You don't have to realise your idea on your own. Research and development projects in the commercial sector can be financially supported by funding from the federal government, the Länder and the EU – through grants, loans or equity capital. If you would like to take advantage of these, you should consider which funding options exist and how you can make the best use of them for your project before you start planning. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, there are a number of funding opportunities that are specifically designed to meet their needs.
Promoting R&D projects specifically for SMEs in a simpler, more continuous and more short-term manner – that is the aim of the "Integrated Thuringian Research, Technology and Innovation Promotion" (FTI-Thuringia). A central point for companies in this context is the technology funding area. It offers various possibilities to get support for collaborative R&D projects or also for the implementation of R&D into market-ready products, processes or services. The Thüringer Aufbaubank website provides a complete overview for businesses:
Research and development and innovation consulting in SMEs are not only eligible assets in Thuringia. The federal ministries also offer a variety of opportunities for financial support through long-term funding programmes and temporary funding calls.
The largest programme is the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), which supports market-oriented research and innovation projects by SMEs and cooperation projects with research facilities. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundeswirtschaftsministerium) provides a general overview of innovation funding for SMEson its website, including funding for start-ups, pre-competitive research or innovation consulting.
Since 2007, the "KMU-innovativ" funding initiative has been the central programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to promote innovations in fields of technology with particular relevance for the future in Germany. Companies can also actively participate as partners in interdisciplinary alliances within the programme family Innovation & Structural Change, including RUBIN – "Regional Entrepreneurial Alliances for Innovation” (Regionale unternehmerische Bündnisse für Innovation) or WIR! – "Change through Innovation in the Region” (Wandel durch Innovation in der Region).
The European Commission also supports businesses through many programmes and actions. For example, the Eurostars programme supports research-based SMEs and their partners in European cooperation in R&D projects.
The 9th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon Europe – also supports the involvement of SMEs with funding opportunities. In principle, SMEs are eligible to apply in all areas of the Framework Programme. The EIC Accelerator is an instrument that specifically targets SMEs and start-ups and can be used to develop concrete innovations to market maturity and beyond. Information and advice on EU funding is available to businesses in Thuringia through the Enterprise Europe Network Thuringia (EEN Thüringen). This network also publishes the current and short-term calls/tenders for EU funding.
The Federal Research and Innovation Funding Advisory Service provides information on all issues relating to research and innovation funding from the Federal Government, the Länder and the European Commission. It also offers a free pilot service for SMEs.
Here we publish current funding announcements with time-limited submission deadlines (calls). The focus is on the relevant state and federal programmes and selected calls for EU funding, e.g. for strategic funding projects of the European Commission (IPCEIs), in which companies can participate. Please do not hesitate to contact our managers for our field of specialisation. an.