competitive joint industrial research (IGF).