UK - Germany Bilateral: Collaborative R&D Round 2

UK registered organisations, with a German SME collaborator, can apply for a share of up to £4m for innovative solutions for emerging technologies.

Opportunity Details


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Your UK partners' total grant funding request must not be more than £750,000. This can cover up to 70% of the UK partners' costs depending on size and project type.


Innovate UK

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Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), to invest up to £4 million in innovation projects.

We encourage innovation in, but not limited to, the following fields of emerging technologies:

  • quantum
  • AI
  • semiconductor applications
  • engineering biology
  • future telecommunications
  • green technologies (specifically batteries)

The aim of this competition is to enhance UK and German collaborations and capabilities in the emerging fields of technology in our society. The result being, the developing and delivering of new innovations and applications of the technologies across a broad range of other sectors.

Your proposal must comply with the scope and eligibility requirements, and include a consortium made up of non-linked German and UK partners.

Only UK registered partners must be listed in the Project Partner section of your application on the Innovation Funding Service (IFS). Your German partner will not receive any of this UK competition funding. German partners will be funded by the German ZIM programme, following a parallel application.

  • To lead a project your organisation must:

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

    To collaborate with the lead, 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)

    An eligible UK business can lead on one application and collaborate on two further applications.

    If an organisation is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to three applications.

  • Your project must:

    • have a maximum grant funding request of £750,000
    • start by 1 July 2024
    • end by 30 June 2027
    • last between 18 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.

    Your project must demonstrate a balanced technological contribution by the participants from both countries and must be equally significant to all participants.

    Note that eligibility on the German counterpart competition also states that in a project with two cooperating partners, no partner may contribute more than 70% of total person months to the project. Person months is the metric for the time in months devoted by staff to a project.

    In a project with more than two cooperating partners, no partner may contribute more than 50% of total person months. All research organisations involved in the consortium may altogether not contribute more than 50% of the total person 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
  • Proposals can come from any area of technology, and we particularly encourage applications from the following sectors:


    We encourage applications in the areas of:

    • sustainable AI
    • responsible and ethical AI
    • applications of AI to improve business productivity in BridgeAI target sectors
    • AI for healthcare


    We encourage projects that:

    • involve consortia which span the supply chain of service or component suppliers, integrators, and end user businesses
    • progress quantum technology from lab prototypes to industry ready systems for commercial use through integration of innovative and scalable technologies

    Your project can focus on one or more of the following areas:

    • sensing and imaging
    • component and sub system technologies supporting communications, computing and networking
    • scalable solutions and fabrication processes for chip scale quantum photonic and optoelectronic systems
    • software hardware codesign for reproducible quantum processor enhanced applications


    We encourage applications in the areas of:

    • semiconductor design
    • compound semiconductors
    • advanced packaging and heterogeneous integration
    • advanced materials

    Future Telecommunications

    We encourage applications in the areas of:

    • non-terrestrial communications
    • open radio access network (ORAN) deployments and innovations
    • use of AI and data analytics to improve network efficiency
    • energy efficient technologies
    • neutral host networks
    • antenna innovation, massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
    • cross border lab collaborations
    • network security

    Engineering Biology

    Your proposal must align with one of the National Engineering Biology Programme’s themes, or focus on the development of cross cutting technology or service development.

    The themes are:

    • food systems
    • biomedicine
    • clean growth
    • environmental solutions

    Green Technologies

    Battery technology:

    • advanced battery materials
    • emerging battery technologies, for example; sodium ion, lithium sulfur, solid state
    • technologies to achieve 350 Wh/kg and above at pack level
    • innovations in battery manufacturing processes
    • design innovation for cells, modules, packs
    • integration of digitalisation
    • advanced predictive analytics and degradation modelling
    • sustainable recycling approaches
    • technologies for increased safety
    • skills development and training
  • We will not fund Quantum-focussed projects that are:

    • not covered by any of the four specific themes
    • not ‘second generation’ quantum technologies defined as those involving the generation and coherent control of quantum states, resulting in phenomena such as superposition or entanglement
    • feasibility studies or projects that are low maturity in their development
    • market research, road mapping or landscape studies
  • An online briefing event will be held on Wednesday 13th September, 10am-noon UK time (11am-1pm CET): click here to register to attend.

    If you would like help to find a collaboration partner, contact Innovate UK KTN’s Global Alliance team in the first instance.


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