The key characteristic of IGF is collaboration between companies in pre-competitive research: the projects' research results are available to all involved companies and actors. They cannot lead to unilateral competitive advantages for individual companies. In consultation with companies, research associations suggest joint projects that are subject to assessment competition. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supports IGF and its projects with public funds. The funding schemes CORNET (European, whole-sector research projects) and PLUS (formerly known as CLUSTER, several associated research projects, from basic research to market implementation) add to the research options for IGF.
As a founding member of AIF, VDZ has been part of the AIF research network since 1954. Together with its member companies, VDZ develops project suggestions and ideas for new research projects at the Research Institute of the Cement Industry. Including current projects, around 130 research projects have been funded and carried out by AIF and the BMWi at the Research Institute of the Cement Industry over the last 25 years.