The AiF supports Research and Development in SMEs

Entrepreneurial innovation is Germany’s most valuable resource. The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations - AiF in short - is the leading national organization promoting applied research and development benefiting Germany’s small and medium-sized businesses. It builds up alliances together with partners from industry, science and government in order to turn ideas into successful products, processes or services in the market. As an industry-driven organization, the AiF aims at initiating applied research and development (R&D) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as qualifying the new generation of academics in innovative fields and organizing the distribution of scientific knowledge.

Industry-driven innovation network

100 industrial research associations with approx. 50,000 businesses, mostly SMEs, as members, 1,200 associated research institutes and the AiF’s affiliates in Cologne and Berlin contribute to the AiF innovation network. The AiF manages public programmes of the German federal government to strengthen SME competitiveness. The AiF thus connects enterprises, research and government as well as providing a meeting ground for representatives of business and research.

Chart: AiF network (PDF, 110 KB)

The AiF e.V. is an independent industrial federation: it is financed entirely by industry and receives no institutional funding. In addition to the AiF’s permanent staff, several hundred representatives and experts – both from industry and research – work in an honorary capacity within the AiF system of collective research. 

Centre of Excellence in R&D Support for SMEs

The AiF’s activities as a centre of excellence in R&D support span the whole innovation chain. The support programmes which the AiF manages all aim at strengthening firm’s innovation capacity through R&D – from pre-competitive research to the benefit of whole branches of the economy to the practical implementation of research results in individual firms. They help SMEs successfully tackle technological challenges and support cooperation with other firms and with research organizations.

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Excellent Return on Investment

Public funding of R&D activities is a very good investment in the international competitiveness of Germany. Every funding euro is multiply complimented by industrial R&D expenses. Hence, the AiF is a competent and committed partner to both public funding agencies and innovative companies in order to strengthen the German economy.

In 2018, the AiF has disbursed about 475 million euros of public funding, in particular on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Since its foundation in 1954, the AiF has disbursed more than 12 billion euros in funding for over 235,000 research projects for SMEs.



Membership of KoWi

EU Liaison Office of the German Research Organisations

Koordinierungsstelle EG der Wissenschaftsorganisationen (KoWi)

Membership of EARTO