How Does Government Funding Work?

The diversity of the German research system is also reflected in its funding. The so-called financing sector consists of government, industry, foundations and private non-profit organisations as well as foreign donors, which include, above all, the European Union.

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The so-called performing sectors are higher education institutions, government institutions (i.e. publicly funded R&D organisations) as well as private non-profit organisations (e.g. foundations) and business enterprises. Many of them are not only funded by government, but also by third-party funds from industry or funds from abroad. Conversely, private research by industry can also receive a certain element of public funding (see diagram).

On Which Criteria Is Funding Based?

Federal Government research funding is intended to finance the development of new ideas and technologies. Funds are made available for a broad spectrum of research: this ranges from basic research in the natural sciences and structural research funding at higher education institutions to innovation support and technology transfer.

The criteria for research funding are:

  • Level of innovation: How innovative is a project from the research or technological perspective?
  • Utility: What are the prospects of success? In the case of technological developments, is there an utilisation plan?
  • Avoidance of double funding: Has the project idea already been funded?

Who Receives Funding?

Public-sector research funding is provided to support research institutions and business enterprises. The funding of individuals is not permitted. Individual funding is awarded by research funding organisations like the DFG.

How Is Research Funding Implemented?

Research funding is usually oriented towards certain research fields. At the same time, however, there are several cross-departmental measures organised in an interdisciplinary way. The funding database of the Federal Government provides information about the funding programmes of the Federal Government, the Länder and the European Union.

More information

Federal Funding Advisory Service on Research and Innovation

Federal Funding Advisory Service on Research and Innovation

Do you have any questions concerning research and innovation funding in Germany? The Federal Funding Advisory Service on Research and Innovation is the central point of contact. Its range of duties include identifying suitable funding programmes, advising on the federal, state and EU research and funding landscape, assisting in the classification of project ideas and recommending specialist partners: www.foerderinfo.bund.de Federal Funding Advisory Service on Research and Innovation

Funding Catalogue of Federal Government Project Funding

Funding Catalogue of Federal Government Project Funding

Here you can find out more about over 110,000 completed or ongoing research projects funded by the Federal Government: www.foerderportal.bund.de > Förderkatalog Funding Catalogue of Federal Government Project Funding

Current Announcements

Current Announcements

Here you will find an overview of all current calls for proposals for research funding: www.internationales-buero.de > Funding Current Announcements