Announcement - 1st German-Swedish Call for Proposals for joint R&D projects by Small and Mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs)

1. Scope
Germany and Sweden are announcing a Call for Proposals for joint R&D projects, focusing on developing innovative products and applications in all technological and application areas. Applicants are expected to develop products, technology-based services or methods which will in subsequent steps generate sustainable solutions with market potential and potential to address societal challenges. Vinnova, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems 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. Vinnova 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 phases.

2. Call Structure
The call invites partners to present joint proposals for technological R&D projects until April 18th, 2018 according to the procedures used by Vinnova and ZIM, specified in attachments (Sweden) and the ZIM guidelines (Germany).

2.1. Financing
Eligible project participants from Germany and Sweden will finance their costs from the funding schemes applicable for this call set by Vinnova and ZIM, and complementarily from their own resources. Please view the specific attachment relevant to Swedish (Vinnova) and German (AiF Projekt GmbH) applicants.

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 one Swedish and one German SME, where the eligibility criteria have been modified to include companies with up to 499 employees, and less than €50 million in annual turnover or a balance sheet total of no more than €43 million which contributes in a suitable manner to the project. Research institutes and other companies are welcome as additional participants or subcontractors according to each country’s funding schemes. Please view additional specifications set by ZIM and Vinnova.
  • Companies and/ or research organisations from other countries may also participate. These partners’ participation is not funded by Vinnova 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, commercial leads, 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 in principal not exceed 2 years. Any partner whose cooperative R&D project is consistent with the aforesaid criteria can apply to the present announcement in accordance with the laws, rules, regulations and procedures in effect stated by Vinnova and AiF Projekt GmbH.

2.3. Submission:
Before the call deadline on April 18th , 2018 all participants file one short common proposal in English and a draft Consortium Agreement (not yet signed) that regulates the terms of cooperation between all partners (also in English). Additionally, national applications as set by Vinnova and ZIM have to be submitted by the call deadline. Please refer to the respective funding agencies for further information. 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)
  • Identifying and naming any third party contractors required in the project or a clause that provides for both 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 Vinnova
  • 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. If there is a wish to publish joint results, this needs to be done in agreement with all concerned participants and the previously set use plan

The Consortium Agreement, called Project Agreement in Vinnova’s terminology, shall be consistent with Vinnova's and ZIM’s terms and conditions for funding.

The proposal form, as well as additional country-specific information and requirements, are available at and at Vinnova’s homepage for this call

The common proposal form and additional country-specific information requested by the respective funding organisations, have to be submitted electronically to Vinnova via the eservice “Intressentportalen” (Swedish applicants) and to (German applicants). On the German side, a draft consortium agreement must be submitted.

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 Vinnova, respectively (see below and additional information provided by the national agencies). The Swedish project partners submit application forms only to Vinnova and the German project partners submit application forms only to AiF Projekt GmbH.

A description is pre-defined in the standard call text. The project plan required by Vinnova, called “Projektbeskrivning”, can be submitted either in Swedish or in English. For information and instructions, see Vinnova’s webpage for this call. Applications must be submitted to Vinnova no later than 14:00 CET on April 18th, 2018.

Every German partner files one ZIM application in paper form to AiF Projekt GmbH. 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 only). The application has to be in line with the ZIM regulations, e.g. it has to be in German language. The national funding organisations Vinnova in Sweden and AiF Projekt GmbH in Germany will be available to supply all stakeholders with basic formal information according to the respective national organisation’s principals.

2.4 Decision and project start up
The applicants will receive the decision regarding grant funding by their national funding organisations on by the first week of September 2018 at the latest. If funding is granted, the project is to be started during the time frame of September 10th – October 10, 2018.