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UK – Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D

Fund Name

UK – Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D

Project Length

12-36 months

Project Value




Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with The Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWK), (The Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs And Climate Action), to invest up to £4 million in innovation projects.

The aim of this competition is to support UK and German business-led collaboration in innovation with grant funding. Innovate UK will support UK businesses to collaborate successfully with German counterparts and build global growth prospects.

Check Your Eligibility

Fund details

Your proposal must contribute to the development of commercial products, processes or technical services.

Your project must have an obvious advantage and added value as a result of the cooperation between the participants from the two countries. Examples of these could be increased innovation capability, commercial leads, access to R&D infrastructure or new fields of application.

Your project must:

  • be collaborative
  • last between 12 and 36 months

Your collaborative R&D proposal must demonstrate:

  • A clear game-changing or disruptive innovative idea leading to new products, processes or services
  • A strong and deliverable business proposal within your application that addresses and documents, market potential and needs
  • Sound, practical financial plans and timelines
  • Good value for money
  • How you intend to deliver significant economic impact, return on investment (ROI) and growth through commercialisation, within 2 to 3 years of project completion
  • Clear potential to significantly benefit the UK economy or national productivity
  • The benefit of participants from the countries working together and how this adds value
  • A clear definition of where intellectual property (IP) can be used and shared between the participants and countries
  • A clear route to market within 2 to 3 years of project completion


Your project must:

  • Have a maximum grant funding request of £400,000 for all UK partners
  • Start by 1 December 2023
  • End by 30 November 2026
  • Last between 12 months and 36 months

UK project partners must carry out the majority of their project work in the UK and intend to exploit the results from or in the UK.

UK participants must submit an application to Innovate UK and German partners must submit an application to the German ZIM programme. Both UK and German applications must be successful to receive grant funding.

All businesses in a consortium must be separate legal and non-linked entities. This is to ensure that projects encourage genuine international collaboration, not internal company research. Linked companies are considered a single entity under the parent company.

Your project must have a balanced contribution of the total eligible project costs among the partners from the participating partner countries. No more than 60% of the total project costs can be claimed by any single partner or by all partners from a single participating country.

To lead a project from the UK side your organisation must:

  • Be a UK registered business of any size
  • Collaborate with at least one German registered SME applying to the ZIM programme, which must be a separate legal entity, not linked to the UK partners
  • Be or involve at least one UK micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

To collaborate with the UK lead and request grant funding from Innovate UK, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • Business of any size
  • Academic institution
  • Charity
  • Not for profit
  • Public sector organisation
  • Research and technology organisation (RTO)

Up to £4 million from Innovate UK, and up to €4 million from the German BMWK has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition.

Funding from Innovate UK for UK partners will be in the form of a grant.

For UK partners, if your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 60% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • Up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • Up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • Up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • Up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation for UK organisations

The UK research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 50% of the total grant request. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 50% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

German organisations

Each German project partner must submit a separate, individual ZIM application to BMWK.

Every German SME, in accordance with the relevant EU regulations, as well as medium-sized companies with less than 500 employees (or full-time equivalents), which carry out R&D for the development of innovative products, processes or technical services, are eligible to apply.

Other medium-sized companies with less than 1,000 employees are eligible to apply for funding if they cooperate with at least one SME (EU definition) whose project is being funded.

Research and technology organisations (RTOs) are eligible to apply as cooperation partners of eligible companies. Detailed criteria for submitting applications and the ZIM application form are available on the ZIM website You can also contact BMWK directly.

Talk to us today if you would like to apply for this opportunity.

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