As a service for our CLIB members, we are scanning funding portals on different levels regularly and summarise the most relevant funding opportunities for you on this page. You can find open calls on regional, federal, and European level below.
Just click on any of the open calls to find a summary in English. For national funding opportunities the full call may only be available in German.
If you miss any call on the site, please let us know and contact Katrin Kriebs (email@example.com) directly.
Regional Funding Opportunities
In „GreenEconomy.IN.NRW – Innovationen in Umweltwirtschaft, Circular Economy und Klimaanpassung“ the state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports you in research, innovation and development projects on climate and environmental protection, resource conservation, circular value creation and adaptation to climate change on the basis of the ERDF/JTF Framework Directive NRW.
Deadline: 20 February and 12 December 2024
Mittelstand innovativ und digital
With the programme, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIDE) strengthens small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in digitising the innovative power of their businesses, digitally developing their products, services and production processes and thus continuing to be one of the economic engines of the state in the future.
Regio.NRW – Transformation
„Regio.NRW“ is an instrument to support regions in their transformation and the further development of their strengths. Here, projects are to be funded that make a decisive contribution to successfully shaping regional transformation processes with a view to the specific profiles of the regions.
In order to ensure regional effectiveness, the projects should relate to a region of at least three districts or independent cities or, alternatively, at least one million inhabitants in North Rhine-Westphalia. Flexible spatial settings and overlapping regions are possible for different projects.
Deadline: 31 January 2025
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports you as a university or research institution on the basis of the ERDF/JTF Framework Directive NRW if you support founders in the further development of innovative products and services to entrepreneurial maturity – from basic research to market-oriented research and development to the founding of a company.
The focus of funding is on knowledge-intensive start-ups that are not limited to cutting-edge technology. This includes both innovative services and technology-oriented start-up projects as well as projects that address social innovations.
Deadline: 31 January and 31 July until July 2026
With the federal model project, Unternehmen Revier, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK), together with regional partners, has been making an active contribution to structural change in the four German lignite regions since 2017.
The available funding is intended to support application-oriented and innovative projects to shape structural change. The Rhenish mining area alone has 2 million euros available annually for funding.
Deadline: next cut-off dates in April and October 2024
In order to accelerate local innovations for a sustainable bioeconomy on their way to market maturity, the NRW state government has launched the third call for the ZukunftBIO.NRW funding programme. Project ideas can be submitted on an ongoing basis until 30 June 2024. Around 11.6 million euros are available for the third funding call.
Deadline: continuous until 30 June 2024
Zukunftsgutscheine für KMU im Rheinischen Revier
The NRW state government is launching the „Zukunftsgutscheine Rheinisches Revier“ funding programme to support SMEs in the green and digital transformation of their business model. The new funding programme provides small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 249 employees with funds from the European Union, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the federal government and the Federal Employment Agency: for the partial financing of consulting services, personnel costs, qualification and further training measures as well as necessary investments.
Deadline: 30 June 2024
Federal Funding Opportunities
Ausbildungscluster 4.0 in den Braunkohleregionen
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) supports clusters of a minimum of five organisations in the pilot testing of sector-specific mergers in vocational training in the lignite mining regions of the Lusatian, Central German and Rhenish coalfields.
They receive funding for:
- the formation of training clusters 4.0 to coordinate, advise and support customised offers for companies and trainees,
- Image campaigns for training places to be filled,
- Measures to support companies in training marketing, the recruitment of trainees and the teaching of digital and sustainable training content.
Deadline: 15 December 2023
CooperationVET - Projekte der internationalen Berufsbildungszusammenarbeit
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports individual and joint projects within the framework of international vocational training cooperation (iBBZ).
Funding is provided for exemplary, innovative concepts for action in vocational training and continuing education in 2 modules. You align your project with the interests and reform concerns of the BMBF partner countries and, as far as possible, take into account the needs of the German companies operating there in terms of recruiting and securing skilled workers.
Deadline: depending on individual programme published on www.berufsbildung-international.de
Digital jetzt – Investitionsförderung für KMU
SMEs and craft enterprises can apply for grants of up to 70 % for investments within the framework of two modules:
Module 1: Investment in digital technologies, i.e. the acquisition of new hardware and software.
Module 2: The investment in the qualification of employees aims to build up the know-how necessary for the sustainable digitisation of your company directly in your company.
Deadline: continuous, latest 31 December 2023
Entwicklung regenerativer Kraftstoffe
The Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport (BMDV) supports you in the development of renewable fuels.
Funding is provided in particular for application-oriented projects on Development and demonstration projects, feasibility studies, Innovation clusters on topics that are central to the objectives of the funding program, innovation consulting services and innovation support services such as testing and certification for the purpose of developing more efficient products, processes or services, and obtaining, validating and defending patents.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off date on 31 March and 30 September
EXIST-Forschungstransfer (research transfer)
EXIST Transfer of Research has two phases of funding:
In the first phase, results of research that have the potential of becoming the basis of a start-up business are developed further. The objective is to carry out further resource development to clarify fundamental problems involved in converting academic findings into technical products and processes. The business concept based on these findings should be made into a business plan and the planned business start-up should be prepared systematically.
In the second phase of funding further resource development, measures to start business operations and meeting the prerequisites for external business financing are at the centre of interest.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off date on 31 January and 31 July
EXIST-Gründungsstipendium (start-up grant)
The exist business Start-up grant supports students, graduates, and scientists from universities and research institutes who want to turn their business idea into a business plan. The start-up projects should be innovative technology or knowledge-based projects with significant unique features and good commercial prospects of success.
The start-up teams receive an EXIST start-up grant at attractive conditions for a period of 12 months to develop a business plan and prepare for their business start-up with the support of their university or research institution.
Förderprogramm Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (FPNR)
Several calls within the programme.
The „Renewable Resources“ funding programme provides the framework for funding research, development and demonstration projects on renewable resources by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It is based on the goals and guiding principles of the National Sustainability Strategy and the Bioeconomy Policy Strategy, as well as on other strategies and programmes such as the Energy Research Programme, the Forest Strategy 2020 and the Bioeconomy 2030 Research Strategy, and the German Resource Efficiency Programme.
Through its “GO-Bio initial” funding programme, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to identify and develop early research ideas in life sciences that have a clear potential for innovation.
Its purpose is to support project work in order to advance research outcomes to a level where they become eligible for other more established programmes.
Deadline: annual cut-off date on 15 February
The object of the funding in the programme is to provide expert advice as well as support to the beneficiary company by authorised consulting firms in the implementation of necessary measures in the modules „Digitisation Strategy“, „IT Security“, „Digitised Business Processes“, „Data Competence“ or „Digital Market Development“ in accordance with the state of the art. Economic, social and ecological sustainability must be taken into account.
Deadline: 30 June 2024
Internationale Zusammenarbeit in Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the networking of research and education with partners around the world in different calls. Funding is provided for the expansion of international contacts and networks.
Depending on the project, German universities, non-university institutions and small and medium-sized enterprises are eligible to apply.
Deadline: Individual deadlines for the country-specific calls
INVEST - Subsidy for venture capital
If you are a young innovative company looking for capital and you would like to acquire business shares in young innovative companies as a private investor, you can receive an acquisition grant or an exit grant under certain conditions.
The amount of funding for the acquisition grant is 20 percent (or 10 percent in the case of convertible loans) of the issue price of the shares.
In the case of an exit grant, you receive 25 percent of the profit from the sale of an INVEST share.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports high-risk industrial research and pre-competitive development projects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the field of biomedicine. Your project can be funded as an application-related industrial research project and also as a pre-competitive development project. Your project must be important for the future market positioning of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off date on 15 April and 15 October
The funding focuses on forward-looking, climate-neutral products from biogenic resources that minimise environmentally harmful emissions and waste or integrate processes into natural cycles or value chains.
Funding is provided for individual and collaborative projects in industrial research and experimental development.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off date on 15 April and 15 October
KMU-innovativ: Ressourceneffizienz und Klimaschutz
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports high-risk industrial research and pre-competitive development projects of SMEs. The funding focuses on cross-technology and application-related individual and joint projects on the thematic priorities of raw material efficiency, energy efficiency and climate protection, sustainable water management and sustainable land management.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off dates on 15 April and 15 October
KMU-innovativ: Zukunft der Wertschöpfung
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports SMEs or medium-sized companies in high-risk pre-competitive and company-driven research, development and transformation projects.
Funding is granted, for example, for the following topis:
- new and improved products, machines and systems for industrial production,
- new manufacturing technologies and process chains,
- making production more flexible,
- digitalisation and virtualisation of production and production systems (Industry 4.0),
- new business models, for example monetisation of data, blockchain technologies, B2B platforms,
- adaptation of companies and employees to change,
- increasing the competences and qualifications of the workforce, lifelong learning.
Deadline: semi-annual cut-off dates on 15 April and 15 October
neue Produkte für die Bioökonomie
The object of the funding is the exploration of new product ideas for a bio-based economy as well as feasibility studies on their technical implementation. The call is open to all topics and covers all areas of the bioeconomy as defined in the „National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030“.
Projects can be funded in these 2 phases: Exploratory phase and Feasibility phase.
Deadline: annual cut-off dates on 01 February
Nutzung und Bau von Demonstrationsanlagen für die industrielle Bioökonomie
If you have developed bioeconomic products or processes on a laboratory scale and you want to demonstrate the transfer to industrial practice, you can receive a grant of up to EUR 2 million under certain conditions.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) supports necessary development steps in the field of the industrial bioeconomy, which require in particular the use and construction of demonstration plants.
The BMWK provides for 3 different funding modules:
Module A: Use of multi-purpose plants in Germany as well as in Europe to test and further develop processes in the industrial bioeconomy.
Module B: Preparatory activities and feasibility studies for the construction of single-use demonstration plants.
Module C: Integration of processes into industrial value-added networks, for example in a so-called model region of the industrial bioeconomy.
Deadline: cut-off dates on 01 March, 30 June, 15 October until June 2024
Ressourceneffiziente Kreislaufwirtschaft − Zirkuläre nachhaltige Textilien
With this funding guideline, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to promote the circular economy as an effective means of climate and resource protection in the German textile industry. The overarching goals are to expand the research and innovation potential and to ensure the competitiveness and future viability of the textile industry and textile research in Germany as a business location, to promote sustainable and recyclable textiles, and to develop new business models, services, and technologies for extending the useful life, tracking and recycling of textiles.
Deadline: 08 January 2024
Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovationen SPRIND
SPRIND’s goal is to create new leap innovations from Germany. That means products, services and systems that make all of our lives noticeably and sustainably better.
The support is comprehensive. SPRIND finances, helps assemble teams and connects with the right networks in science, business and politics.
Validierung des technologischen und gesellschaftlichen Innovationspotenzials wissenschaftlicher Forschung – VIP+
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports you as a research institution, university or public institution in financing projects in all research areas. Funding is provided for projects that systematically demonstrate the feasibility and practicability of research results as well as their innovation potential. The research results concerned must be in the validation phase at the time of the project, i.e. between discovery and application.
verbesserte Produktionskapazitäten sowie F&E bei Speziallipiden und anderen Hilfsstoffen für mRNA-Impfstoffe und andere mRNA-Arzneimittel
The aim of this funding guideline is to contribute to the resilience of the supply chains for mRNA medicinal products in Europe by improving and expanding the production capacities for special lipids in Germany in the short term. In addition, funding is to be provided to companies and research institutions that (further) develop production processes for special lipids in the medium term and research and develop new special lipids and other excipients for mRNA drugs in the medium to long term.
Deadline: 31 December 2023
Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand (ZIM)
The Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) is a nationwide funding programme that is open to all technologies and sectors. The ZIM aims to sustainably strengthen the innovative power and thus the competitiveness of SMEs. Companies can carry out research and development as individual projects or as cooperation projects with research institutions or other companies.
European Funding Opportunities
COST - European Cooperation in Science and Technology
COST funds interdisciplinary research networks called COST Actions. These Actions bring together researchers, innovators and other professionals including industry specialists, who are based in Europe and beyond, to collaborate on research topics for a period of 4 years.
The funding a COST Action receives covers the expenses of networking activities rather than research and as such is used to organise and fund events, Short-term Scientific Missions, Training Schools, communication activities, and virtual networking tools.
Deadline: continuous, next collection date expected Autumn 2024
EIC Accelerator Pilot
The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. In some cases small mid-caps (up to 500 employees) are supported.
The EIC Accelerator provides substantial financial support. In addition, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.
eureka Network projects
The Network projects programme eases collaboration between organisations in Eureka countries offering you the freedom to design your project proposal and build your ideal consortium. With limited eligibility criteria and minimal paperwork, taking part accelerates your access to public funding.
Deadline: programme ending 31 December 2025
Horizon Europe Annual Work Programme 2023-24
The Commission has now adopted the main Horizon Europe work programme 2023-24, with a budget of ca. 13.5 billion EUR, over 40 % of which is aimed towards projects connected to climate action, biodiversity and reducing GHG. Calls will open in different clusters and programmes, including the Cluster 6, of special interest to CLIB members active in biotech and bioeconomy.
Deadline: various deadlines for the different clusters and programmes
Contact us if you want to know more or are interested in submitting a proposal.
Interreg NWE Programme 2021-2027
Since the industrial revolution, North West Europe has been at the vanguard of industrialisation and economic development in Europe. However, this century of growth came at a cost on the environment, on people, and on territorial inequalities.
The Interreg NWE Programme is looking for ways to restore this. The NWE territorial analysis highlights specific territorial needs where action is required to reverse the trends of the past and to prepare regions for the sustainable transition towards better environmental conditions and new socio-economic opportunities.
Deadline: several calls twice per year
Interreg VI-Programm Deutschland-Nederland
Interreg is funding cross-border projects between Germany and the Netherlands in the programme Deutschland-Nederlands. In different priorities and focus topics, and project sizes consortia can apply for funding. Please get in contact with the regional programme management if you are interested in submitting a proposal
Deadline: continuous, cut-off dates every 4 month