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Since 2016, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) has been shaping the mobility of the future with an innovation initiative called mFUND. mFUND promotes research and development projects related to digital data-based mobility applications. In addition to providing funding, mFUND brings together stakeholders from government, the private sector and the research community through various networking formats and events. The initiative targets founders, start-ups, companies, higher education institutions, associations, public authorities and institutions with research and development tasks. Stakeholders from the EEA and Switzerland may also apply for funding.

mFUND supports the development of digital business ideas that are based on mobility, spatial and weather data. These include new navigation services, innovative sharing platforms, smart journey planners or high-precision weather apps. Our involvement kicks in the moment digital ideas are born. We support funding applicants in realizing these ideas – from the initial concept and the development to commercial maturity to the provision and use of data on the Mobilithek platform.

Projektillustration AUFGEHTS

Source: Transcality AG

AUFGEHTS: Automated procedure to create and calibrate traffic simulations on the basis of floating car data

Efficiently calibrated traffic simulations are crucial for transportation planning, but limited data availability across geographical boundaries hampers model accuracy. AUFGEHTS aims to enhance model creation and calibration, providing a solid foundation for crucial infrastructure planning.

Logo aZuR

Source: Hochschule RheinMain

aZuR: Automated condition survey of the cycling infrastructure

Developing a uniform survey and assessment system for cycling infrastructure is crucial for decision-making and improvements. aZuR aims to provide comprehensive data for all cycle tracks, enabling prioritization of maintenance and optimal allocation of resources. Utilizing data from aZuR also facilitates bicycle type-specific routing, enhancing overall cycling infrastructure efficiency.

Gespann mit Lastverteilungserkennung und Cloudanbindung

Source: FH Dortmund

CargoTrailSense_AI: Sensor fusion-based calculation of characteristic values under real-world loading conditions for tractor-trailers with coupled databases

The CargoTrailSense_AI project aims to develop a telematics-based system for assessing tractor-trailer loads and conditions, transmitting data to stakeholders. It will integrate with road-embedded sensors via cloud for enhanced data accuracy and accessibility.


Source: Universität Stuttgart, IAT

ESSEM: Emotion Sensing for (e-)Bicycle Safety and Mobility Comfort

The ESSEM project aims to improve cyclists' safety and comfort by collecting biostatistical data overlaid with contextual information. This comprehensive database enables the identification of potential enhancements for product demonstrators, services, cycling infrastructures, and traffic management systems, all geared towards enhancing cyclists' safety and comfort.

Fußgänger überqueren eine Straße an einer Zughaltestelle
Fußgänger überqueren eine Straße an einer Zughaltestelle

Source: Fraunhofer IOSB-INA

KI4PED: AI-based optimization of pedestrian crossing times by means of smart traffic signals

KI4PED introduces an innovative pedestrian traffic signal control system utilizing 3D-LiDAR sensors and AI evaluation to activate signals based on demand, reducing pedestrian wait times and discouraging jaywalking. It prioritizes privacy rights by adhering to GDPR regulations and demonstrates robustness against lighting variations, with an examination into integration with existing traffic light controls.

Datenbasiertes, intelligentes Straßenschild zum Schutz schwacher Verkehrsteilnehmer - SmartWalk

Source: Bercman

SmartWalk: Data-based, smart street sign to protect vulnerable road users

SmatWalk focused on creating an intelligent road infrastructure to enhance the safety of vulnerable road users by integrating AI technologies into smart street signs equipped with privacy-compliant camera systems. These systems provide light and digital warnings, identifying and assessing risk potential for pedestrians by interpreting aggregated data, with efforts made towards certifying this intelligent road infrastructure in Germany.

mFUND offers two funding lines in which you can submit your research and development project outlines. Funding line 1 of the mFUND provides resources of up to 200,000 euros for projects running up to 18 months. The current call for applications for funding is open until the end of 2024. Funding line 2 provides resources of up to 3,000,000 euros for projects running up to 36 months. The current call for applications is open until 31 May 2024.

Funding line 1

In funding line 1, project outlines are submitted on the basis of calls for applications for funding. Submissions can be made at any time during the ongoing call for applications. Evaluations take place every two weeks. The focus is on small research projects, feasibility studies and field studies with a strong reference to data relating to the topics of the BMDV and its executive agencies.

Wherever possible, the BMDV wants to support funding recipients in developing their ideas for the data-based mobility of the future right from the outset. Funding line 1 helps them take the initial steps in their R&D projects. Projects that were successfully completed in funding line 1 can be an excellent foundation for follow-up applications for bigger research projects in funding line 2. Usually, it takes about six months from submitting the project outline to starting the project.

Current call for applications for funding line 1

Within the scope of the third call for applications for funding line 1, we are looking to fund new projects with a maximum of 200,000 euros for a period of up to 18 months.

We will select small R&D projects, feasibility studies and preliminary studies with a strong reference to data relating to the topics of the BMDV and its executive agencies in three categories. As of 1 January 2024, one of the funding categories is dedicated to the new mFUND 2024 annual topic as part of the extended call for applications.

Category A: Open to all topics

Category B: Projects supporting structural change in one of the coal mining regions (under the Act on Investment Measures for Coal Mining Regions, InvKG),

Category C: In the context of the mFUND 2024 annual topic: Open data for new business models in the mobility sector

Funding line 2

Funding line 2 of the mFUND provides resources for projects running up to 36 months. Funding is limited to a maximum of 3 million euros. A new call for applications for funding will be published in 2024.

With the Act on Investment Measures for Coal Mining Regions (Investitionsgesetz Kohleregionen, InvKG), the Federal Government has provided additional funds to promote structural change. You can apply for funding according to the calls for applications and submission deadlines of the programme module. Funding line 1 can also be used for mFUND projects in lignite mining regions.

Current call for applications for funding line 2

For the twelfth time, mFUND is looking for data-based project proposals and ideas for research and development projects for the mobility of the future in our mFUND funding line 2. We are looking for collaborative and individual projects with a maximum funding of three million euros on various topics and submission categories:

Category A: mFUND further developments from funding line 1; of the 9th funding call, Category B as well as project ideas from participants in the "5th BMDV DataRun"

Category B: Cross-modal applications, business models with cross-platform data utilisation, transport relationships in long-distance freight transport, digital twins of large-scale systems

Category C: Data innovations and open data for smart mobility in Europe, e.g. on issues of cross-border data provision and harmonisation

Category D: Other topics on data innovations for the mobility of the future (open-topic)

Projects relating to the "mFUND programme module lignite mining areas" can be submitted in all categories, depending on the funds available. All projects must clearly demonstrate that they contribute directly to supporting structural change in one of the coal regions. The funds for "Saxony, Central German coalfield" have already been fully committed with promising projects. A separate call will not be published in 2024.

The mFUND annual theme 2024 "Open data for new business models in mobility" is intended in particular to initiate projects that create the basis for the development of new business models in the mobility sector with their innovative solutions. In categories A and D, priority will therefore be given to data-based projects that make a demonstrable direct or indirect contribution to the mFUND annual theme. However, the call for funding is generally open to all topic proposals along the range of topics covered by the mFUND funding guideline. The submission deadline is 31 May 2024.

Funding is subject to the availability of budget funds. You can download the 12th funding call here (German language only).

Find out everything about the current 12th funding call in mFUND funding line 2 at the online information events on 12 and 18 April 2024, both at 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
We look forward to hearing your ideas!

Applicants do not need consultants or third-party companies to apply for funding. To assist applicants seeking advice in the application process, the Ministry has set up an expert mFUND helpline (see contact).

Funding rate

The regular funding rates for applications from the commercial sector are between 40 and 80%. Decisive factors, besides project expertise, may be a status as start-up or SME and/or a wide dissemination of findings (e.g. open source/open data or publications in studies/presentations).

Funding rates may be increased for applicants from the non-commercial sector (e.g. registered associations, institutes, higher education institutions, public authorities and NGOs).

Note for young businesses and founders

If you are in the process of setting up your business idea and are considering submitting a project proposal, please contact the project sponsor TÜV Rheinland Consulting/VDI VDE Innovation +Technik GmbH. They will assist you with any funding-related questions you may have.

Note for university and non-university research institutions

In mFUND, the ‘General Auxiliary Conditions for Grants for the Promotion of Projects’ (ANBest-P) and the ‘General Auxiliary Conditions for Grants for the Promotion of Projects on a Cost Basis’ (ANBest-P-Kosten) and the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) apply. Any deviating regulations of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for individual funding recipients do not apply in mFUND. Please bear this in mind before applying and contact the project sponsor TÜV Rheinland Consulting/VDI VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH if you have any questions. Please also note that mFUND supports start-ups, SMEs, public authorities and municipalities, among others, in tapping into, refining and opening data. Considering these stakeholders as fully-fledged project partners in your collaborative project outlines will be viewed positively.
Examination and evaluation

All funding applications are reviewed as part of a two-stage competitive evaluation procedure. During the first stage (technical assessment), the preliminary project outlines are evaluated regarding substance. During the second stage (formal examination), the applicants of all projects that were positively assessed during stage one will be requested to submit a formal funding application. Funding will be approved by the project sponsor TÜV Rheinland Consulting/VDI VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.

The article 5 steps towards the funding of your ideas on the mobility of the future gives you a step-by-step overview of the mFUND application procedure.

1. Draw up a project outline (project definition, any partners, financial planning)
Provide a brief outline of your research project on a maximum of fifteen pages (minimum font size 10 pt, 1.5 line spacing). To do so, please use the mandatory template. Please submit the documents using the Federal Government’s electronic application and tendering system (easy-Online) (available in German only). Use your project outline to clearly show the innovative character of your project and the resulting added value for society or the entrepreneurial exploitability of the results. Finally, integrate your funding schedule into the project outline. You do not need to submit any paper documents in the project outline procedure.
Consider whether a partner could enrich your project regarding substance or methodology. We are happy to support you in your search for project partners. Your project outline should be self-explanatory to ensure that it can be evaluated without further research.

2. Submit the project outline – easily and quickly
• Register using the Federal Government’s electronic application and tendering system "easy-Online" (available in German only).
• Follow the steps described to submit your project outline.
• You will be sent an electronic confirmation after the Ministry has received all your data and documents.
• If there is a positive appraisal of the project from a technical perspective, you will be requested by email to submit a formal funding application.

3. Submit a funding application (detailed financial planning, self-declarations)
In the case of a favourable initial technical assessment, you will be requested to provide more detailed information regarding the planned project. This includes a final funding schedule that will be binding if your project is approved. It must not differ by more than 10 percent from the rough plan submitted with the project outline.
For the final review of the project, you have to submit some self-declarations, proving for example that the project has not started yet or that, for collaborative partnerships, an agreement between the partners has been signed.

4. Prepare your documents for a credit risk assessment
(does not normally apply to higher education institutions, local/regional authorities and other public authorities)
For the initial funding, a comprehensive credit risk assessment is usually necessary to determine the private and financial reliability of the funding beneficiary. Please prepare the following documents for this assessment, if available:
• Annual account
• Annual report
• Extract from the commercial register
A note for start-up entrepreneurs: If your business idea is still at the start-up stage, this is explicitly welcomed by mFUND. Please contact the mFUND team at the BMDV so that we can assist you with any funding-related questions you may have.

5. Submit your funding application
As with the project outline, you can easily and quickly submit the formal funding application including all necessary documents via the Federal Government’s electronic application and tendering system "easy-Online".
We will inform you about the selection result as soon as possible.
Good luck!

The workshop series "Driven by data" is motivated by the opportunities data can provide to innovative mobility systems in Europe. Data use can be applied in all parts and stages of the system, ranging from more user-centric, environment-friendly and inclusive mobility planning to more efficient use of resources and increased resilience systems. In this series, speakers from all around Europe - from both mFUND and Horizon research projects - will give an overview of their projects activities, ideas and challenges, serving as inspiration for discussions with participants. The intention is to keep it simple and straightforward, further providing a platform to knowledge exchange and the creation of new partnerships between European stakeholders.

Topics and registration

With the Mobilithek, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) provides a platform that offers access to open mobility data and enables the B2B exchange of data offers. A central point of access to all data that gets you moving.

The mFUND project executing organisation team at TÜV Rheinland Consulting GmbH / VDI VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the preparation and submission of project ideas. You can reach them via our contact form.