Submission of innovation concepts

The BMWK funding programme "Development of Digital Technologies" is an important basis for funding research and development (R&D) in collaborative projects. One segment of the funding programme are so-called "innovation concepts", which are intended to make it possible to propose forward-looking approaches for the further development and use of digital technologies beyond the priorities specified in the funding programme.

The focus is on conceptual work, for example to initiate new types of business models and ecosystems based on the use or utilisation of digital technologies. The development must go hand in hand with economic and socio-political opportunities and contribute to strengthening the site development. The results of this conceptual work are to be evaluated by experts with regard to their viability and prospects of success for further measures. They can subsequently be the starting point for corresponding R&D projects through to entire technology programmes for the practical implementation, testing and demonstration of the innovation concept.

Object of the funding

Through "innovation concepts", the BMWK endeavours to identify and take up development approaches in the field of digital technologies with outstanding innovation potential.

The conceptual work should elaborate:

  • technical, economic and social objectives and added value that can result from the concept of utilising or deploying digital technologies. Direct technology developments are not the subject of an innovation concept and are therefore not eligible for funding.
  • Analyses and assessments of technological feasibility, market potential, needs in the economy and the sustainability of the approach.
  • Implementation strategies (necessary steps, necessary partners from industry and science, including obtaining support commitments and networking).

The project duration for an innovation concept is typically 6 months, but no longer than 12 months. The consortium should consist of at least two and a maximum of three project partners from industry and science.

Please note that the innovation concept you propose must be of strategic importance for the German and European economic area. In addition, project approval does not entitle the applicant to subsequent funding from the BMWK or other organisations.

Please also note that the project outline or the idea for the innovation concept must be new. Project outlines that have previously been rejected in another technology competition and have been modified slightly or not at all will be rejected as a matter of principle.

We would like to point out that due to the expected competitive situation, only outstanding project outlines with significant innovation potential and a holistic approach can be considered for the shortlist.

Procedure for the submission and selection of project outlines

Project proposals for innovation concepts can be submitted to the project management organisation at any time. Evaluation and feedback on submitted project outlines will generally take place within three months of receipt. If funding from the BMWK is likely and subject to the availability of budget funds, the project management organisation will issue a request for a formal application.

The following procedure applies:

Step 1: Preparation and submission of a project outline:

  • Please submit your proposal for an innovation project in the form of a project outline via the PT-Outline portal, which presents the project in a meaningful way on a maximum of 10 pages (including a two-page summary). Please use the template provided for this purpose. Outlines that deviate from the structure and formatting specified there must expect to be rejected.
  • The project outline must be introduced with a summary of no more than two pages, outlining the motivation, objectives, consortium partners and specific connectivity of your project proposal.

Step 2: Selection of eligible project outlines:

  • A committee consisting of representatives of the BMWK, the project management organisation and, if necessary, other external experts, will review the submitted project outlines and assess their basic eligibility for funding.
  • If the project outline is assessed favourably, the project consortium may be invited to participate in a virtual review meeting for the purpose of presenting and discussing further issues with the review panel.
  • The final eligibility for funding will be decided by the BMWK. In the event of a positive decision and subject to the availability of budget funds, the project management organisation will issue an invitation to submit an application and provide advice to the applicant. Please note: Rejected innovation concepts will generally be rejected if resubmitted.

Legal basis/funding requirements:

In addition to the above-mentioned specific funding conditions, the funding requirements, including the type and amount of the grant, of the aforementioned funding programme "Development of digital technologies" (BAnz AT 11.07.2022 B1) in the version of the notice of amendment of 20 December 2023 (BAnz AT 02.01.2024 B2) apply.

The eligible expenditure/costs are based on the "Guidelines for Grant Applications on an Expenditure Basis (AZA)" and the associated ancillary provisions (ANBest-P or ANBest-GK and BNBest-BMBF98) or the "Guidelines for Grant Applications on a Cost Basis (AZK)" and the currently applicable ancillary provisions of the BMWK (NKBF98, without No. 5.6 NKBF98).

The funding volume is generally less than 1 million euros. The financial processing of funding projects must be carried out via profi-Online.

By submitting the application documents, applicants accept the conditions of participation of this funding call and the "Development of Digital Technologies" funding programme in the currently valid version.

Contact the DLR project management agency: