Information and communication technology; application for funding for projects by small and medium-sized enterprises.

If you are a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and want to strengthen your competitive and innovative capacity in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT), you can receive funding under certain conditions.



Eligible applicants are:

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises. This means,
    • employ less than 250 employees
    • have an annual turnover of no more than EUR 50 million or
    • have an annual balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million in the previous fiscal year.
    • In addition, you must have a permanent establishment or branch in Germany at the time a grant is paid.
  • Companies that are not SMEs
  • Universities
  • university and non-university research institutions
  • associations
  • associations
  • other organizations with an interest in research and development (R&D)

Generally applies:

  • You are conducting a research and development project with partners from academia or industry that meets the following requirements:
    • The protection of personal data and privacy must be ensured and the social and cultural participation of individuals must be taken into account.
    • The projects must be SME-driven and their results must benefit Germany as a business location beyond the network.

Consideration of European and German data protection guidelines is mandatory. New or further development of hardware is not eligible for funding.


The application procedure for funding to strengthen the innovative capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has 2 stages.

Stage 1: Project outline

  • In the case of collaborative projects, the collaborative coordinator submits the project outline agreed upon by the partners.
  • The project outline should not exceed 10 A4 pages including cover sheet and attachments (Arial font, font size at least 10, single line spacing, margins at least 2 centimeters).
  • The project outline must be submitted in digital form via the online outline tool PT-Outline.
  • The project outline will be evaluated in a competitive procedure, if necessary with the participation of external experts, according to the following criteria:
    • technical relevance to the funding measure and to the objectives of the funding program
    • Importance of the research objective, societal need and relevance of the planned research and development
    • level of innovation of the research and development approach compared to the state of the art in science and technology
    • scientific and technical quality of the solution concept and the work plan
    • Qualification of the partners, if applicable collaborative structure as well as project management
    • Financial feasibility of the project
    • Quality and feasibility of the exploitation plan: Commercialization perspective, market potential, contribution of the project to the future positioning of the participating companies on the market, societal need
    • Assessment of the social, economic and ecological consequences, opportunities and risks associated with the scientific and technological innovations.
  • If your project idea is selected, you will receive a positive written request to submit the application (stage 2).

Stage 2: Application

You submit your application for funding for a project to strengthen the innovative capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as follows:

  • Submit your application electronically via the "easy-Online" portal.
  • Call up the "easy-Online" Internet portal. There you will be guided step by step through the application process.
  • Fill in all the fields required for the application and send it with a qualified electronic signature.
  • If you do not have a qualified electronic signature, you must print out the application in addition to submitting it electronically, sign it, and send it to the project management organization in the next step along with the other application documents.
  • Once the application has been received by the project management organization, you will receive a confirmation of receipt.
  • The responsible person at the project management organization will contact you while your application is being processed in order to clarify any queries.
  • Applications will be evaluated and reviewed according to the following criteria:
    • Proof of SME status through SME declaration as well as significant share of research performance by the SME(s) involved.
    • Fulfillment of the requirements from the first stage of the procedure
    • Quality of the detailed description of the solution concept, the work plan as well as the organization of the collaboration in the network
    • Quality of the detailed description of the exploitation plan
    • Eligibility of the requested funds
    • Necessity and appropriateness of the requested funds
    • Comprehensibility of the explanations of the financing plan
  • You will receive a decision on your application.
  • In the event of a positive decision, you will receive a notification of funding by mail.


You can submit your project outline at any time to the commissioned project management organization of the BMBF (DLR-PT). The annual deadlines are 15.04. and 15.10. The last deadline is 15.10.2025. The submission deadline is not a cut-off date. However, project outlines received late may not be considered until the next following deadline.

Processing time

Processing of your grant application usually takes 2 months after submission of the complete application. (2 months)

Required documents

  • Required Documents

    Für die 1. Verfahrensstufe: Projektskizze mit folgenden Angaben:

    • Thema und Zielsetzung des Vorhabens
    • Stand von Wissenschaft und Technik, Neuheit des Lösungsansatzes, Abgrenzung von in der Vergangenheit beziehungsweise zum Antragszeitpunkt auf nationaler oder auf EU-Ebene geförderten Projekten, Patentlage
    • Notwendigkeit der Zuwendung: wissenschaftlichtechnisches und wirtschaftliches Risiko mit Begründung der Notwendigkeit staatlicher Förderung
    • Marktpotenzial, Marktumfeld, wirtschaftliche und wissenschaftliche Konkurrenzsituation, Mehrwert für den Standort Deutschland
    • Kurzdarstellung der beantragenden Einrichtungen und Unternehmen, Darstellung des aufzubringenden Eigenanteils
    • Arbeitsplan, gegebenenfalls Verbundstruktur mit Arbeitspaketen aller beteiligten Partner
    • Finanzierungsplan: grobes finanzielles Mengengerüst mit tabellarischer Finanzierungsübersicht (Angabe von Kostenarten, Eigenmitteln/Drittmitteln und Personenmonaten)
    • Verwertungsplan (wirtschaftliche und wissenschaftlich-technische Erfolgsaussichten, Nutzungsmöglichkeiten und Anschlussfähigkeit insbesondere am Standort Deutschland, konkrete Darlegung der Geschäftsmodelle und Marktperspektiven mit Zeithorizont und Planzahlen)

Online procedures


  • Levy: none


  • administrative claim


Responsible for editing:Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung

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