Funding Programmes

Financial support for the research, development and application of environmental technologies is provided by a variety of national, federal states-based, regional and local programmes and initiatives in Germany. Depending on the focus of the organisation providing the promotion, grants are provided for projects ranging from basic research through to large-scale projects. At a federal level the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) are mainly responsible for the Cleaner Production promotion programmes.

This section focuses on public subsidy programmes whose aim is to help companies, research institutes and local authorities wishing to invest in the research, development, application and distribution of innovative, environmental friendly technologies.


Advisory Assistance for Environmental Protection in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (BHP)

The Advisory Assistance Programme of the German Federal Environment Ministry is supporting the new neighbours east and southeast of the EU (western Balkans, Republic of Moldavia, Ukraine) and countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia in implementing the bilateral environmental agreements concluded with Germany and introducing ambitious environmental standards. Cooperation with the Russian Federation forms a separate priority. The Federal Environment Agency is responsible for managing the programme on behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry.


Bioökonomie International – Bioeconomy International (2020 - 2021)

The measure "Bioeconomy International" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is embedded in the "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030". The funded projects make an important contribution to one of the five action fields of the research strategy: securing global food supply, making agricultural production sustainable, producing healthy and safe food, using renewable raw materials industrially and expanding energy sources based on biomass.


CO2Plus – Utilisation of CO2 to broaden the raw material base (2015)

The funding measure CO2Plus of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) promotes joint research projects in applied and industrial research and development to expand the chemical industry's raw material base by utilisation of CO2. The funded projects address chemical or biotechnological processes for the production of basic chemicals from CO2, electro- and photocatalysis and efficient CO2 separation. The funding measure is part of the lead initiative "Green Economy" of the research framework programme "Research for Sustainable Development (FONA)".


EnEff:Stadt und EnEff:Wärme - Research for Energy Efficiency

In addition to the energetic optimisation of individual buildings, the aim of raising energy efficiency depends crucially on a comprehensive approach to urban areas as well as to local and district heating networks . This potential can be improved significantly via intelligent use and networking of innovative technologies with research and pilot projects. “Efficient Energy Use” plays a crucial role. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy therefore promotes research on energy efficient cities (EnEff:Stadt) and energy efficient heating and cooling networks (EnEff:Wärme).


7th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government

The Energy Research Programme supports the German energy transition in the sectors electricity, heat and transport. The programme promotes research and development for future-oriented energy technologies. The programme was established by the Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Education and Research (BMBF) and Food and Agriculture (BMEL).


Environmental Innovation Programme (UIP)

The Federal Environment Ministry provides funds from the Environmental Innovation Programme to promote large-scale projects within Germany which for the first time demonstrate ways of preventing or reducing environmental pollution by means of innovative technological processes or novel process combinations, and also ways of producing and using environmentally sound products. The funded projects represent an advanced state of technology and can be transferred to similar systems operated by other users. As a rule, such projects are funded by subsidising the interest on a loan from the KfW banking group. The various Federal Environment Agency (UBA) departments assess and support the projects from a technical point of view.


ERA-NET (European Research Area Networks) Bioenergy

The programme stimulates und supports joint activities and networking at regional or national level, as well as among European organisations in the field of energy production from biomass. In ERA-NET Bioenergy, national ministries with bioenergy research programmes work together in order to improve cost-effectiveness and ensure the maximum research impacts. Once a year,  the partners publish one joint call for research and development projects with foci ranging from the raw material side to processing technologies and system analysis.


Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings (Bundesförderung für effiziente Gebäude, 2021 - 2030)

The Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings (BEG) provides incentives for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies in the building sector. The BEG is divided into three sub-programmes: Residential Buildings (BEG WG), Non-residential Buildings (BEG NWG) and Individual Measures (BEG EM). Funding is provided either as a direct investment grant from the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) or as a low-interest promotional loan with a repayment subsidy from the KfW.


Federal funding for energy advice for non-residential buildings, installations and systems (Bundesförderung der Energieberatung für Nichtwohngebäude, Anlagen und Systeme (EBN), 2021 - 2024)

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) promotes energy consulting for non-residential buildings, facilities and systems in order to include energy efficiency and renewable energies in the planning and decision-making process and thus maximise efficiency potentials at the individually most favourable time. Thus, an energy audit, energy consulting or contracting orientation consulting is funded with up to 80 % of the eligible consulting fee.


Federal funding for energy efficiency in economy (Bundesförderung für Energieeffizienz in der Wirtschaft, 2020 - 2022)

The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) promotes measures that lead to introduction and implementation of an energy management system. The programme supports the purchasing, installation and initiation of software and hardware. As a result, companies should be enabled to identify energy-saving potential and reduce energy consumption by improving their energy efficiency.


Federal funding for renewable resources (Förderprogramm Nachwachsende Rohstoffe)

As part of the National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) promotes applied research and development for the sustainable production and use of renewable resources. This includes approaches to the utilisation of biogenic waste and byproducts of agriculture or the processing industry and projects on dialogue with society.


From Material to Innovation (2015 - 2025)

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) promotes cooperation projects between business and science that promote sustainable product and process innovations in materials engineering. To be funded, the projects can work on saving of (raw) materials or energy, material innovations for important fields of application or the initiation of networks.


Funding Data Base of the Federal Government

The Funding Data Base issued by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) gives a comprehensive overview of research programmes, of the federal level, the Länder and the EU for industry. It contains the full text version of all calls and additional information (in German).


Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)

The objective of the funding measure is the successful technology and knowledge transfer in the field of sustainable water management in selected developing and emerging countries. An important contribution with regard to the Millennium Goals of the United Nations is made with the development of integrated planning instruments, the adaptation of water technologies to different climate, economic and societal conditions and the variety of options for vocational training.


International Sustainable Forest Management (2019 - 2021)

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) promotes knowledge transfer and research on sustainable forestry of universities / research institutions, companies or associations in international cooperation. The aim ist to convert the use of forests worldwide to sustainable forestry in order to work against the progressive deforestation and degradation of the forest.


KfW Energy Efficiency Programme - Energy-Efficient Construction and Refurbishment

This support programme conduces to measures for significant energy savings and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in existing corporate constructions in Germany. This can be achieved by reconstruction as well as by individual measures on the building envelope or the technical building equipment. In addition, the construction of KfW energy efficiency buildings with low energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions will be promoted.


KfW Energy Efficiency Programme - Production Facilities and Processes

The KfW Energy Efficiency Programme supports energy efficiency measures in the area of production facilities and processes of enterprises with low-interest loans. Activities that lead to a very high energy saving receive extra favorable conditions. Funding will be provided for investments for the provision of energy and refrigeration, information technology and instrumentation and control.


Local Authorities Guideline (Kommunalrichtlinie, 2019 - 2022)

With the Local Authorities Guideline, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) promotes the implementation of climate protection actions in cities and municipalities. Infrastructure and waste management measures, energy management systems and energy-saving models, advice, potential studies and networking activities are supported. Eligible to apply are municipal administrations, educational institutions, associations and companies of municipally infrastructure facilities.


Materials for a Resource Efficient Industry and Society – MatRessource (Materialien für eine ressourceneffiziente Industrie und Gesellschaft, 2010 - 2014)

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) promotes application and industry-related research with a focus on material substitution and efficiency,  corrosion protection, catalysis and process optimisation. The obejctive is to support the sustainable and efficient use of raw materials and to improve the raw material efficiency of future technologies such as electromobility and photovoltaics.


National Climate Initiative (NCI) – Small Series Guideline (Kleinserien-Richtlinie, 2018 - 2021)

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) promotes the market development of innovative and climate-friendly products and processes that are already being produced in small batches. Thematically, the products must be assigned to one of the following areas: micro-hydropower plants, oxygen production, heat recovery, drilling rigs and heavy-duty bicycles.


NIP – National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (2007 - 2026)

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) promotes the market development of innovative and climate-friendly products and processes that are already being produced in small batches. Thematically, the products must be assigned to one of the following areas: micro-hydropower plants, oxygen production, heat recovery, drilling rigs and heavy-duty bicycles.


Promotion programme for measures for adaptation to climate change (in German)

As part of this programme, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) supports projects that strengthen the capacity of key regional and local players (such as local authorities and businesses) to adapt to climate change through initiatives for raising awareness, for dialogue and participation, and for networking and collaboration. At the same time one of the BMU’s primary concerns is to forge strong links between the two areas of climate protection and adaptation to the impact of climate change.


r4 – Innovative Technologies for Resource Efficiency – Research for the Provision of Economically Strategic Raw Materials (r4 – Innovative Technologien für Ressourceneffizienz – Forschung zur Bereitstellung wirtschaftsstrategischer Rohstoffe, 2013 - 2015)

The funding initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the primary or secondary extraction of economically strategic raw materials in Germany. The focus is on non-energy mineral raw materials such as rare earths. The initiative is embedded in the BMBF programme "Raw materials of strategic economic importance for high-tech made in Germany" and part of the framework programme "Research for Sustainability (FONA)".


Renewable Mobile (2017 - 2020)

In the course of the German government's Clean Air programme for improving air quality in cities, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) funds research and development projects that make the potential of electromobility for energy and climate policy accessible. Funded R & D projects help to reduce the overall cost of electromobility and to remove buying barriers for users.


Research Initiative "Future Building"

The research initiative “Future Building” of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the German building sector in the European internal market and to remove existing deficits particularly in the sector of technical, building cultural and organisational innovations.


Research for energy-optimised construction (EnOB)

The research programme EnOB of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology places an emphasis on research and development in construction engineering and technical building equipment, such as low-exergy systems, building elements with vacuum insulation, or innovative glazing and facade systems. A second focus is on scientifically evaluating energy-optimised buildings.


Research funding of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The BMBF provides financial support for innovative projects and ideas under targeted research funding programmes. The range covers everything from basic scientific research, environmentally friendly sustainable development, new technologies, information and communication technologies, the life sciences, work design; structural research funding at institutions of higher education to innovation support and technology transfer.


ReziProK – Resource-efficient closed-loop economy – Innovative production cycles (2017 - 2018)

In the course of the framework programme "Research for Sustainability (FONA3)", the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding collaborative projects of applied or industrial research for the development and implementation of cost-effective product recycling and cascade systems. The funded projects address the main topics of product design, business models and digital technologies to improve the circular economy. Furthermore, the projects consider the use of materials and energy along the entire value chain.


SME Innovative: Energy-Efficiency and Climate Protection

With the "SME Innovative" funding initiative, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is pursuing the objective of improving the long-term innovation potential of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and sustainably strengthening their economic power. Funding is provided for projects with a high degree of innovation and a high potential of application. The focus of the key subject "Energy-Efficiency and Climate Protection" is on technologies for climate protection, improving energy efficiency in industry and adaptation to climate change.


Solar construction / Energy-efficient city (Solares Bauen/Energieeffiziente Stadt, 2016)

As part of the 6th Energy Research Programme, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is funding the entire sector of energy-optimised construction, refurbishment and operation of buildings or energy infrastructures in quarters. In districts or individual buildings, the funding programme covers all aspects of increasing energy efficiency, integrating renewable energies and optimising energy, for example through sector coupling.


The Central Innovation Program SME (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand – ZIM)

The Central Innovation Program SME is a funding program for small and medium sized enterprises (SME) with business operations in Germany that want to develop new or significantly improve existing products, processes or technical services. As the cooperation partner of an SME, public and private non-profit research and technology organisations (RTO) are also eligible. The program is open to all branches and technological sectors. The aim of ZIM is to sustainably increase the innovative capacity and competitiveness of SMEs.


Förderatlas des VDI Zentrum Ressourceneffizienz

Der Förderatlas des VDI ZRE gibt eine Übersicht über die vielfältigen Beratungs- und Fördermöglichkeiten zum Thema Ressourceneffizienz. In kurzen Porträts stellt er die Angebote vor.


Förderfibel Umweltschutz Bayern

Die Förderfibel des Bayerischen Staatsministeriums für Umwelt, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz bietet einen Überblick über die aktuellen Forderprogramme im Umweltschutz. Sie unterstützt bei der Suche nach einem geeigneten Förderprogramm, bietet zu jedem Förderprogramm Details zu Förderhöhe, Antragstellung, Verwendungszweck, Kombinationsmöglichkeiten mit anderen Programmen und Art der Förderung und Sicherung.


Förderleitlinien der Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)

Die Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt fördert Vorhaben zum Schutz der Umwelt unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der mittelständischen Wirtschaft. Die Förderung erfolgt in den Schwerpunktbereichen Umwelttechnik, Umweltforschung und Naturschutz sowie Umweltkommunikation und Kulturgüterschutz.


Förderprogramme für PIUS-Maßnahmen

Einen umfassenden Überblick über Fördermöglichkeiten des Bundes, der Bundesländer und der EU im Bereich der Massnahmen zum Produktionsintegrierten Umweltschutz (PIUS) bietet das PIUS-Internetportal.



Das KfW-Umweltprogramm (Programmnummer 240, 241) unterstützt Unternehmen in Deutschland bei der Investition in allgemeine Umweltschutzmaßnahmen, die wesentlich zur Verbesserung der Umweltsituation beitragen. Gefördert werden Vorhaben zur Verminderung oder Vermeidung von Luftverschmutzung, Ressourceneffizienz und Materialeinsparung, Abfallvermeidung, -behandlung und -verwertung, Anschaffung emissionsarmer Nutzfahrzeuge und Busse und zur Flächen- und Altlastensanierung.



Der Ressortforschungsplan (vorher Umweltforschungsplan - UFOPLAN) des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit umfasst verschiedene F&E-Vorhaben, die u.a. vom Umweltbundesamt vergeben werden. Der Ressortforschungsplan wird jährlich aktualisiert.