Funding Programme for Projects in Application oriented Quantum Computing
This programme funds pre-competitive research and development consortium projects with the goal of achieving a useful quantum advantage for defined application areas in business or science ("domains") or at least prospectively working out the basics for the corresponding goal and estimating the required hardware resources. Possible research topics include, among others:
- Analog or digital algorithms for quantum simulation,
- Quantum machine learning,
- Quantum algorithms for a specific operationalized (optimization) problem, especially for non-gate-based quantum computing (e.g., Gaussian Boson Sampling or Quantum Annealing),
- Hybrid algorithms for co-processing in high-performance computing environments, and
- Quantum-inspired algorithms on classical hardware.
This list is not exhaustive but illustrative.
Characteristic of all projects is that a clearly defined application case of quantum computing is addressed by an efficient, goal-focused consortium. Flanking this can also be information-theoretical aspects like quantum error resilience or error mitigation. The same applies to work on classical algorithms, as long as they serve the benchmarking of quantum algorithms. The participation of commercial enterprises is mandatory and underlines the application relevance of the projects.
Pre-competitive research and development projects characterized by a high scientific-technical risk are funded. Projects by companies (especially SMEs) and institutes with research and development competence related to the goals of the announcement are eligible for funding.
A prerequisite for funding is the collaboration of several independent partners to solve common research and development tasks (consortium projects). Funding of individual projects is not intended.
The partners of a consortium project regulate their cooperation in a written cooperation agreement. All consortium partners, including research institutions within the meaning of Article 2 (number 83) GBER, ensure that no indirect (indirect) aid flows to companies within the consortium. The provisions of number 2.2 of the FuEuI-Union framework must be observed for this. Before a funding decision on a consortium project, a basic agreement on further criteria specified by the BMBF must be proven (compare BMBF form no. 0110).5
Type and amount of the grant
The grants are awarded as non-repayable subsidies in the form of project funding.
The basis for calculating grants to commercial enterprises and for projects by research institutions that fall within the scope of economic activities6 are the eligible project-related costs. These can be financed proportionally, taking into account the state aid regulations (see annex). According to BMBF principles, a reasonable contribution to the emerging eligible costs is assumed.
In the context of this funding directive, an appropriate contribution is deemed to be at least 50% of the emerging eligible costs. However, a lower contribution may also be considered appropriate for SMEs (see annex). Thus, for small enterprises, the funding rate can be increased by 20%, and for medium-sized enterprises by 10%.
The basis for calculating grants to universities, research and science institutions, and comparable institutions that do not fall within the scope of economic activities are the eligible project-related expenses (for Helmholtz centers and the Fraunhofer Society, the eligible project-related costs), which can be individually funded up to 100% in compliance with state aid regulations.
For non-economic research projects at universities and university hospitals, a project lump sum of 20% is granted in addition to the BMBF-financed eligible expenses.
The eligible expenses/costs are determined according to the "Guidelines for grant applications on an expenditure basis (AZA/AZAP/AZV)" and/or the "Guidelines for grant applications on a cost basis for commercial enterprises (AZK)" of the BMBF.
The duration of a project is usually three years.
Eligible for funding are expenses incurred in connection with the project-related use of quantum computing hardware ("quantum computing as a service").
CO2 compensation payments for business trips can be recognized as eligible expenses or costs according to the "Guidelines for grant applications on an expenditure basis (AZA/AZAP/AZAV)" and/or the "Guidelines for grant applications on a cost basis for commercial enterprises (AZK)".
The relevant eligible costs and the determination of the respective funding rate must consider the requirements of the GBER (see annex).
It is expected that commercial enterprises will appropriately participate in the expenses of universities and publicly funded research institutions, provided the latter are involved as consortium partners. Appropriateness is generally assumed if a consortium-wide own contribution of at least 20% of the total costs/expenses of the consortium project is achieved in sum. When calculating this consortium funding rate of a maximum of 80%, bonuses for SMEs should not be considered; these are granted additionally.
Submission Procedure and Deadlines
The submission follows a two stage regime:
- Submission of a 15 page short proposal to the funding agency through the online tool "Easy online".
- Selected proposals will be invited to submit a full funding application.
The funding call foresees mulitple submission deadlines until 30 June 2027. 1st stage proposals must be submitted towards the deadline 31. January in each year 2024, 2025 and 2026.