01.11.2016 31.12.2023
Application Phase
Selection phase
Funding phase


The target of funding under the “CLIENT II – International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovations” programme is to support international partnerships in the areas of climate, environment and energy. The programme plays a significant role in the implementation of the “Research for Sustainable Development (FONA³)” framework programme. The “CLIENT II“ funding programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the international research and development projects of commercial companies, higher education institutions, non-university research institutions, as well as municipal and Land institutions and relevant associations headquartered in Germany. The foreign project partners from selected countries (see Annex 1) must contribute their own financing for their project module or source the necessary funding in their country of origin.

CLIENT II puts a spotlight on demand-oriented research and development collaborations with select newly industrializing and developing countries with interesting markets for German suppliers of technology. The envisaged projects are to give an effective impetus to reduce environmental pollution in the partner countries, to use natural resources both wisely and economically, to supply safe, clean and affordable energy to all segments of the population, and to make advances in global climate protection and in the adaptation to climate change and natural hazards. This may be accomplished by increasing resource and energy efficiency, through sustainable land use, or by reducing harmful emissions to the air, water and soil. The topics investigated in the project should be important enough for the outcome to have a significant impact at local level and demonstrate relevance to similar conditions in other regions.
Funding is provided to collaborative research and development (R&D) projects which are carried out jointly by science, industry and other practitioners. The projects must also provide evidence of their links to stakeholders and activities in the partner country which can commercialize the project results. International interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary cooperation is expected. The strong involvement of companies and a clear focus on commercialization of results is aimed in particular at strengthening the economic competitiveness of Germany and the associated partner countries.

The "CLIENT II" funding measure covers sustainable technologies and services in the following focal areas:

  • Resource efficiency and sustainable resource technologies
  • Water management
  • Climate protection/energy efficiency
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Land management
  • Sustainable energy systems
  • Natural hazards

Interdisciplinary collaborative projects which focus on several of the focal areas above and their interfaces are expressly welcome.

Details concerning the content of the focal areas and the targeted priority countries are contained in Annex 1. Funding for projects from other countries is possible in exceptional cases.

Funding is provided to R&D collaborative projects which run for a period of three years (as a rule). Preceding definition projects with a running time of up to six months which are aimed at preparing subsequent R&D projects are also eligible for funding. Definition projects can be user-oriented needs and market analyses, research into country-specific conditions, or the recruitment of suitable partners, to name but a few.

In a first step, project proposals for international R&D projects should be submitted by the German project coordinator to the BMBF's project management agency.

The following deadlines apply:

30 June, 2016 (completed)

30 November, 2017 (completed)

31 May, 2019 (completed)

Project proposals are to be developed jointly with project partners and relevant stakeholders from the respective partner country or region. Evaluation of the project outlines received will be carried out by external experts. In a second step, the collaboration proposals competitively selected will be requested to submit a formal application for R&D projects. A decision will be taken pending a final evaluation and possibly another external evaluation.

Prerequisites for project funding include:

Relevance and a demonstrated urgent need for R&D in the partner country (e.g. by superordinate programmes at ministerial and/or regional level), Proof of adequate own financing by cooperation partners in the respective partner countries, Involvement of at least one, ideally several, institutions in the partner country: (preferably research institutions as well as companies with independent research and development activities) and at least one stakeholder (e.g. public authority) crucial to project implementation, or other institutions in the partner country which may include those which do not carry out research activities, in the interest of sustainable opportunities for commercialization.
Signature of a written agreement between all collaboration partners concerning rights and duties within the bilateral project, competences, terms and conditions of the collaboration, how to handle data, publication procedures, etc. (to be signed six months after project launch, at the latest).

The application procedure for definition projects is single-tiered. Applications will be evaluated according to an established catalogue of criteria. If the evaluation produces a positive result, definition projects will be funded pending a final review. Submission of an R&D project outline is expected at the conclusion of the definition project.

The selected definition projects and R&D collaborations will be supported by further networking and transfer activities. These include the establishment of regional project offices which coordinate activities across disciplines to effectively network projects and their environments and thereby strengthen the implementation and innovative power of the projects. Subject-specific supportive research measures will evaluate the outcome, approaches, and transferability with a view to ensuring both as widescale commercialization of results as possible and the greatest possible effectiveness of the funding activity itself.

Information about the funding measure in different languages:


A revised version of the call notice has been published by the BMBF on the 2nd of January, 2019 (https://www.bmbf.de/foerderungen/bekanntmachung-2211.html).

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