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Call 28.2.2021

11th German-Finnish Call for Proposals for joint R&D projects by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Deadline for proposal submissions:
28. February 2021

Consultation with the national funding organizations is highly recommended in an early stage. It is possible to hand in a project sketch in order to receive non-binding feedback on your project idea before filing a full application.




Ms. Kirsi Armanto
Senior Adviser, Life Science
Business Finland
Porkkalankatu 1, 00180 Helsinki
Phone: + 358 50 396 2846
Email: kirsi.armanto (at)

Call has ended!

Business Finland and German ZIM programme are looking for inspiring market-oriented joint projects between small and medium-sized enterprises in Finland and Germany. The call is currently ongoing and is open until February 28, 2021.

Project ideas should stem from the companies' own needs and can belong to any domain. The projects should involve the development of competitive and innovative products, services and processes.

1. Scope

Germany and Finland are announcing a Call for Proposals for joint R&D projects, focusing on developing innovative products and applications in all technological and application areas but with a priority on Health and Digitalisation and Information Technology (incl. service, platform development).

Applicants are expected to develop products, technology-based services or methods which will in subsequent steps generate sustainable solutions with market potential.

Business Finland and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy through its Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) will provide access to public funding for joint projects.

Business Finland and AiF Projekt GmbH (Project management agency for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) will assist project partners with basic formal information during the project proposal, evaluation and monitoring phase.

2. Call Structure

The call invites partners to present joint proposals for technological R&D projects until February 28th, 2021 according to the following procedures.

2.1. Financing

Eligible project participants from Germany and Finland will finance their costs from the national funding schemes and complementarily from their own resources.

2.2. Requirements

Project results will have to contribute to the development of commercial products, processes and/ or technical services. The project proposals have to comply with the following guidelines:

  • The consortium has to include at least two independent enterprises (SMEs), one from Finland and one from Germany, which contribute considerably to the project. Participation of research institutes and other companies is welcome as additional participants (in Germany) or subcontractors (in Finland) according to each country's funding regulations.
  • Companies and/ or research organisations from other countries may also participate. These partners' participation is not funded by Business Finland or ZIM.
  • The project should have an obvious advantage and added value resulting from the cooperation between the participants from the two countries (e.g. increased knowledge base, access to R&D infrastructure, new fields of application, etc.).
  • The project must demonstrate equal contribution of the participants from both sides, and the project must be equally significant to all participants. In a project with two cooperating partners, one partner is not allowed to hold more than 70 percent of the person months of the project. In projects with more than two partners no partner may contribute more than 50 percent of the work. In case one or more research organisations are involved in the consortium, they are altogether not allowed to hold more than 50 percent of the person months.
  • Project duration should not exceed 3 years.

Any partner whose cooperative R&D project is consistent with the aforesaid criteria can apply to the present announcement in accordance with the national laws, rules, regulations and procedures in effect.

2.3. Submission

Before the call deadline on November 30th 2020 all participants file one short common proposal in English language (Proposal Application Form), legally signed by all organisations participating in the project and a draft Consortium Agreement (not yet signed) that regulates the terms of cooperation between all partners (also in English). These documents have to be submitted electronically to Business Finland via (Finnish applicants) and to AiF Projekt GmbH (German applicants).

Additionally, national applications as set by Business Finland and ZIM have to be submitted by the call deadline. All project partners who want to apply for funding within this call file a national application according to the national rules and procedures set by ZIM and Business Finland.

The minimum requirements for the Consortium Agreement are:

  • Naming of all project partners
  • Description of the project aims, scope, role division and differentiation of the subprojects of the partners including their working plans with person months (for this the common application proposals can be declared as part of the agreement)
  • A clause that provides for all partners to be informed if third parties are involved in the project
  • Regulation of intellectual property rights (background and foreground)
  • Basic regulation of joint commercialization and apportioning of benefits
  • Joint final reporting is to be done according to the regulations set by ZIM and Business Finland
  • If research organisations from Germany are involved, a passage has to be included that allows them to publish their own results without duty to obtain consent from the other partners.

The Proposal Application Form as well as additional country-specific information and requirements will soon be available at AiF Projekt GmbH websites. 

Development projects of companies based in Finland are eligible for Business Finland funding. The funding can cover part of the project's costs. The company must always prove that it has the capacity to cover its own funding share of the project. Research organizations participate in these market oriented projects as subcontractors. The funding application is available on Business Finland Online Services. For further information about financing of Finnish participants visit funding website or contact Business Finland directly.

Every German partner files one ZIM application in paper form to AiF Projekt GmbH by post. All German SMEs which perform R&D to develop an innovative product, process or technological service – also in cooperation with research organisations – have the right to apply. More detailed criteria can be found on the ZIM website (in German language only). The application has to be in line with the ZIM regulations, e.g. it has to be in German language.

Consultation with the national funding organizations is highly recommended in an early stage. It is possible to hand in a project sketch in order to receive non-binding feedback on your project idea before filing a full application.