Cooperation with European countries is of central importance to Germany. On the one hand, Germany is relying on even greater integration of the countries in Central and Southeastern Europe into the European research and innovation area and, on the other hand, on closer cooperation with the innovation leaders in Europe. Cooperation with the Central and Southeastern European countries and the countries of the Western Balkans is characterised by the Eastern Enlargement of the European Union.
The BMBF's research policy framework includes the (2017) and the Strategy of the Federal Government on the adopted in 2014 as well as the EU's macro-regional strategies, especially for the Danube and Baltic Sea regions.
Against this backdrop, the BMBF pursues the following goals:
- to develop research collaboration with strategic partners in priority research and innovation topics;
- to put research excellence in the European Research Area on a broader footing – especially in Central Eastern and Southeastern Europe,
- to strengthen cooperation between science and industry as a prerequisite for innovation.
Europe's persistently large differences in the research intensity and innovation performance of its Member States and regions represent one of Europe's major political challenges. With the funding formats managed by the DLR Project Management Agency, the BMBF primarily supports a European orientation of German institutions and the strengthening of European cooperation in research and innovation, and thus the convergence of the European Research Area.
Specifically, the BMBF promotes the networking of German institutions with European partners, joint applications for EU research programmes, closer collaboration of European research structures, and enhanced cooperation between German and European companies (especially SMEs).
The DLR Project Management Agency supports the BMBF in the preparation of research policy-relevant events such as research and innovation forums or specialist conferences with selected partner countries (e.g. with France, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, or the Czech Republic). These serve to intensify bilateral cooperation and to consolidate cooperation. In addition, the DLR Project Management Agency organises trade fair appearances at leading international fairs for the BMBF (most recently in Poland, but also in Romania and the Czech Republic).