I'm in the middle of writing a funding proposal for a BMBF programme (BMBF = the German federal ministry of education and research). I'm part of a consortium with a company, a local city government, our university, and another university.

We've already submitted a combined proposal, which got accepted, and are now supposed to submit additional individual proposals from each project partner.

This being Germany, we've been asked to submit forms upon forms within forms, and it seems to me that there is a huge amount of redundancy - the individual proposals don't seem to request any information that wasn't already part of the combined proposal.

Since this is my first time writing a proposal for this particular funding programme, I'm now wondering if I can just copy parts from the joint proposal into my individual one? I honestly don't quite understand why the individual proposals are requested at all, except for adding a bit of details in some parts... any insights welcome :-)

2 Answers 2


It is normal procedure that you have to submit again individual proposals as every project partner has a different financial account. The 2nd stage and individual proposals are also necessary as you have to show now exact quotes for materials, investments every project partner needs and why you need it. That's the bureaucratic side.

Also, be aware, you still DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY! It looks like you are in a two-stage process, if there are flaws in the 2nd stage, e.g. conflicting working plans and schedules in the individual proposals, you will not get the money! And the BMBF is asking for this to bypass a bad planning of the project by a single person as they often cannot judge if your approach is the best/cheapiest one. Proposals are often written by very few people also much more work for it finally, and they know this very well. You admitted you have done most of the writing.

BMBF projects are very often no pure research projects with a necessary industry partner and funded to have a possible positive outcome for the socienty when project goals are reached. This is not the case for fundamental research. And the scientific scrutinizing of your approach will be more important than for BMBF where they look also on economic measures/outcome.

That you got no new requests for the 2nd stage is a very good sign and the likelihood for funding is now very high, so be sure every project partner reads in the best case the individual proposal of the other ones, especially when there are common work points/collaboration.

But there should not be overlaps in the individual proposals and copy/paste is also not the best idea. I hope it is clear now why...

  • Thanks, this is very helpful! One more question, though: there are for example sections in both proposal templates such as "Description of the Project Partner" where you're supposed to describe your institution and your previous works. I honestly can't see why I shouldn't use the same text here? Feb 19, 2019 at 9:49
  • P.S. just to clarify, the combined proposal wasn't just written by me, all project partners did indeed contribute and agree on a joint work plan etc. So I don't think we're in danger of submitting completely disjoint individual proposals. Feb 19, 2019 at 10:07
  • Description you can copy as normally written by the project partner and send to coordinating/applying partner, but I would make it more detailed also, as in the 2nd stage you have more space (more recent projects, references...). You can also always call the BMBF advisors for this funding note, just be aware that these advisors are also scrutinizing your proposal, so think before what you want to ask and how. They shouldn't get the impression it's a one-man show. Feb 19, 2019 at 10:18

Ask the Projektträger (preferrably via phone). They will help and tell you the rationale behind the approach (which I don't understand either).

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