The federal ministries provide a broad range of research funding programs and measures. For more information on principle objectives and current priorities please consult the individual ministry websites. The federal funding database is an excellent starting point for viewing all current calls for proposals.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research contributes to the development of new ideas and technology by supporting research and innovation projects through thematically oriented, fixed-term funding programs. By nurturing partnerships between science and industry, these programs create an ideal landscape for developing applied solutions for current issues and innovative products and services.
Each program is managed by different project agencies depending on the program focus. These agencies are the primary point of contact for applicants.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has the key objectives of strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promoting new technology and innovations to maintain the competitiveness of the German economy. Its funding programs are designed for research and development activities which contribute to an innovation-friendly environment. Through encouraging partnerships between industry (especially SMEs) and universities, BMWi funding programs aim to safeguard knowledge and technology transfer. Important programs financed by the BMWi include: Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and Industrial Collective Research (IGF). The project agency is AiF Projekt GmbH.
Future-centric research which focuses on climate, renewable resources and feeding the global population is financed by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) funding programs. One major objective of these programs is protecting the natural environment through sustainable agriculture production. Food safety and healthy nutrition are also further important research areas.
The Federal Environment Agency is the central environmental authority of the German federal government which coordinates environmental affairs with international institutions such as the WHO and the European Environment Agency. Every year, the Federal Environment Agency finances research projects from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety’s Department Research Program (formerly "Environmental Research Program"). The projects are mainly awarded as public tender contracts.
The Research Funding Section can offer initial advice on funding programs coordinated by the federal ministries and also provides advice and assistance for the transition between preparing research proposals to starting projects.
The online funding database of the federal government contains current information on funding programs of the federal government, states and the European Union.