Various institutions (established and financed by the EU or the German federal government) are available to assess your project idea and provide program-specific advice. Some examples include:
European Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KOWI)
The EU Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations (KoWi) is the joint service platform of the major German science organizations, which are members of KoWi's supporting association, the Association for the Promotion of European and International Cooperation in Science e.V.
As a so-called "Auxiliary Research Institution," KoWi is funded by the German Research Foundation. KoWi maintains offices in Bonn and Brussels.
- Information, advice, and training on EU research funding for researchers and administrators at higher education and research institutions in Germany
- Working jointly with the members of the KoWi supporting association, fostering the establishment of expertise for providing advice across institutional boundaries in order to nurture newly developing cooperation arrangements involving the academic and business communities in Germany and Europe
- Support for members of the KoWi supporting association through services tailored to their requirements, as needed
In particular, KoWi offers individual consulting.
The organization provides briefings on current topics in periodic newsletters:
- Aktiver Informationsdienst, AiD [Active Information Service] sends emails with topic-specific information about European and (to a limited extent) national and international research funding.
- KoWi-Forschungsbrief offers strategic information on European research funding, and KoWi Thema covers fundamental topics of European research funding; published on demand.
EU-Office of the BMBF
The EU Office of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) serves as a central point of contact for general information and questions regarding Horizon 2020. The goal is to inform interested parties about funding measures, types of projects, instruments, application and review processes, rules for participation, and contract modalities relevant to them and to liaise with further contact persons in the relevant substantive areas of Horizon 2020, as appropriate.
Besides taking on responsibility for various general tasks, including the Contact Point for "Women into EU Research," the EU Office of the BMBF operates numerous National Contact Points (NCPs) for Horizon 2020. In addition, the BMBF’s EU Office supports and coordinates the Network of National Contact Points in Germany as its Managing Office. The National Contact Points were established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to liaise between applicants, the European Commission, and the Ministry. Their most important tasks are to disseminate information and provide advice to applicants and project managers. The NCPs also assist the relevant departments within the ministries, as well as the German delegations in the Brussels program committees, which discuss EU program implementation.
Since May 2004, the EU Office of the BMBF has also provided support and advice on topics relating to European educational cooperation. It is also the German coordination center and contact point for "EURYDICE—the information network on education in Europe."
National contact points (NCPs)
National contact points (NCPs) are served by experts in the various subject areas. The main task of the NCPs is to support researchers in all matters relating to Horizon 2020, for example by
- Making researchers aware of calls and deadlines
- Providing individual advice during all phases of application and project
- Hosting events for information and advice
- Evaluating and processing current information and background documents from the research policy environment, and
- Providing support in seeking project partners, as needed.
A particularly useful service offered by NCPs is their review and ongoing support for individual project applications. Due to their longstanding experience as funding advisors, NCPs can give applicants important and often decisive information that can help optimize the texts for submission. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to contact the responsible NCP early on.
In addition to their advising role, NCPs carry out jobs for the ministries under which they are employed. For example, they evaluate and assess specific application rounds. They also help ministerial departments prepare and implement the work programs.
Each NCP has corresponding NCPs in other EU Member States as well as in some states associated with the Framework Programme. At the European level, NCPS for some areas are networked through their work on EU coordination and support measures.
The websites of the "Enterprise Europe Network" (the contact in Schleswig-Holstein is the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein) provide a good overview of EU funding programs in the form of a summary of open EU calls. Updated monthly, this resource is available in PDF format and as an email newsletter.
The Enterprise Europe Network provides special support for initiatives involving collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With offices in more than 50 countries, the Enterprise Europe Network is the largest European network of information and advice resources for SMEs. It offers practical support at the local level for developing business, technology, and project partnerships. The Cooperation database also facilitates the search for suitable partners.