09.06.2005 - 31.12.2013


by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of funding regulations for the funding programme “International Cooperation in Education and Research – Central, Eastern and South Eastern European Region. Version of 10 February 2012

Funding Purpose and legal basis | What is funded? | Who is funded? | How is the funding done? | Conditions for funding | Procedure | Decision-making procedure | Application form | Specialist Information and Counselling

1. Funding purpose and legal basis

1.1 Funding purpose

Bilateral cooperation in education and research with Central and Eastern European (CEE) and with South Eastern European (SEE) countries is marked by the EU's enlargement to the East and the creation of the European Education and Research Area. The republics of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary have been members of the European Union since 2004; Bulgaria and Romania since 2007. The integration of the countries of the Western Balkans into the EU is a priority for the European Union. Enlargement and integration processes are supported through appropriate funding instruments for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The current forms of bilateral cooperation are intended to strengthen the international and European focus of German institutions in the field of education and research, improve their competitiveness generally, and support the continuing European integration of CEE and SEE countries. By giving the BMBF's funding programmes an international outlook and linking them to the corresponding funding programmes in the partner countries, and by focussing on key areas of mutual interest – particularly in subject areas that are addressed in the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy (http://www.hightech-strategie.de/de/350.php) – bilateral cooperation at a European level is to be expanded and added value is to be generated at both a bilateral and a European level. In this context, the BMBF Programme "International Cooperation in Education and Research – Central, Eastern and South Eastern European Region" is making an important contribution to reaching the aims of the Federal Government's Internationalization Strategy.

With this BMBF programme, funds are being made available for preparatory projects in the field of applied research, development and education in order to support project applications under current BMBF funding programmes, the preparation of projects in the thematic priorities of the Seventh Research Framework Programme and other EU programmes that are relevant to research, and the Eurostars Programme. Another aim is to develop and support joint research bases that build on existing collaborations.

The BMBF programme “International Cooperation in Education and Research; Central, Eastern, and South Eastern European Region” (which is a regional call for proposals) forms part of the Federal Government’s Internationalization Strategy.

1.2. Legal basis

Project grants will be awarded in accordance with the present funding regulations, the BMBF's standard terms and conditions for grants on an expenditure or cost basis, and the administrative regulations under sections 23 and 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO). There is no legal entitlement to funding. A decision on the award of funding will be made after due assessment of the circumstances and within the limits of budget funds available.


2. What is funded?

2a) BMBF Funding Programmes

The BMBF Programme "International Cooperation in Education and Research – Central, Eastern and South Eastern European Region" has the aim of supporting the preparation of projects in applied research and development and in education under the current funding programmes (http://www.bmbf.de/en/99.php) of the BMBF. These include in particular

New technologies (http://www.bmbf.de/en/1000.php)
Life sciences (http://www.bmbf.de/en/1237.php)
Basic research (http://www.bmbf.de/en/98.php)
Energy (http://www.bmbf.de/de/12337.php)
The Environment and Sustainability (http://www.bmbf.de/en/502.php)
Social sciences and the humanities (http://www.bmbf.de/en/4630.php)

Information on the calls for proposals and the BMBF's funding regulations are available here (http://www.bmbf.de/en/furtherance/677.php).

2b) EU Research Programmes:

Support is also given to the preparation of projects in the field of applied research related to the following thematic priorities of the "Cooperation" programme of the EU's Seventh Research Framework Programme (http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html) and to other EU programmes which are relevant to research.

2c) Eurostars Programme

The preparation of projects for the Eurostars Programme (http://www.bmbf.de/foerderungen/13152.php) is also eligible for funding. Eurostars is a funding programme that forms part of the European Research Initiative EUREKA. It is mainly aimed at Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs*) that are interested in carrying out joint research and development projects with partners in other Member States. Eurostars follows the principles of EUREKA; in other words, there are no subject requirements (bottom-up principle) and proposals can be submitted at any time.

Before submitting an application for 2a, 2b or 2c to the International Bureau of the BMBF (see section 6), applicants should seek advice from the project management agencies for BMBF funding programmes, from the national contact points (http://www.forschungsrahmenprogramm.de/beratung.htm) for EU research programmes, and from the EUREKA Bureau (http://www.eureka.dlr.de/en/index.php) in the case of the Eurostars Programme.


New Projects: Funding will be provided for measures for the initiation and planning of projects whose funding is to be applied for under a BMBF funding programme or a European programme. These measures include preparatory missions, meetings of experts, thematic workshops, short-term feasibility studies (of up to 4 months) and pilot studies (of up to 12 months).

Integration in existing projects: Support can be given for measures such as preparatory missions, meetings of experts and workshops for the integration of partners from CEE/SEE countries in BMBF-funded projects that are already running, provided that this leads to a demonstratable increase in the value of these projects.

2d) Joint Research Bases:

By establishing joint research bases, closer links are to be forged between the staff, organization, and financing of university and research institutions in the partner countries and German university and research institutions as well as companies that are active in research, as a rule on the basis of existing cooperation schemes. The project partners are to establish an organizational structure in order to jointly develop their research potential and thus introduce more dynamic product and process innovations in the interest of the countries involved. Innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to be involved in the joint research bases.

Funding will be provided to measures for the development of concepts (including organizational model, research planning, acquisition of third party funding) for the establishment of joint research bases. These measures include preparatory missions, meetings of experts, workshops with German and foreign partners and other preparatory activities (see section 6.2).
Research bases that are already in the process of being built up and were previously funded by the BMBF under this call for proposals can, in exceptional cases, receive follow-up funding for up to one year for further development activities. In this case, an application must be submitted to the IB of the BMBF three months before the end of the funding period. It must contain all the information necessary to evaluate the appropriateness and the need for follow-up funding.


3. Who receives funding?

Applications for funding may be submitted by German institutions of higher education and non-university research establishments in collaboration with partner institutions form CEE/SEE countries. Preference will be given to applications involving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Hospitals that are active in the field of research and commercial companies with their head offices in Germany are also entitled to submit applications for the preparation of projects under BMBF and EU funding programmes (2a and 2b).

Research institutions that receive joint basic funding from the Federal Government and the Länder can be granted project funds to cover additional expenditure under certain conditions only.


4. What is the funding procedure?

The BMBF will support the preparation of projects by providing non-repayable grants. The following measures are eligible for grants on an expenditure or cost basis:

  • Travelling expenses incurred by German experts
  • Costs of visits by foreign experts to Germany

In well-founded special cases:

  • Staff on the German side, e.g. for the realization of events and feasibility studies (normally up to three person-months) and preparation of joint research bases (normally up to 6 person-months)
  • Costs of events (e.g. rental of venue, logistics)
  • Physical resources (e.g. consumables for pilot studies).

The grant may amount to a maximum of €50,000 for the preparation of particularly complex projects and joint research bases. Higher education institutions and teaching hospitals may apply for additional funding (project flat rate) amounting to 20% of the total project expenditure.

Grants for universities, research and science institutions and similar institutions will be calculated on the basis of the eligible project-related expenditure (or, in the case of the Helmholtz centres and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG), the eligible project-related costs), which can be funded up to a maximum of 100% in individual cases.

Project funding may be awarded in the form of non-repayable grants.

Grants for commercial companies are calculated on the basis of the project-related costs eligible for funding, up to 50% of which can, as a rule, be covered by government grants – depending on how near the project is to application. The BMBF policy requires an appropriate own contribution towards the eligible costs incurred - as a rule of at least 50%.

The European Commission's Community Framework for State Aid for Research, Development and Innovation must be taken into account when determining the rates of funding. The Community Framework allows differentiated rules on extra percentage points for collaborative projects proposed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which may result in a higher rate of funding.


5. Funding prerequisites and conditions

Applicants should familiarize themselves with the funding programmes of the BMBF, other existing national funding programmes (particularly in the fields of the High-Tech Strategy) and the EU Research Framework Programme in the context of the proposed project. Before submitting an application to the International Bureau of the BMBF, they should establish whether the proposed project fulfils the criteria of the BMBF funding programme, EU call or Eurostars call, with the assistance of the responsible BMBF project management agencies (http://www.bmbf.de/de/381.php), the National Contact Points for the EU Research Framework Programme (http://www.forschungsrahmenprogramm.de/nks.htm) or the EUREKA Bureau () in the case of the Eurostars Programme. The relevance of the proposed project to the topics of the call for proposals or the objectives of the BMBF funding programmes or the European Union and the expertise of the applicants, based on their previous work, are prerequisites for funding.

As a rule, at least two further institutions must be involved in addition to the German applicant, at least one of which must be from a CEE/SEE country. Larger cooperation projects involving several German and foreign partners are particularly welcome. The applicant must provide evidence of significant own funding contributions from the partners. The BMBF assumes that the relevant CEE/SEE countries will contribute to the funding of the projects.

Funding for the preparation of joint research bases from the German side presupposes complementary funding by the foreign partner through a funding institution of the partner country and a fundamental agreement on the part of the partners regarding their planned cooperation.

The application must contain the details necessary to assess the appropriateness and the need for funding.


6. Procedure

6.1 Involvement of the International Bureau of the BMBF

The following project management agency is responsible for the implementation of the "International Cooperation in Education and Research - Central, Eastern and South Eastern European Region" programme:

International Bureau of the BMBF at the
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
53227 Bonn
Tel.: ++49 228 3821 1453
Fax: ++49 228 3821 1444
Internet: http://www.internationales-buero.de/en/index.php

Further information is available from the International Bureau of the BMBF. The BMBF recommends that applicants contact the desk officer responsible for the country in question  (http://www.internationales-buero.de/en/2203.php) and obtain information about the funding opportunities available in the CEE/SEE partner countries prior to submitting their application.

Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania: Dr. Michael Lange, Tel. ++49 228 3821 1485

Slovakia: Dr. Hans-Peter Niller, Tel. ++49 228 3821 1468

Hungary, Romania, The Czech Republic: Dr. Ralf Hagedorn, Tel. ++49 228 3821 1492

Bulgaria, Slovenia: Mr. Christian Schache, Tel. ++49 228 3821 1465

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia: Mr. Ralf Hanatschek, Tel. ++49 228 3821 1482

6.2 Application

Applications should describe the objectives and the measures necessary for preparing the project in as much detail as possible and should be structured as follows:

Preparation of projects under the BMBF funding programmes, EU projects and Eurostars projects (2a, 2b, 2c)

  1. Topic
  2. - Coordinator
    - Partners involved
  3. Summary stating the BMBF and/or EU funding programme towards which the project preparation is geared as well as the application deadline
  4. Structured financing plan with details of the applicants' own funding contributions and of the total volume and funding volume of the proposed project
  5. Project description
    - Description of the current state of the art of science and technology; scientific objectives with detailed description of the relevance to the themes of the calls/funding programmes of the BMBF or the EU
    - Nature and extent of the proposed cooperation
    - Planned results of the project and its proposed exploitation
  6. Work plan
    - Planned preparatory measures and proposed procedural steps
    - Division of the work packages between the partners
    - Schedule
  7. Proof of the qualifications of the coordinator and the project partners for the planned project
    - Key areas of relevant work to date
    - Most important relevant publications/patents
  8. Involvement of young scientists

Preparation of joint research bases (2d)

A guide to and breakdown of the application procedure can be downloaded together with further information.

Applications (2a to 2d) may be submitted in German or English. The applicants are free to add further information which they consider to be significant for the evaluation of their proposal.

If relevant for project planning, it is recommended that the partners conclude a cooperation agreement in which they set out rules for dealing with intellectual property arising from the joint research project and its results. The BMBF brochure on the protection of intellectual property offers information on this subject. It can be downloaded via the following link: http://www.bmbf.de/pub/know_how_internationale_kooperation.pdf.



7. Decision-making procedure

The submission of an application does not establish a legal claim to funding.

7.1 Selection criteria

Applications will be considered on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality of the work plan, originality of the approach
  • Prospects of success of the project with regard to funding within the framework of the corresponding BMBF funding programme, EU programme or the Eurostars Programme
  • Qualifications and expertise of the project coordinator and the project partners
  • Quality of the cooperation and mutual benefit
  • Commercial exploitation of the anticipated results
  • Promotion of young scientists

Additional criteria for assessing applications for joint research bases:

  • Integration in the respective national structures
  • Added value compared with cooperation to date, synergies
  • Conclusion of a cooperation agreement
  • Involvement on the part of industry
  • Commitment of the partners to long-term cooperation
  • Quality of the project management
  • Socio-economic benefits of the results sought
  • Existing infrastructure 
  • Cost and funding model
  • Contributions of the partners (own and third-party/public funding; funds from programmes of the partner countries; EU funding)

On the basis of this evaluation, a decision about funding will be taken following a final examination of the proposal. The applicants will be informed in writing about the results of the evaluation.

The International Bureau of the BMBF concludes a funding contract under private law with the successful applicants.

Questions concerning the approval and payment of and accounting for funds as well as proof and examination of proper use and, if necessary, cancellation of the award and reclaiming of the funds awarded are governed by the administrative regulations pertaining to section 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO), unless deviation is permitted under the present funding regulations.

7.2 Application deadlines

Applications are accepted and processed continually for the duration of the call for proposals.


8. Application form

The BMBF’s “easy” electronic application system must be used to prepare applications for projects under the BMBF’s funding programmes, EU funding programmes and Eurostars (2a, 2b, 2c). Please visit https://foerderportal.bund.de/easy/easy_index.php?auswahl=easy or contact the International Bureau of the BMBF directly to download or request forms for funding applications, guidelines, instructions, information and supplementary provisions. The funding applications must be supplemented by a project description that is a maximum of 10 DIN A4 pages long (Arial. font size 11, line spacing 1.5) (c.f. structure in 6.2).
In the preparation of applications for "Joint Research Bases" (2d) the guide for applications (http://www.bmbf.de/pubRD/leitfaden_antragsteller_moel_soel.pdf
) should be followed.

If there are several German partners in the consortium, each partner must submit its own application which is coordinated with the main partner. All the applications submitted must bear the same title. The main partner submits the specialist project proposal for all the other partners. The partners are recommended to rule their collaboration in an agreement. The BMBF information sheet 0110 should be followed.

Applications must be submitted by regular mail (original application) and by e-mail.


Free hotlines:
Research funding: 0800-2623 008
SME funding: 0800-2623 009

The Federal Government's national contact points offer information and advice on the funding programmes of the EU. The German internet portal on the 7th Research Framework Programme (http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/home_en.html) offers initial information and provides addresses and contact information for the National Contact Points.

If you have any questions concerning the Eurostars Programme, please contact the EUREKA/COST Bureau.
Phone: ++49 228/3821-1346

Further Information on the Internet:
The Federal Government's Funding Database on the website of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) (http://www.foerderdatenbank.de/) provides complete and up-to-date information on the funding programmes and guidelines at federal, Länder and EU level.

Information on the research institutions in Germany can be obtained at 
(https://www.bmbf.de/publikationen/basket.php?CMD=add&ID=1203) or
http://www.bmbf.de/pub/bufi_2010.pdf or http://www.bmbf.de/pub/bufi_2010_en.pdf, among other sources.

Information on completed and ongoing funding of research projects within the areas of responsibility of the BMBF and the BMWi: http://www.foerderkatalog.de/.

Information on the research institutions of the CEE/SEE countries is available at: http://www.kooperation-international.de/en


10. Entry into force

These funding regulations will enter into force on the day of their publication in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger


Bonn, 10 February 2012
Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Dr. Erika Rost
Head of Division for Cooperation with European Countries


* According to the EU’s definition of SMEs: The category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises consists of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 people and which have either an annual turnover not exceeding  50 million Euro, or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding 43 million Euro. Within this category, the following definitions apply: Small enterprises are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet total does not exceed 10 million Euro. Micro enterprises are defined as enterprises which employ fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet total does not exceed 2 million Euro. In general, most SMEs are autonomous since they are either completely independent or have one or more minority partnerships (each less than 25%) with other enterprises. If that holding rises to no more than 50%, the relationship is deemed to be between partner enterprises. Above that ceiling, the enterprises are linked.
Source: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/enterprise_policy/sme_definition/sme_user_guide_en.pdf


  • Dr. Ralf Hagedorn

    • Senior Scientific Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1492
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1490
    • Email Address: Ralf.Hagedorn@dlr.de
  • Ralf Hanatschek

    • Senior Scientific Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1482
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1400
    • Email Address: ralf.hanatschek@dlr.de
  • Dr. Michael Lange

    • Senior Scientific Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1485
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1400
    • Email Address: michael.lange@dlr.de
  • Dr. Hans-Peter Niller

    • Senior Scientific Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1468
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1400
    • Email Address: hans-peter.niller@dlr.de
  • Christian Schache

    • Scientific Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1465
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1444
    • Email Address: christian.schache@dlr.de
  • Maija Buddrich

    • Senior Administrative Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1467
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1444
    • Email Address: maija.buddrich@dlr.de
  • Derya Manda

    • Senior Administrative Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1896
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1444
    • Email Address: derya.manda@dlr.de
  • Agnieszka Wuppermann

    • Senior Administrative Officer
    • Heinrich-Konen-Str. 1
    • 53227 Bonn
    • Telephone: +49 228 3821-1507
    • Fax: +49 228 3821-1444
    • Email Address: agnieszka.wuppermann@dlr.de

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