For this year the Federal Government is ready to make available 150 million Euros for the technological sponsoring of small and medium-sized entities (SME) from the PRO INNO II programme set up by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology (BMWi). This amount represents an increase by 50 percent as compared to the year 2005. This means that additional research projects can now be sponsored via the responsible body Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen (AiF). PRO INNO II is meant to promote the development of innovative products, processes or technical services and to encourage SME to co-operate with each other and with research institutions at home and abroad. It is also to stimulate the temporary and project-related exchange of research and development staff.
According to some Chambers of Commerce the starting sponsorship of small and medium-sized companies which engage in R&D for the first time or have resumed it after 5 years has been re-activated too. The sponsorship is granted as a non-recurring contribution of usually 35 percent to the project costs. Application documents and the sponsoring guidelines are available here.