Funding guidelines

Model for the promoting activities of the German Federal Environmental Foundation is sustainable development.

New funding guidelines take effect in 2016

On November 25th, 2015 the DBU Advisory Board unanimously approved new funding guidelines for the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, DBU), which will go into effect as of Jan. 1st, 2016.

Fields of promotion

On the basis of the foundation’s goals and mission statement, the DBU supports and nurtures innovative, exemplary and solution-oriented model projects for the protection of the environment. It pursues these goals under the rubric of sustainable development in its ecological, economic, social and cultural aspects, with special consideration of small- and medium-sized businesses in their dynamic diversity. In this sense, environmental protection can also be understood as health protection.

The DBU’s support offerings are thus oriented towards interdisciplinary funding topics, which are constantly being adapted to the changing requirements of environmental protection. This also opens up the possibility, by supporting a wide range of research areas, of taking up the innovative ideas of project partners, and encouraging innovative environmental protection initiatives with special significance, which lie in areas outside the narrowly-defined support subjects.

Complex environmental problems can only be brought under control through approaches which integrate interdisciplinary and systemic action with a practical social basis. DBU support programs are intended to set accents, and thus consistently integrate in their spectrum of support areas the statutory fields of endeavor. The DBU sees the crucial challenges above all in the areas of climate change, biodiversity loss, unsustainable consumption of resources, and harmful emissions. The support areas thereby address both current scientific findings on planetary limits, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The research, development and use of new environmentally-friendly technologies and products compatible with precautionary environmental protection, the preservation and restoral of the nation’s natural heritage, and the encouragement of environmental consciousness and related behavior in the population through information and environmental education measures, receive equal consideration and balanced treatment in the support areas. As an important “cross-cutting” issue, digitalization also has a presence.

The DBU provides support in the following 13 funding topics:

  • 1. Instruments and competencies of sustainability assessment, and reinforcement of sustainability consciousness and practice
  • 2. Sustainable nutrition and sustainable management of foods
  • 3. Development, design and acceptance of environmentally-friendly movable consumer goods
  • 4. Renewable energies – accelerating a revolution in decentralized heating, optimizing existing facilities and reducing negative environmental impacts
  • 5. Climate- and resource-saving construction
  • 6. Energy- and resource-saving neighborhood development and renewal.
  • 7. Reduction of CO2 emissions in energy-intensive industries
  • 8. Resource efficiency through innovative materials technology
  • 9. Flow management and efficient use of phosphorus and environmentally critical metals
  • 10. Reduction of nitrogen use in agriculture
  • 11. Integrated concepts and measures for the protection and management of groundwater and surface waters
  • 12. Nature protection and sustainable use of nature in human-modified environments and protected areas
  • 13. Preservation and securing of valuable national cultural assets against harmful environmental influences.

Beyond these areas there is the DBU’s “open topic” support. In this area, any projects with important environmentally-related impacts are supported which are consistent with the statutory goals of the DBU.


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