“PIUS-Innovativ“ – Funding of resource-efficient production in Hessen

The German region of Hessen is one of Europe’s leading high-tech regions and a key location for environmental technologies. It is home to a range of – predominantly small and medium-sized (SME) – companies which are running resource-efficient production sites and which are beginning to implement circular economy approaches.  

In 2016 the State of Hessen, represented by its Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Housing, has teamed up as an associated partner in the SUPER project.  

Based on the lessons learnt from the cooperation, the ministry implemented a refined policy instrument: the research and development programme “PIUS-Innovativ“.

PIUS-Innovativ‘s aim is to subsidize R&D projects which help to reduce material and energy consumption and thus CO2 emissions. Projects can either target at developing existing products, processes and services further or at realizing basic research (e.g. in the fields of recycling, energy production or energy storage). Sponsorship takes the form of a grant which can amount to up to 50 per cent of the eligible investment project costs (staff, instruments and equipment, patents and commissioned research), to a maximum of 750,000 euros.  

As response to a successful advertising campaign under the slogan “Gute Ideen raus aus der Schublade” (“Pull good ideas out of your hat”) on websites, social media, newsletter and press and with direct-marketing through promotion on events, phone calls to business partners and company visits, Hessen Agentur (Hessen Agency, HA) received 125 inquiries by interested companies.  

The funding program was promoted at different events such as the annual conference of B.A.U.M e.V. (German Association for Environmentally Conscious Management e.V.) and the Deutsche Phosphor Plattform Jahrestagung 2018 (German Phosphorus Platform annual conference) where SMEs with potential interest for PIUS-Innovativ were present. To increase attention the booth at the events was designed with regard to the campaign of PIUS-Innovativ. 

Furthermore, content for social media platforms (facebook, Instagram, twitter) was created and respective press releases were provided in order to approach SMEs by different communication strategies.  

 To illustrate the service orientation character of the funding programme, PIUS-Innovativ was put under the principle of “cooperative sponsorship”, i.e. companies, which applied for the programme, were navigated and supported throughout the entire funding process.

After detailed conceptual consultations by Hessen Agentur, more than 20 project outlines were submitted and evaluated by a committee consisting of Hessen Agentur, Ministry of Economics, WIBank and Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Those companies whose proposals received a positive review were asked to submit a comprehensive project description.

 PIUS-Innovativ – overview of the application procedure.

 15 detailed project outlines were received by May 2019 and eleven projects were recommended for funding. Until today, five projects were approved and funded with a total volume of 2 million Euro. The outstanding six projects with a volume of 2.6 million Euro are still in the application process.

By the end of 2019 the PIUS Innovativ programme was reintroduced due to additional funding that was provided based on the successful first call.

 The Ministry of Economics appreciates a lot being part of the SUPER project, to gain important insights through the cooperation and in this way to further support and improve the resource-efficient production in the State of Hessen.

Video clip about presenting PIUS-Innovativ at German Environmental Management Association, B.A.U.M. e.V. annual conference in Darmstadt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQzvdSi_ovc