The Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) has introduced the programme “ZIM Cooperation Networks International”. This new part of the ZIM programme is intended to promote international cooperation within the framework of ZIM. Supported by this form of funding, national companies and research institutes, which are organised in ZIM, can thus implement innovation projects in the technological sector together with foreign partners.
Cross-border cooperation within the framework of ZIM to provide added value
The main objective of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs is to guarantee added value for the German cooperation partners. They benefit in many ways from international cooperation:
- Access to foreign markets
- Cooperation with foreign partners, with know-how not available here
- Higher subsidies for innovation projects
In addition, the cooperation, which must take place between at least four domestic and at least two medium-sized companies from abroad, also means a professional profit. ZIM does not only want to promote interculturality, but in particular aims to create advantages in the form of financial incentives for German medium-sized companies.
Conditions for funding by the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs within the framework of an international cooperation project
The German cooperation companies receive funding if the national ZIM guidelines are complied with. In addition, cooperation with institutions abroad must also be demonstrated. In general, for a successful ZIM funding it is important that the outcome provides an advantage. It must also be made clear that the project involves a noticeably higher effort than a purely national undertaking.
In concrete terms, an international ZIM network must look as follows:
- The foreign companies must be medium-sized and meet the SME criterion.
- At least four German companies and at least two from abroad have to be involved
- The number of foreign companies in the ZIM cooperation network may not exceed 50 %
- The foreign participants are managed by a foreign organisation, which acts as a coordinator and finances itself
- The joint ventures must exist independently from each other
- The network of foreign companies may already exist
Grants and conditions of the ZIM programme
The maximum funding rate for international cooperation networks is 95% in the first phase. This first funding phase lasts up to 1.5 years. In the optionally subsequent 2nd phase, the funding rate remains higher compared to national networks.
In total, a maximum of 450,000 euros in grants can be applied for. A maximum of 190,000 euros is allocated to phase 1, the remainder to phase 2. In the case of international cooperation projects, phase 2 usually takes three years.
Further information on the ZIM programme “ZIM Cooperation Networks International” can be found here.
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