How does care contribute to intelligence

Notice

From January 4, 2021

The present announcement of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to support caregivers and caregiving relatives as well as to improve the self-determination and quality of life of people in need of care through innovative applications of artificial intelligence (AI). It thus contributes to the implementation of the “Health and Care” field of action of the Federal Government's High-Tech Strategy 2025 (HTS 2025) and to the implementation of the Federal Government's AI strategy (2018). It is based on the BMBF research program "Together through innovation - Interactive technologies for health and quality of life" in the field of "Digitally supported health and care" and aims to strengthen needs-based care.

1 Funding objective, funding purpose, legal basis

1.1 Funding objective

The announcement is a measure of the “Care Innovations 2030” initiative and thus builds on the findings of the “Care Innovations 2020” initiative. The aim is to use innovative research and development projects to strengthen the self-determination of caregivers and care recipients and to enable them to make reflective decisions and actions. Strengthening the continuity of care and care structures should be taken into account, so that cross-setting care is supported and care continuity is made possible. The announcement is aimed at all forms of care for people in need of care in which nursing activities are carried out - in the clinical environment, in long-term inpatient care, in rehabilitation clinics, home care and alternative forms of living. In contrast to medicine, AI solutions that support care are those that address the experience of physical and cognitive limitations and the resulting care measures for people from the perspective of the patient and carer. It is essential to strive for qualitatively or quantitatively measurable care-relevant target variables (outcomes) as indicators for the achievement of the funding objective, in particular the strengthening of needs-based care.

AI systems are based on the definition of the EU Commission1 understood as “systems with an intelligent‘ behavior ”that analyze their environment and act with a certain degree of autonomy in order to achieve certain goals. This announcement promotes AI-based systems that primarily work with software.

With this promotion, the potential of AI systems should benefit nursing as an application field, e.g. B. in that the need for care can be assessed in a personalized manner, acute intervention needs and requirements can be recognized or the course of treatment can be evaluated. This requires research and development on data repositories and AI systems. The aim of the planned three-year project is to translate existing knowledge of nursing science and nursing practice into corresponding, structured, processable data and to use this to make applications for knowledge-based nursing (based on information that has been produced in a technical, scientific or other knowledge-generating context, among other things also empirical knowledge). At the same time, evidence-based care (based on quantitative values ​​of a scientifically proven relationship) should be supported by making patient-specific data collections and evaluations possible for specific care needs.

1.2 Purpose of the grant

The present announcement of the BMBF is based on the BMBF research program "Together through innovation - interactive technologies for health and quality of life". The purpose of the announcement is to promote innovative research and development projects that initiate innovative AI solutions for care. The focus must be on the new or further development of AI-based software (see research questions in numbers 2.1 and 2.2).

Based on the BMBF research program, this announcement is intended to address questions relating to the topic of “care”. It is mandatory for consortia to involve actors in nursing practice as partners and future potential users in all phases of the project. Current problems and requirements of nursing practice should be decisive for research and development.

In the sense of a participatory development, users should be included in the project work early and iteratively, ethical and legal aspects should be addressed on a project-specific basis and everyday suitability and usability should be checked. Data protection and gender mainstreaming issues must be taken into account in all projects. One goal of the announcement is the participation of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to make better use of and expand the existing innovation potential of German medium-sized companies.

The results of the funded project are only allowed in the Federal Republic of Germany or the EEA2 and Switzerland.

1.3 Legal bases

The federal government grants the grants in accordance with this funding guideline, §§ 23 and 44 of the Federal Budget Code (BHO) and the related administrative regulations as well as the "Guidelines for grant applications on the basis of expenditure (AZA)" and / or the "Guidelines for grant applications on the basis of costs (AZK ) "Of the BMBF. There is no entitlement to the grant. Rather, the granting authority decides on the basis of its dutiful discretion within the framework of the available budget.

According to this funding guideline, state aid is granted on the basis of Article 25 (2) of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) of the EU Commission.3 Funding takes place in compliance with the common provisions set out in Chapter 1 GBER, in particular taking into account the definitions of terms listed in Article 2 of the ordinance (cf. the annex on state aid requirements for the funding guidelines).

2 Subject of funding

Research projects with a focus on creating a sustainable data and software basis (hereinafter referred to as repository) for the use of AI systems in everyday care (focus 1) and research projects with the focus on researching and developing AI systems are funded for use in everyday care (focus 2). Research questions of the projects should be related to the questions listed below. This applies in particular to the questions marked as mandatory in numbers 2.1 and 2.2, which each project should address.

The systems developed in the projects must use established procedures in the development and evaluation of data-driven or knowledge-based AI systems (e.g. good practices) and represent the corresponding methodology in a comprehensible manner. The addressed innovations must go beyond the current state of science and technology and have significant added value for users. The aim is to make it clear how the target variables addressed by the AI ​​system bring about concrete practical improvements for care recipients or carers.

2.1 Module 1: Making digital data usable in the long term for care

Funding is given to projects that develop a sustainable database and software tools for their use with AI systems that support care (repository), e.g. B. for care documentation and care-supporting monitoring. With the aim of strengthening knowledge-based and evidence-based care and at the same time showing a benefit for nursing professionals, nursing assistants or care recipients and their relatives, various questions are connected that should be reasonably selected and worked on in the joint projects. These include:

Framework and structure of a repository for maintenance

  • How can care-relevant prerequisites for data-driven or knowledge-based AI methods (e.g. knowledge base, multiple data annotation) be created through the use of a repository? (mandatory)
  • How can a common repository of data, software and guidelines for use with different care-supporting AI systems be set up and used? Which AI methods can support the necessary data acquisition and processing (e.g. in a machine learning pipeline)?
  • How can a theory transfer from nursing science, the use of guidelines and a knowledge transfer from nursing practice support the development of the repository?
  • How can the data sovereignty of potentially different users be strengthened through access to the repository? Which types of data preparation and traceability in the use of data are suitable for this, for example?

Database of a repository for maintenance

  • How can the database support the evaluation of AI systems and care processes based on care-relevant target values? (mandatory)
  • How can the required data validity and quality, such as data representativity and quality criteria, be guaranteed in an application-specific manner? Which accesses to the repository are suitable for corresponding data curation and data use? (mandatory)
  • How can heterogeneous data from different sources be merged in a problem-specific manner?
  • Which software architectures can implement a decentralized repository?
  • Which concepts of secure data sharing (data governance, licensing, open data concepts) can GDPR-compliant operator models of the repository ensure?

Standards, connectivity and evaluation of a repository for maintenance

  • How can the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) be implemented in the use of data with AI systems? (mandatory)
  • How can the connectivity of the repository to national and European initiatives such as the national research data infrastructure (NDFI), the medical informatics initiative (MI) and the GAIA-X data infrastructure as well as regulatory measures be taken into account so that the repository will act as a link between AI applications and ( supra) can serve national data platforms? (mandatory)
  • For which use cases can the repository be of direct use? How can the maintenance-relevant benefits of the repository be empirically evaluated? (mandatory)

2.2 Module 2: Applying data and models in everyday care

In this focus, projects are funded that strengthen and merge knowledge-based or evidence-based care in the interaction between people and AI systems by merging existing knowledge (e.g. experience of the users) with data recorded and processed by the AI ​​system thereby providing needs and situation-based benefits for caregivers or care recipients. The key question is: How can AI technologies be used in hybrid AI systems (as a combination of data-driven and knowledge-based AI systems) in order to use knowledge and data from nursing science and everyday nursing precisely for needs-based care when interacting with users to be able to? Expressions of this question, which should be reasonably selected and worked on in the joint projects, include:

Selectivity of AI and care

  • Which nursing-relevant variables does the AI ​​system use to support needs-based by addressing which target variables? (mandatory)
    • Which hypotheses are behind the selection of the variables and target values ​​and how can they be tested empirically?
    • How can users adapt the selection and use of the variables and target values?
  • Which nursing-relevant data and theories that are already available can be used for the AI ​​system and how are they processed for this? (mandatory)

Adaptivity of AI and care

  • How can relationship structures between caregivers and those being cared for be strengthened by linking AI-based innovation with social innovations?
  • How can the AI ​​system, even when using a generalized model, act in a context-sensitive manner in order to meet the heterogeneous requirements of everyday nursing?
    • How can domain knowledge from nursing practice (e.g. experience and guidelines) be used for this?
    • How can the interaction with users be used for this? (e.g. AI system prepares suitable data, users offer suitable knowledge)

Control and traceability of AI in care

  • What kind of traceability of trustworthy AI systems is necessary for different user groups? How can users, for example, understand and weigh up the options of an AI system and, if necessary, adapt the criteria for the options? (mandatory)
  • How can AI-related risks in the use of the AI ​​system be assessed in advance and thus a risk-adapted use made possible? (mandatory)
  • How can typical weak points of the AI ​​methods used be counteracted, e.g. B. to avoid data bias and to ensure the empirical validity of the model?

Everyday relevance for care

  • How can the AI ​​system and its results be integrated into existing systems and processes in day-to-day care? (mandatory)
  • Ability to integrate into a repository
  • How can the connectivity of the AI ​​system to a repository (see focus 1) be enabled?

2.3 Module 3: Scientific accompanying and networking project

In addition to the application-oriented collaborative projects, an accompanying scientific and networking project is being funded, which contributes to the scientific and practical foundation of the topic of AI in nursing, as well as creating professional networking and supporting the associations' ability to act.

The aim of the accompanying project is to create a network between the projects in an interdisciplinary consortium and to promote mutual learning. In the accompaniment, the special challenges of the project consortia from different perspectives such as B. Nursing practice, science and, if necessary, the economy are continuously taken into account. The formats and specialist areas should be tailored to the needs of the research projects.

The overriding objective of the accompanying research is to support the integration of AI solutions into nursing practice and their iterative interdisciplinary evaluation. Success criteria and challenges resulting from the experience of the funding projects should flow into the corresponding theory formation and serve the scientific foundation and systematization in order to guarantee a high transferability. The different project approaches for linking repositories, AI systems and national / European data platforms are to be merged through possible standardization approaches. Relevant cross-cutting issues at the technical, organizational, nursing and evaluation level are to be defined and developed.

The interdisciplinary consortium of the accompanying and networking project should integrate competencies in the areas of AI methods, AI infrastructure, nursing science and nursing practice. For the implementation of the networking of the joint projects, relevant competencies in the consultation of research and development projects are to be brought in. The project consortium is to be led by a practice-oriented, application-oriented research institution. A well-founded composition of the consortium geared towards the goal is required. Nursing science and nursing practice as well as the relevant technical expertise are to be included.

In order to enable tailor-made support right from the start, the accompanying project should begin before the start of the projects from modules 1 and 2 and run around three months longer than the projects of the other modules for the scientific evaluation and documentation.

3 grant recipients

3.1 Module 1 and 2:

Companies in the commercial sector, universities, research institutions and civil society actors are eligible to apply. Applications from start-ups, SMEs and medium-sized companies are expressly welcomed. At the time of the disbursement of a granted grant, the existence of a permanent establishment or branch (company) or another facility that serves the non-economic activity of the grant recipient is required in Germany.

Research institutions that are funded by the federal government and / or the federal states can, in addition to their institutional funding, only be granted project funding for their additional project-related expenses or costs under certain conditions.

For the conditions of when state aid is / is not available and to what extent aid-free funding can be provided, see R & D & I4-Union framework.5

For the purposes of this funding guideline, start-ups are companies that have been on the market for less than five years, have innovative technologies or business models and have or are striving to achieve significant employee or sales growth.

For the purposes of this funding guideline, SMEs are companies that meet the requirements of the EU's SME definition.6

To clarify their status, SMEs can seek personal advice from the federal government's “Research and Innovation” funding advisory service.

The applicant declares his / her classification in accordance with Annex I of the GBER to the licensing authority in the context of the written application.

Medium-sized companies within the meaning of these funding guidelines are companies that, including affiliated or partner companies, do not exceed 1,000 employees and an annual turnover of 100 million euros at the time of application.

3.2 Module 3:

Universities and non-university research institutions as well as organizations involved in nursing practice, e.g. B. public or non-profit providers of care. A nursing or technical-scientific coordinator must be named for the joint project. For funding requirements, see number 3.1.

Submitters can apply for the application-oriented joint projects (see number 2.1) and the accompanying project (see number 2.2) at the same time. The submissions must be made separately according to focus 1 or focus 2 or accompanying project. A submission cannot directly relate to more than one of the items. If several sketches are selected for funding, a comprehensible separation of the content and work must be ensured during the project implementation in order to rule out, among other things, a possible double funding.

4 Special funding requirements

The research and development work must be planned taking into account and presenting the technical and economic risks. The prerequisite for funding is the cooperation of those involved from business with science to solve joint research tasks.

Furthermore, the applicants are expected to be willing to collaborate across projects with other associations and with the accompanying project. Accompanying public relations work by the network partners, but also their active participation in high-profile measures of the BMBF is desirable.

In addition, the projects must explain how they ensure that the relevant legal (e.g. questions on data protection and data security), ethical and social aspects are adequately taken into account. This applies above all to user involvement in subject surveys and field studies, as well as to developments based on the comprehensive collection and processing of user data.

Great importance is attached to the dissemination of the results achieved and the cooperation with the companies in the respective user branch to exploit the results. Partners must therefore be involved in the joint projects who are willing and able to apply the research results to a wide range of applications after the demonstrators have been completed.

Applicants should - also in their own interest - familiarize themselves with the EU framework program for research and innovation in the context of the planned national project. They should check whether the intended project has specific European components and thus whether exclusive EU funding is possible. Furthermore, it must be checked to what extent an additional funding application can be submitted to the EU in the context of the planned national project. This should be briefly presented in the national funding application.

The partners of a joint project regulate their cooperation in a written cooperation agreement. All network partners, including those that are research institutions within the meaning of Article 2 (number 83) GBER, ensure that no indirect (indirect) aid is granted to companies within the network. To this end, the provisions of number 2.2 of the R & D & I Union Framework must be observed. Before the funding decision on a joint project is made, evidence of a basic agreement on further criteria specified by the BMBF must be proven (see BMBF form no. 0110).7

5 Type, scope and amount of the donation

The grants are granted in the form of project funding as a non-repayable grant.

Funding with a duration of three years is planned for the joint projects in Module 1 and Module 2. For the accompanying project (module 3), including preparation and follow-up, a period of 3.5 years is planned. In the case of joint projects, the coordinator must be named by the partners.

Assessment basis for grants to companies in the commercial sector and for projects by research institutions that are involved in economic activities8 are the eligible project-related costs. These can be financed on a pro-rata basis, taking into account the requirements under state aid law (see annex). According to BMBF principles, an appropriate contribution to the eligible costs is required.

The assessment basis for grants to universities, research and scientific institutions and comparable institutions that do not fall under the scope of economic activities are the eligible project-related expenses (for Helmholtz Centers and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the eligible project-related costs), which, taking into account the legal aid Individual requirements can be funded up to 100%.

In the case of non-economic research projects at universities and university clinics, a project lump sum of 20% is granted in addition to the eligible expenditure financed by the BMBF.

The eligible expenses / costs are based on the "Guidelines for grant applications on an expenditure basis (AZA)" and / or according to the "Guidelines for grant applications on a cost basis (AZK)" of the BMBF.

For the determination of the respective eligible costs / expenses and the calculation of the respective funding quota, the provisions of the GBER must be taken into account (see annex).

6 Other grant provisions

The “Ancillary provisions for cost-based grants from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to commercial companies for research and development projects” (NKBF 2017) are an integral part of a cost-based grant notification.

The "Ancillary provisions for grants based on expenditure of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for Project Funding" (NABF) as well as the "Special ancillary provisions for the retrieval of grants in the indirect retrieval procedure in the division of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research" (BNBest -indirect retrieval-BMBF), provided that the funding is made available in the so-called retrieval process.

The "General ancillary provisions for grants for project funding to regional authorities and associations of regional authorities" (ANBest-Gk) and the "Special ancillary provisions for grants from the BMBF for project funding on an expenditure basis" (BNBest-BMBF 98) as well as the "Special Ancillary provisions for the retrieval of grants in the indirect retrieval process in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of Education and Research "(BNBest-indirect retrieval-BMBF), provided that the funds are made available in the so-called retrieval process.

To carry out success controls within the meaning of administrative regulation number 11a to § 44 BHO, the grant recipients are obliged to provide the BMBF or the institutions commissioned with the data necessary for success control in a timely manner. The information is used exclusively in the context of accompanying research and any subsequent evaluation, treated confidentially and published anonymously so that it is not possible to draw any conclusions about individual persons or organizations.

If the grant recipient publishes the results of the research project as a contribution in a scientific journal, this should be done in such a way that the public can access the contribution electronically free of charge (open access). This can be done by publishing the article in an electronic journal that is accessible to the public free of charge. If the contribution does not initially appear in a journal that is electronically accessible to the public free of charge, the contribution should be made electronically available to the public free of charge (secondary publication) - if necessary after a reasonable period (embargo period) has expired. In the case of secondary publication, the embargo period should not exceed twelve months. The BMBF expressly welcomes the open access secondary publication of scientific monographs resulting from the project.

7 procedure

7.1 Involvement of a project sponsor, application documents, other documents and use of the electronic application system

The BMBF has currently commissioned the following project sponsors to handle the funding measure:

VDI / VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH
Project sponsor "Interactive Technologies for Health and Quality of Life"
Steinplatz 1
10623 Berlin
Telephone: 0 30/31 00 78-4 10
Internet: http://www.interaktiv-technologien.de

Contact person: Dr. Samer Schaat, Angelika Frederking, Maxie Lutze

If there are any changes, this will be announced in the Federal Gazette or in another suitable manner.

Relevant guidelines, leaflets, notes and ancillary provisions can be accessed via the Internet address http://www.interaktiv-technologien.de/foerderung or requested directly from the project management agency.

It is recommended to contact the project management organization VDI / VDE-IT directly before submitting the documents in order to clarify any questions regarding the submission. A suggested structure for the project outline can be found at: https://www.interaktiv-technologien.de/foerderung/bekanntmachungen/kip.

The electronic application system "easy-Online" must be used to create project outlines and formal funding applications (https://foerderportal.bund.de/easyonline).

7.2 Process of the procedure and decision criteria

The application process is designed in two stages.

7.2.1 Submission and selection of project outlines

In the first stage of the process are the project executing agency VDI / VDE Innovation + Technik GmbHby March 31, 2021 at the latestfirst submit project sketches in written and / or electronic form.

The submission deadline is not considered a deadline, but project outlines that are received after the time specified above may no longer be considered.

In the case of joint projects, the project outlines must be submitted in consultation with the joint coordinator.

The project outlines in Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3 must not exceed 12 A4 pages (including bibliography) for the description of the joint project. Attachments can be uploaded separately in one cohesive file. Project sketches must be prepared in a legible form (at least 10 point font size, 1.5 lines).

No entitlement to funding can be derived from the submission of a project outline.

The project outlines received are evaluated with the participation of external experts according to the following criteria:

Module 1:

  • Classification in the thematic focus of the announcement (
    Does the concept pursue the creation of a basis for a sustainably usable data and software basis for use in AI systems that support care?)
  • scientific-technical innovation level
    (Is there a connection to specific preparatory work, e.g. existing methods, structures or processes? Do the named aspects go beyond the current state of research and development?)
  • practical innovation effect
    (Does the project offer an approach for knowledge- and / or evidence-based care? Is the desired added value for nursing practice and thus for nursing professionals, nursing assistants, caring relatives and care recipients, etc. clear?)
  • Quality of the project outline
    (Conceptual involvement of nursing science recognizable, methodical approach comprehensible; meaningful work plan with objectifiable goals that are as specific, measurable and timed as possible, as well as demanding and achievable; description of the collaboration with the accompanying scientific project; involvement of users through suitable participation formats and co-creation Approaches)
  • Qualification of the partners and composition of the association
    (Do the project partners have the necessary qualifications and preparatory work to successfully achieve the goals? Can a successful project organization and control be expected?)
  • Quality of the recovery concept
    (Do you strive for a sustainable solution taking into account standards and connectivity? Is connectivity to existing structures clear?)
  • Implementation of an integrated research and development approach and consideration of the relevant legal, ethical and social aspects
    (Is a comprehensible approach described for a success-oriented cooperation of different disciplines? Are relevant research and transfer questions on ethical, legal and social implications taken into account? Are aspects of data protection and data security addressed in a targeted manner?)
  • Appropriateness of the planned financial expenses
    (Are the expenditures presented in a comprehensible manner and are they in an appropriate relationship to the work planning and the level of innovation?)

Module 2:

  • Classification in the thematic focus of the announcement
    (Does the presented concept include approaches that strengthen knowledge-based or evidence-based care through the interaction of people with AI systems?)
  • scientific innovation level
    (Is it linked to specific preparatory work, e.g. existing technical systems or processes? Does the innovation addressed in the project go beyond the current state of research and development?)
  • practical innovation effect
    (Are hybrid systems aimed at that contribute to using knowledge and data from nursing science and everyday nursing for needs-based nursing? Is the desired added value for nursing practice and thus for nursing professionals, nursing assistants, caring relatives and care recipients, etc. clear?)
  • scientific quality of the sketch
    (Conceptual involvement of nursing science and practice recognizable, methodical approach; meaningful work plan with objectifiable goals that are as specific, measurable and timed as possible, as well as demanding and achievable; description of the collaboration with the accompanying scientific project; involvement of users through suitable participation formats and co- Creation approaches)
  • Qualification of the partners and composition of the association
    (Do the project partners have the necessary qualifications and preliminary work to successfully achieve the goals? Is the perspective of nursing science and / or practice with a view to the goal set adequately represented? Can a successful project organization and control be expected?)
  • Quality of the recovery concept
    (How do you strive for a sustainable solution, taking into account standards and connectivity)? Will it be possible to connect to existing structures?)
  • Implementation of an integrated research and development approach and consideration of the relevant legal, ethical and social aspects
    (Is a comprehensible approach described for a success-oriented cooperation of different disciplines? Are relevant research and transfer questions on ethical, legal and social implications taken into account? Are aspects of data protection and data security addressed in a targeted manner?)
  • Appropriateness of the planned financial expenses
    (Are the expenditures presented in a comprehensible manner and are they in an appropriate relationship to the work planning and the level of innovation?)

Module 3:

  • Classification in the thematic focus of the announcement
    (Does the presented concept take into account the development and support of innovative AI solutions for nursing related to the creation of a data and software basis and the application of AI systems in nursing practice?)
  • scientific innovation level
    (Do the expected impulses of the accompanying project go beyond the current state of research?)
  • practical innovation effect
    (How well is the presented concept suitable to take up relevant cross-sectional issues of the joint projects and to support them with regard to their own methodological and theoretical approaches?)
  • scientific quality of the sketch
    (Is the description of the methodological procedure, the project goals and the work plan equally demanding and meaningful?)
  • Qualification of the partners and composition of the association
    (Are the relevant competencies for achieving the project goals mapped out in the consortium? Do the project partners have the necessary qualifications and preparatory work for successful goal achievement? Can a successful project organization and control be expected?)
  • Appropriateness of the planned financial expenses
    (Are the expenses clearly presented and are they in proportion to the planned work?)
  • Quality of the concept for the cooperation with the joint projects from Module 1 and Module 2
    (Does the concept take into account the inclusion and networking of the joint projects of both modules? Are suitable formats proposed for the networking? Do findings from the joint projects flow into the results of the accompanying project?)
  • Quality of the recovery concept
    (Is the knowledge transfer of the research results in the relevant reference sciences, nursing practice and the public presented in a comprehensible manner? This includes the consolidation of the findings, e.g. desiderata and recommendations for action from the joint projects.)

The submitted proposals are in competition with each other. The projects are selected for funding by the BMBF on the basis of the criteria given above and the evaluation of the submitted project outline. The interested parties will be informed of the selection result in writing. In the event of a positive decision, you will be asked to submit formal funding applications (stage 2 of the procedure).

The project outline submitted as part of this procedural stage and any other documents submitted will not be returned.

7.2.2 Submission of formal funding applications and decision-making procedures

If the evaluation is positive, the interested parties will be asked to submit a formal funding application in a second stage of the procedure, stating detailed information, the formal criteria and a date (in consultation with the planned network coordinator).

A complete application for funding is only available if at least the requirements according to Article 6 Paragraph 2 GBER (see annex) are met.

For this purpose, each network partner submits a separate formal funding application (based on AZA or AZK) via the electronic application system "easy-Online" (https://foerderportal.bund.de/easyonline) (taking into account the requirements specified in the annex) ) including a detailed description of the tasks and the description of the work packages. The funding applications must be submitted in coordination with the designated network coordinator.

These should contain the following information in particular:

  • detailed work plan including project-related resource planning and milestone planning,
  • detailed financing plan of the project,
  • detailed exploitation plan,
  • Presentation of the need for care.

If necessary, conditions must be taken into account. Exact requirements will be communicated when a formal funding application is requested.

The formal funding applications received are evaluated and checked according to the following criteria:

  • Eligibility of the funds applied for,
  • Necessity and appropriateness of the requested funds,
  • Comprehensibility of the explanations of the financing plan,
  • Quality and informative value of the exploitation plan, also with regard to the funding policy objectives of this funding measure,
  • If necessary, implementation of the requirements from the first stage and compliance with the financial framework recommended there for funding.

In accordance with the criteria and evaluation given above, the BMBF will decide on funding after a final application review. No entitlement to funding can be derived from the request to submit an application.

The commissioned project management company can request or request evidence, declarations and suitable documents, in particular with regard to creditworthiness for the proof of having paid the own contribution.

7.3 Regulations to be observed

Sections 48 to 49a of the Administrative Procedure Act, Sections 23, 44 BHO and the General administrative regulations issued for this purpose, unless deviations from the general administrative regulations have been permitted in these funding guidelines. The Federal Audit Office is entitled to audit in accordance with Section 91 BHO.

8 period of validity

These funding guidelines come into force on the day after their publication in the Federal Gazette. The term of this funding guideline is limited to the time its state aid basis, the GBER plus an adjustment period of six months, expires, i.e. until June 30, 2024. If the application of the GBER is extended without any relevant changes to the content of the subsidy scheme, the duration of this funding guideline will be extended accordingly, but not beyond February 29, 2028. If the GBER is not extended and replaced by a new GBER, or if relevant changes to the content of the current GBER are made, a follow-up funding guideline corresponding to the then applicable exemption provisions will come into force until at least February 29, 2028.

Berlin, January 4, 2021

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

On behalf
S. Quenett


investment

The following state aid requirements apply to this funding guideline:

1 General funding requirements

The lawfulness of the aid is only given if, in accordance with Article 3 GBER, all the requirements of Chapter I GBER and the conditions of Chapter III applicable to the specific group of aid are met. It should be noted that, according to the case law of the European courts, the national courts are obliged to order a recovery if state aid has been granted unlawfully.

State aid based on the GBER will not be granted if there is a reason for exclusion according to Article 1 Paragraphs 2 to 5 GBER. This applies in particular if the company has not complied with a recovery order due to an earlier decision by the Commission to determine the inadmissibility of aid and its incompatibility with the internal market.

The same applies to the granting of aid to companies in difficulty as defined in Article 2, Paragraph 18 of the GBER. Only companies that were not already in difficulty on December 31, 2019, but became or will become companies in difficulty in the period from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 according to Article 1 paragraph 4 letter a GBER, are exempt from this ban .

This announcement only applies in connection with aid that has an incentive effect according to Article 6 GBER. The aid application required in this context must contain at least the following information:

  1. Name and size of the company,
  2. Description of the project with details of the beginning and the end, location of the project,
  3. the cost of the project as well
  4. the type of aid (e.g. grant, loan, guarantee, repayable advance or capital injection) and the amount of public funding required for the project.

With the application for funding under these funding guidelines, the applicant declares that they are ready:

  • To participate in compliance with the requirements of state aid law.
  • For submitting the requested information and / or supporting documents to prove creditworthiness and compliance with state aid law.
  • To participate in proceedings (at) the European Commission.9

The grant recipient further agrees that:

  • the BMBF will keep all documents on subsidies granted, which prove compliance with the conditions mentioned here, for ten years after the subsidy has been granted and will hand them over to the European Commission on request;
  • the BMBF publishes grants of over 500,000 euros on the EU Commission's transparency database10.

Within the framework of this funding guideline, state aid is granted in the form of grants in accordance with Article 5 Paragraph 1 and 2 GBER.

The GBER limits the granting of state aid for economic activities in the following areas to the following maximum amounts:

  • 20 million euros per project for industrial research (Article 4 (1) (ii) GBER);
  • 15 million euros per project for experimental development (Article 4 Paragraph 1 Letter iii GBER);
  • 7.5 million euros per study for feasibility studies (Article 4 (1) (vi) GBER).

When checking whether these maximum amounts (registration thresholds) have been complied with, the cumulation rules according to Article 8 GBER must be observed. The maximum amounts must not be circumvented by artificially splitting up related projects. Partial approval up to the notification threshold for a notifiable aid is not permitted.

2 Scope / amount of the donations

The following provisions of the GBER apply to these funding guidelines, in particular with regard to eligible costs and aid intensities. The eligible costs and aid intensities listed below specify the maximum framework within which the granting of eligible costs and funding quotas for projects with economic activity can take place.

Article 25 GBER - Aid for research and development projects

The funded part of the research project must be fully assigned to one or more of the following categories:

  • industrial research,
  • experimental development,
  • Feasibility studies

(see Article 25 Paragraph 2 GBER; terms according to Article 2 No. 84 ff. GBER).

For the classification of research work into the categories of basic research, industrial research and experimental development, reference is made to the relevant information in paragraph 75 and footnote 2 of the R & D & I Framework.

The eligible costs of the respective research and development project are to be allocated to the relevant research and development categories.

Eligible costs are:

  1. Personnel costs: costs for researchers, technicians and other personnel, insofar as these are used for the project (Article 25 paragraph 3 letter a GBER);
  2. Costs for instruments and equipment, insofar as and for as long as they are used for the project. If these instruments and equipment are not used for the entire life of the project, only the depreciation determined in accordance with the principles of proper accounting during the duration of the project is considered eligible (Article 25 (3) (b) GBER);
  3. Costs for buildings and land, insofar and as long as they are used for the project. In the case of buildings, only the depreciation determined in accordance with the principles of proper bookkeeping during the duration of the project is considered to be eligible for aid. In the case of land, the costs of the economic transition or the capital costs actually incurred are eligible (Article 25 paragraph 3 letter c GBER);
  4. Costs for contract research, knowledge and for patents acquired directly or under license from third parties in compliance with the arm’s length principle, as well as costs for advice and equivalent services that are used exclusively for the project (Article 25 paragraph 3 letter d GBER);
  5. additional overheads and other operating costs (including material, supplies and the like) that arise directly for the project (Article 25 paragraph 3 letter e GBER).

The aid intensity per beneficiary may not exceed the following rates:

  • 50% of the eligible costs for industrial research (Article 25 (5) (b) GBER);
  • 25% of the eligible costs for experimental development (Article 25 (5) (c) GBER);
  • 50% of the eligible costs for feasibility studies (Article 25 (5) (d) GBER).

The aid intensities for industrial research and experimental development can be increased to a maximum of 80% of the eligible costs, provided that the conditions set out in Article 25 (6) GBER are met:

  • by 10 percentage points for medium-sized companies and by 20 percentage points for small companies;
  • by 15 percentage points if one of the following conditions is met:
    1. the project includes effective cooperation
      • between companies, at least one of which is an SME, or is carried out in at least two Member States or one Member State and a Contracting Party to the EEA Agreement, with no single company paying more than 70% of the eligible costs, or
      • between a company and one or more research and knowledge dissemination organizations who bear at least 10% of the eligible costs and have the right to publish their own research results;
    2. The results of the project are widely disseminated through conferences, publications, open access repositories or through royalty-free software or open source software.

In accordance with Article 7 (1) GBER, the eligible costs must be substantiated by written documentation, which must be clear, specific and up-to-date.

For the calculation of the aid intensity and the eligible costs, the amounts before deduction of taxes and other charges are used.

3 accumulation

When complying with the maximum allowable aid intensity, the cumulation rules in Article 8 GBER must also be observed. The accumulation of several grants for the same eligible costs / expenses is only permitted under the following rules or exceptions:

If Union funds that are centrally managed by Union agencies and are not directly or indirectly under the control of the Member States and therefore do not constitute state aid are combined with state aid (including, among other things, funds from the European Structural and Investment Funds) in determining whether the notification thresholds and maximum aid intensities or amounts have been complied with, only State aid shall be taken into account, provided that the total amount of public funds granted for the same eligible costs (including centrally managed Union funds) does not exceed the most favorable financing rate set out in the relevant provisions of Union law .

Aid exempted under the GBER, for which the eligible costs can be determined, can be cumulated with

  1. other State aid, provided that these measures concern different identifiable eligible costs;
  2. other State aid for the same eligible costs partially or fully overlapping each other, but only if this cumulation does not exceed the maximum aid intensity or amount applicable to such aid under this Regulation.

Aid for which the eligible costs cannot be determined may be cumulated with other State aid for which the eligible costs cannot be determined, up to the relevant upper limit for the total financing, which is applicable in the individual case is set out in the GBER or in a decision of the European Commission.

State aid exempted under the GBER may not be cumulated with de minimis aid for the same eligible costs if this cumulation exceeds the aid intensities or maximum aid amounts set out in Chapter III GBER.


1 - Artificial intelligence in Europe accessed at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52018DC0237&from=CS (accessed on November 4, 2020).
2 - European Economic Area
3 - Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 of June 17, 2014 establishing the compatibility of certain categories of aid with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ L 187 of 26.6 .2014, p. 1), as amended by Regulation (EU) 2017/1084 of June 14, 2017, (OJ L 156 of June 20, 2017, p. 1) and Regulation (EU) 2020/972 of June 2, 2017 July 2020 amending Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013 with regard to its extension and amending Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 with regard to its extension and relevant adjustments (OJ L 215 of 7.7.2020, p. 3 ).
4 - R & D & I = research, development and innovation
5 - Communication of the EU Commission (2014 / C 198/01) of June 27, 2014 (OJ C 198 of June 27, 2014, p. 1) in the version of the Communication of the EU Commission of C (2020) 4355 final of March 2, 2014 July 2020 (OJ C 224, 8.7.2020, p. 2) in particular Section 2.
6 - See Annex I of the GBER or Commission recommendation of 6 May 2003 regarding the definition of micro-enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises, announced under file number K (2003) 1422 (2003/361 / EG)) (OJ L 124 of May 20, 2003, p. 36): [http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/DE/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32003H0361&from=DE].
7 - https://foerderportal.bund.de/easy/easy_index.php?wahl=easy_formulare, area BMBF general forms and templates for reports.
8 - For the definition of economic activity, see notes in number 2 of the EU Commission's communication on the concept of state aid (OJ C 262 of 19.7.2016, p. 1) and number 2 of the R & D & I Union Framework.
9 - For example, as part of a case-by-case review in accordance with Article 12 of the GBER by the European Commission.
10 - The EU Commission's transparency database can be accessed at https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/competition/transparency/public?lang=de. The information required by Annex III of Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 of the Commission of June 17, 2014 is decisive for this publication. These include the name or company of the beneficiary and the amount of the aid.