Twenty20 – The programme

East Germany has outstanding economic and scientific competences. The "Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation" (German: Zwanzig20 – Partnerschaft für Innovation) programme develops this for the future through systematic national and interdisciplinary collaboration.


With “Twenty20 – Partnership for Innovation”, the BMBF has added a new approach to the Unternehmen Region’s funding programme, which targets international, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary partner collaboration and stands for openness and transparency.
The programme – which has an allocation of up to EUR 500 million – should systematically develop the outstanding economic and scientific competences established in East Germany for the future through national and interdisciplinary collaboration. In this context, it is necessary to push the boundaries in thinking, as well as boundaries in technologies, scientific disciplines, industries, markets and organisational cultures. The aim is to identify future topics with high social and economic relevance and develop concrete, economically-sustainable solutions for them.

A new kind of alliance

"Twenty20" requires the project consortium to strategically network with one or more partners from West Germany across all East German states, and furthermore, to position themselves at an international level. To this end, the funded consortium have initiated new, open and reflexive network management processes and accelerated the set-up of new innovation structures.

In some cases, significantly more than 100 partners collaborate in the funded consortia. The, at times, highly unusual constellations break through the boundaries of the most varied of disciplines and industries, and result in completely new ideas and solutions.

Strategy and openness

The innovation strategy is particularly important. Following the jury’s funding decision in the middle of 2013, the project consortia spent a whole year developing their strategy. After being assessed by the Ministry and the body of experts appointed by them, the consortia started the second part of their funding phase. Here, the focus is on implementing the measures; however, strategy and measures are continually developed and adapted to changes in the relevant setting. The “Twenty20” consortia are regarded as open and transparent partnerships and are therefore also open to new collaboration partners in the implementation phases.

In addition to ten “Twenty20” project consortia that receive up to EUR 45 million each, the Federal Research Ministry also supports nine “Twenty20” forums, whose strategic development is supported by a maximum of EUR 1 million each up until the end of 2016.