CONNECT Education-Research-Innovation

The CONNECT competition initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) promotes the strategic further development of successful existing collaborations with excellent partners across the world.



How can natural resources be protected and used in a sustainable way? How can peace be restored in conflict-ridden countries? And how can we detect and respond to future dangerous disease outbreaks at an early stage? We are most likely to find solutions to these and other pressing questions of our time if researchers around the world join forces and work closely together.

Particular care must be taken when establishing and maintaining cross-border research cooperation. Promising collaborations can only achieve lasting success in generating positive action and finding solutions to global challenges if they are developed and expanded on the basis of viable structures and pursued over the long term.

The BMBF launched the CONNECT competition to support established international cooperation networks in consolidating and expanding their collaborations. This will allow researchers to constantly establish international links on a lasting basis.

The BMBF provides the five winning projects – also referred to as the “CONNECT-Five” – with a total funding volume of five million euros so that they can involve additional partners and address new thematic aspects. This is intended to further intensify cooperation with the respective local partners and raise it to a new level. In this way, CONNECT both strengthens the target regions and raises international awareness of Germany’s excellence in research and innovation.

CONNECT funding is flexible, effective and sustainable

  • Cooperation under CONNECT is flexible because the budget of almost one million euros per project allows the projects to independently carry out networking activities and choose the required tools over a period of three years.

  • Cooperation under CONNECT is effective because the “CONNECT-Five” are able to put strategically important measures tailored to the individual needs of the target regions on a lasting basis. The project partners are well acquainted with their target regions and can draw upon a wealth of experience. They therefore know exactly with whom they need to cooperate in a specific situation and which tools they need to use to generate added value for all stakeholders.

  • CONNECT projects are sustainable because successful research collaborations further intensify their work, developing lasting and stable structures for the benefit of all project participants.

The objectives of the “CONNECT-Five” are innovative and globally relevant

The five winning projects, which were selected from 167 entries, impressed the jury with their innovative, sustainable and globally relevant approaches. The winning projects have received funding since July 2020. The projects not only cover many different countries and regions including Colombia, Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Vietnam but also a wide range of innovative objectives. For example, the most recent project focuses on developing a disease early warning system in Tanzania.