German Federation of Industrial Research Associations

AiF Funding Organisation - Laser

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) was founded in 1954. As a registered non-profit association, the AiF concentrates on application-oriented research and development for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). That is why it primarily promotes interchange between industry and science in order to swiftly put new research findings into practice. Its services are especially oriented towards German firms. The association is active at the national and European level. 

Innovation network

The AiF has established an innovation network that involves more than 100 industrial research associations with approximately 50,000 companies (mainly SMEs).

Since its foundation in 1954, the AiF has channeled around 12.5 billion euros of public funds into new developments and innovations, setting in motion over 238,000 research projects.

The industry-based research associations of the AiF are entitled to submit applications.

Organisational details

The AiF is organised by industry and is particularly involved in increasing the competitive strength of SMEs by supporting the efficient application and advancement of R&D programmes. This includes a variety of fields of applied research, such as process control, the construction industry, medical technology and food science. Two AiF subsidiaries based in Berlin and Cologne work as project sponsors and service providers for federal and state ministries and the EU.

The AiF promotes R&D for small and medium-sized enterprises in several ways:

  • Organisation of collective industrial research for the benefit of entire industrial sectors
  • Administration of programmes for governmental R&D support measures
  • Promotion of R&D through open innovation processes
  • Networking within and between industrial sectors and politics
  • Coordination of international cooperation networks for SMEs

Facts and figures

The headquarters of the AiF e.V. are located in Cologne; its two subsidiaries AiF Projekt GmbH and AiF F∙T∙K GmbH are based in Berlin and Cologne respectively 

Network of more than 100 industrial research associations from all sectors (manufacturing industry and service sector) with 50,000 affiliated companies (above all SMEs)

Approx. 180 employees

496 million euros of public funding for research projects on behalf of SMEs (2019)

Research budget

AiF Budget 640x360
Source: AiF

In 2019, the AiF managed an annual research budget of 496 million euros allocated from public funds for research projects on behalf of SMEs. It is currently a partner of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)



Bayenthalgürtel 23
50968 Cologne
+49 221 37680-0