Research Funding Tools
How the research funding process works and assistance with applications for grants
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) provides funding for research and development activities (e.g. studies, transfer of findings) and for the precompetitive practical implementation of research findings (e.g. pilot facilities).
Grants are available within the framework of the subject-oriented BMBF funding programme to commercial enterprises, universities, large-scale research establishments (in exceptional cases), technical colleges and other higher education institutions.
The German Aerospace Center Project Management Agency (PT-DLR) for Environment, Culture and Sustainability implements the technical and administrative aspects of R&D project funding on behalf of BMBF. Within the scope of our funding management remit, we provide advice to applicants and administer the implementation of projects.
The PT-DLR is only able to provide funding in specific areas of the funding programme, which are publicised in the form of calls for proposals in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger
). All applications for funding for projects must be submitted to the Project Management Agency using the appropriate forms.
Funding prerequisites for research and development projects include:
- The funding must be in the public interest
- Planned activities and goals correspond to one of the specialised programmes
- The project has reasonable prospects of a successful outcome, yet is connected with some element of commercial/scientific/technical risk
- The applicant possesses sufficient qualifications and has the capacity to implement the project
- The applicant has a sound financial basis and can demonstrate that they will make proper and appropriate use of the public funds provided
- Applicants from the commercial sector shall be prepared to make a proportionate contribution towards the R&D expenditure from their own funds, which shall not be less than one half of the total (depending on financial strength)
- By accepting a grant, the recipient of the funding assumes extensive obligations in respect of publication and reporting of findings and how these are utilised and exploited (e.g. patents)
Parties wishing to make an application are advised to register their interest with the person at PT-DLR who is the nominated contact for the relevant funding programme. The funding process will then proceed as follows:
- Initial contact
Advice offered by PT-DLR. The person submitting the outline proposal shall submit a project outline that is suitable for expert appraisal and that gives details of the research goals, the package of activities planned and the anticipated costs.
- Two-stage assessment procedure
In most cases applications will be subject to a two-stage assessment procedure.
- Expert appraisal of the outline by PT-DLR and external experts.
If appropriate, recommendation for submission of a formal proposal through PT-DLR.
Applicant submits formal proposal comprising a proposal in electronic and printed form, which shall be prepared using the EASY software system, signed with a legally valid signature and accompanied by the project description.
- Expert appraisal of the formal application.
In the case of a positive recommendation, PT-DLR will perform a technical and commercial assessment.
Approval of the proposal by the BMBF and/or PT-DLR.
Notification of decision relating to award of grant to the applicant/funding recipient.
- Project implementation
Phased payment of funds in line with project stages; PT-DLR assesses how funds are used.
Phased assessment of project progress.
- Project completion
PT-DLR assesses final report and how funds were utilised.
Publication of final research report through the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) at University Library Hanover. Assessment by PT-DLR of the research findings, which may last for up to two years after end of project.
In order to assist applicants, the BMBF provides two helpful software tools for use with direct funding programmes.
- The PT-Outline software is used to create project outlines.
- The electronic application assistant (EASY) is used to create outlines and pro-posals for project funding applications:
- EASY Skizze (alternative: PT-Outline) for submission of a project outline (e.g. response to a funding announcement or call for proposals)
- EASY AZA for expenses claims: for higher education institutions, Max-Planck Society, Leibniz Institutes, societies, non-profit companies and similar, predomi-nantly publicly funded establishments
- EASY AZK for claims for reimbursement of costs: for commercial enterprises, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Helmholtz Association
- EASY AAA for submissions expenditure basis (from €100,000 for each separate contract): for higher education institutions, Max-Planck Society, Leibniz Institutes and similar establishments
- EASY AAK for submissions on cost-basis (from €100,000 net for each separate contract): for commercial enterprises, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Helmholtz Association
- EASY AZV for applications by German federal agencies and subordinate federal establishments
Please refer to the "Formulare
" section of the EASY website for information on the legal regulations relating to project funding that apply to the submission of proposals and the exe-cution of projects.
Please do not rename any electronic files when submitting outlines and proposals.