About IraSME

What is IraSME and What can We do for You

International research activities by SMEs

Download IraSME Flyer - ZIM Edition

IraSME is a network of ministries and funding agencies which are owners or managers of national and regional funding programmes for cooperative research projects between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and in participation of research and technology organisations (RTOs). Against the background of growing competition in global markets, IraSME supports SMEs in their transnational innovation activities, helps them to acquire technological know-how, extend their networks and bridge the gap between research and innovation.

What can IraSME do for you?

Twice a year IraSME issues calls for proposals for transnational cooperative research projects between SMEs and RTOs with the objective to develop innovative products, processes or technical services. The calls follow a bottom-up approach, i.e. research topics are not pre-defined and can be decided by applicants themselves. Funding is made available through national and regional programmes. IraSME enables consortia of SMEs and RTOs (not mandatory) from at least two participating countries to work together in transnational projects.

What is an IraSME Project?

Projects can be funded if they fulfil the rules of the corresponding national/regional funding programmes.

Generally, IraSME Projects have to be research and development activities with significant technical risks to realise new or notably improve existing products, processes or technical services. The clearly describable project outcome has to show real market opportunities.

Consortia of IraSME Projects are as small as possible and as big as necessary. They consist of at least two SMEs from two different participating countries/regions with complementary technical expertise, which is needed to realise the project aim. Additional SMEs and RTOs who have technical skills that are needed for the projects can be funded. Partners from non-participating countries or partners that can not be funded in the national/regional programmes (e.g. large companies) can also participate in the project, if they can finance their part on their own or manage to get funded in another way.

Every partner in the consortium has to have a distinct part in the development (no redundancy) corresponding to his technical expertise.

What is not an IraSME Project?

Projects that only set up networks without a concrete technical development, the development of new standards, norms or labels, projects without technical risks, the pure transfer of existing technology to a new field of application without real technological challenges, and generally projects that have no concretely describable outcome and are supposed to only produce paper (except for new machines/processes to produce paper) are not funded in IraSME.

Why work in an IraSME project?

Participation in an IraSME project allows SMEs and RTOs to develop a new state of the art, build new partnerships, benefit from know-how and resources that might not be available in their country or region and get an insight into the market in other countries. IraSME features high success rates and short time to contract. The IraSME funding agencies support applicants in finding partners for their project ideas. Due to the low threshold for transnational cooperation, IraSME can also be a starting point for other transnational activities.

Unbureaucratic Support

As familiar national and regional funding programmes form the basis of support, collaboration with international partners in IraSME projects is unbureaucratic. Personal contact between applicants and funding agencies facilitates advice for proposal submission and flexible solutions to problems that might arise during a project. Ahead of a full application in IraSME, please contact our coordination office via e-mail or telephone! Applicants from Germany may write a short Sketch on their project and send it to AiF Projekt GmbH to get some non-binding feedback.

Application and Evaluation

The partners in a project file one common proposal form. The proposal describes the whole transnational project, which is made up of two or more national sub-projects. At the same time the partners file national/regional applications according to the corresponding programmes. The proposals are evaluated in a synchronised procedure by the involved funding agencies. After a project is approved for funding, each partner receives a grant from his national/regional funding agency.


IraSME was initiated in 2005 as an ERA-NET. Until 2010 it was supported by the European Commission’s 6th and 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development. Since January 2011 IraSME is a self-sustained network of several national funding agencies coordinated by the German AiF Projekt GmbH with financial means from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.


Mr. Felix Richter & Ms. Jenny Gudlat

(Ms. Antje Treptow, Mr. Georg Nagel)

AiF Projekt GmbH
Tschaikowskistrasse 49
13156 Berlin | Germany

Phone: +49 (0)30 48163 493
Email: info (at) ira-sme.net
Website: www.ira-sme.net

The IraSME network is managed by

Please use our free consultation service via e-mail and telephone. Up until four weeks before the deadline, all German ZIM applicants may write a short sketch on the project and send it via e-mail to AiF Projekt GmbH in order to get some non-binding feedback.

Contact info

+49 (0)30 48163 493

AiF Projekt GmbH
Tschaikowskistraße 49
13156 Berlin - Germany

Information on our partner network CORNET: If you are an association and your SME members have a common R&D question that needs to be solved by research-centres or universities? You may benefit from the transnational funding opportunities the CORNET network can offer, as it links national and regional funding programmes for collective research to promote cooperation between SME associations and research organisations across Europe: www.cornet.online