• Research makes knowledge grow


Controlling of public grant programmes


The use and effect of public funds in Lower Saxony is currently only evaluated by means of written surveys submitted by the grant recipients. The analysis approach is of a purely quantitative nature and so it displays the typical weaknesses inherent in this method of proceeding. The "Controlling funding" project by way of contrast adopts a qualitative approach.

In an explorative longitudinal study for a selected funded area hypotheses have to be established concerning the various impacts and modes of operation. The basis for this is the grounded theory methodology. The established hypotheses are evaluated quantitatively in step two so as to be able give statistically supported comments, if required, for redesigning the grant programme under examination. The research project has been applied as a pilot project for the cooperation with the NBank.

Starting position

The Nbank, being the central aid bank in the state of Lower Saxony, is currently carrying out more than 30 aid programmes, partly with different objectives. The impact of these programmes is assessed by questionnaires which illustrate a section of the spectrum of activity and are tailored to the particular perspective of the questioner. This quantitative examination approach must be complemented by a more open approach, in order to permit various points of view and in particular to elucidate the mode of operation of individual programmes when they are put into practice in firms. Comprehensive literature research by NBank and FHDW Hannover showed that this qualitative approach to the subject is unique so far in Germany.

Own preliminary work

The applicants have published several contributions to medium-sized enterprises research. External scientists (Dr. Ruth Siebers, Dr. Barbara Heine) have contributed relevant publications on their experiences in qualitative social research. 


  • To establish hypotheses on the impact and modes of operation of individual public grant programmes (particularly grants for counselling)
  • Quantitative evaluation of the hypotheses
  • To express recommendations for a more efficient organisation of programmes
  • To develop a more profound theoretical approach to the business processes in medium-sized companies

The project: Data and Facts


  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Bieler
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Müller-Siebers


  • Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the impact and modes of operation of public grant programmes in a longitudinal study (Controlling public grants)


  • 1. November 2006 until probably 30. June 2008