CZS Breakthroughs: Resource efficiency – Fair raw materials for new technologies

The current call for application focuses on research into the substitution or reduction of problematic raw materials.

Detailed information:

Focus topic: Resource efficiency
Programme: CZS Breakthroughs
Target group: Professors
Funding budget: 5.000.000 €
Letter of intent deadline: 06.10.2023
Full proposal deadline: 17.11.2023


The ‘CZS Breakthroughs’ funding programme facilitates the realisation of innovative concepts that are expected to produce internationally competitive research results. The current call for application focuses on research into the substitution or reduction of problematic raw materials. The call addresses the entire spectrum from basic to application-oriented research. 

The move away from fossil fuels is creating an increasing demand for mineral raw materials, e.g. for photovoltaic systems or new types of battery elements. The increasing penetration of computer technology in all areas of life is having a reinforcing effect. Many of the materials used for this are rare earths and so-called conflict minerals (e.g. tin, tungsten). The extraction of these materials and their limited availability brings with it a number of difficulties, such as environmental damage, human rights violations and logistical challenges.

Projects are sought that explore approaches to reduce, recycle or more efficiently extract these materials, or even replace them altogether. In order for the resulting knowledge to be useful for the economy and society, project proposals should be interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary and involve actors from the field.

Who is eligible to apply?

In principle, the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung’s funding activity is restricted to the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. The following universities are entitled to submit applications as part of this call for proposals (the number of applications that can be submitted is shown in brackets):

  • Baden-Württemberg: Freiburg (1), Heidelberg (1), KIT (1), Konstanz (1), Stuttgart (1)
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: RPTU (2), Koblenz (1), Mainz (2)
  • Thuringia: Ilmenau (2), Jena (2), Weimar (1)


The funding period is up to six years. The earliest possible project start date is 1 June 2024 and the project must start no later than 1 October 2024.


We offer Q&A rounds via Zoom on the following dates:
(Meeting ID and identification code can be found in the announcement)

Administration Point

Matthias Stolzenburg

Program Manager, Legal Affairs

Phone: +49 (0)711 - 162213 - 13