If you are a funding organisation and have heard of CORNET, you will be asking yourself what CORNET is and if it’s worth joining. On this page, you will find comprehensive information on how to join the network. For tailor-made information or a personal consultation please contact us. We will be happy to assist you with any questions regarding CORNET.

Top 5 reasons to join CORNET

01 CORNET is bottom-up

Give your SMEs access to interdisciplinary knowledge, equipment and know-how abroad and let the SMEs in your country/region become international.

02 The Network is stable and running

Two calls per year are available to ‘hop on’, offering a reliable call scheme ready to use. You choose which calls you would like to participate in, depending on your national/regional rules and available budget.

03 CORNET is highly efficient in two respects

With one project at least 10 SMEs benefit, plus potentially many more SMEs reached in the sector. And with one public € or $ invested, CORNET generates a several times higher impact on the economies compared to projects where only single companies are supported.

04 Quality assurance

Use your public funding the right way: benefit from the established and unbureaucratic evaluation procedure as well as the dedicated, reliable and field-tested network procedures in CORNET.

05 No member fee

Coordination costs of the network are covered by the German Ministry BMWK – you get the service of the coordination office for free.

3 Steps to join CORNET

01 Funding scheme

If there is a funding scheme for Collective Research existing in your country or region, you can easily use it to join CORNET. If your programme has rules that seem to be in conflict with CORNET, just talk to us! The CORNET experts from AiF are happy to give you advice. If there is no funding scheme then you have two possibilities:

  1. YOU CAN USE COMMON FUNDING RULES. Some CORNET partners fund CORNET projects on the basis of general rules for beneficiaries who participate in international programmes. All partners will be happy to share their experience with you.
  2. YOU CAN ESTABLISH A PROGRAMME. A lot of know-how and best practice tips are available within the network. Learn from the experiences that suit your country/region best.



02 Organisation structure

To be eligible to submit CORNET proposals, your country/region needs a structure of SME organisations, federations or other groups that are dealing with Collective Research. However, it is true that in some countries and regions it is difficult to find groupings of SMEs whose task is to define the research needs of their SME members, and to be part of Collective Research projects. There are several solutions:

  1. ALLOW CLUSTERS TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS. Cluster organisations are usually dynamic networks, which have SMEs and research organisations as their members. Therefore they are able to bundle the research needs of their SME members. For example, in Austria, Poland and Czech Republic, clusters are eligible to submit CORNET proposals.
  2. ALLOW SO CALLED ‘AD HOC GROUPS’ TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS. In Flanders, at least 10 SMEs are allowed to form a legal entity for the duration of a CORNET project. This ad hoc group is eligible to submit proposals without an SME association. Certain organisational tasks which would normally be performed by an SME association could also be taken over by the assigned research organisation (RTO). Additionally, the ad hoc group will be acting simultaneously as an SME User Committee.
  3. ALLOW RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS TO BE PROVIDED WITH BUDGET. In Poland, when there is no association, the RTO can get funding directly through the contract with the funding organisation. In most countries and regions, funding rules allow researchers to be provided with a budget.

03 Welcome

TWO CORNET CALLS PER YEAR TO ‘HOP ON’. You choose if you participate once or twice a year, depending on your national/regional rules and available budget.

THERE IS NO LEGAL WORK TO ATTEND TO. The CORNET partners just sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

COMMON EVALUATION PROCESS AND DECISIONS. Every respective CORNET partner assigns up to two evaluators for each submitted CORNET project. The CORNET coordination office collects and combines the evaluation reports, providing a ranking list of all projects. According to the results and the available national/regional budget for the call, the respective CORNET partners in a project decide upon funding.

THERE IS NO MEMBER FEE. The network coordination and organisation of Calls for Proposals as well as PR and Partnering Events are all free of cost since the CORNET coordination is financed by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).



Facts and stats


By funding one project, at least 10 SMEs (5+5 per participating country/region) benefit from the results, plus many more SMEs potentially reached in the sector. With one public € or $ invested, CORNET generates a several times higher impact on the economies compared to projects where only single companies are supported.


Since 2005, CORNET funded more than 300 Projects, supporting at least 5,000 SMEs.

Success Rate

As a well-functioning network with established procedures, CORNET can offer an average success rate of 66 per cent.



Applicants requested more than a total of  € 200 M FOR FUNDING.


On average, every project participant requested  € 150,000 per year