Excellence Strategy

Innovation Grants in the Sciences / Life Sciences

Innovation Grants in the Sciences and Life Sciences make it possible to test the feasibility of translating research findings into applications (proof of concept).
Junior researchers (postdocs, straight after completing their PhDs) are to be given the opportunity to translate the knowledge gained in their doctoral thesis into usable processes, services or products. Eligible projects must hold out the prospect that the results will be commercially exploited in the course of the funding. Cooperation with commercial institutions are welcomed as a possible exploitation option, especially since these can open up alternative carreer paths. However, a serious interest of the company in the proposed project should be documented here (e.g. Letter of Intent - LOI, ongoing cooperation negotiation, cooperation agreement).

Projects that aim to conduct a clinical trial cannot be funded within the scope of this program.

We explicitly point out that the focus of this funding program is on the economic exploitability and the scientific prospects of success are not primarily in focus.

Scope of Funding

Innovation Grants are approved for a maximum of 24 month. After this period, the project must be completed or applied externally. Funding is provided both for the applicant´s position and for a staff position or student assistants as well as material and investment funds.


Applications may be submitted not earlier than 6 month before or no later than 3 years after completion of the doctoral degree. The project must be started within 6 months after approval; otherwise the funding expires. As this is a postdoctoral funding program, funding can only begin after the doctoral procedure has been officially completed with the receipt of the certificate. Doctoral candidates and postdocs who are members or affiliates of the university (see §§7 and 8 of the Grundordnung; https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/443 ) are eligible to apply, given that they are also based at the university.

The application must be supported by a professor in terms of content advice, accommodation and infrastructure.

The Innovation Grants are a personal and not a project-related funding program, i.e. the funded person leaves the University of Tübingen, the funding expires.


Your Application Must Include:

In 6 pages:

  • Cover page with title, name and institute, contact details
  • Detailed description of the project to turn research results into a commercial exploitation (process, service, prototype, product). Possible external partners must be named and their expression of interest in the project must be documented (Annex)
  • Objective of funding: long-term cooperation between companies, licence/patenting, company foundation, etc.  
  • Schedule for the implementation of the project, including milestones and financial planning
  • Indication of follow-up financing, if required (e.g. external funding programs)


  • Abstract: Project summary, action plan, market relevance, the project’s innovation potential (for publication – max. 1 page Arial 11, single-spaced), two versions: German and English
  • Resume and list of publications and applicant’s perspective for the future
  • Written confirmation from supervising professor of his/her support and confirmation that he/she will ensure the project has the necessary venue and infrastructure during the funding period
  • Assurance that in case of premature termination of the project, any non-scientific personnel hired will be taken over by the working group for the duration of the contract
  • One positive assessments from representatives of your discipline
  • One letter of support from external cooperation partners - documented serious interest in the project (e.g. Letter of Intent, ongoing collaboration negotiation, collaboration agreement)
  • Form “Declaration and fact sheet” (https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/70536) filled out and signed by the Dean´s office and the Institute Director

If a commercial spin-off project is planned, a business plan of about 5 pages is required, which also belongs to the attachment. Notes for the successful development of a business plan can be found here: https://www.existenzgruender.de or downloaded from the BIOPRO https://www.bio-pro.de/de/angebot/publikationen/. Furthermore, the Industry Liaison Office of the University of Tübingen offers consultation previous to applications: http://www.wirtschaftskoordination.de/home-en It is strongly recommended to make use of this consulting offer in advance. All applications are subject to a formal eligibility check by the Industry Liaison Office upon receipt. If the transfer aspect ist not sufficiently considered in the application, it will not be submitted for review.

Selection Process

Applications will be appraised and approved by external academic referees with input from industry consultants. The Grants will be awarded in a competitive process to ensure that the projects have innovative potential and a good chance of success. The award is made by the rectorate. Please refrain from proposing reviewers for your project. Successful applications will demonstrate:

  • Clear innovative content and economic viability,
  • Entrepreneurial ability and feasibility,
  • Prospects for the realization and sustainability of the project,
  • Academic / scientific quality: relevance, originality and timeliness of the fundamental work 

Application Process

  • Applications can be submitted twice a year
  • The electronic application tool will be activated on February 1st, and August 1st
  • Deadline: February 28th and August 31st

Please respect the deadlines: All required letters and forms with the original signatures should be available by the relevant date and, in addition to uploading in the application databese, should be submitted in hardcopy form.

Submit Your Application to:

Applications are to be uploaded into the electronic application tool. In addition, one copy is to be submitted on paper to: Dr. Nora von Ameln, Zentrale Verwaltung, Dez. II, Rümelinstr. 32.

wirtschaftskoordinationspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

07071 / 29-76812

Any queries about applications can be addressed to the Industry Liaison Office (Wirtschaftskoordination).

Currently funded projects

Here you will find a brief introduction to the currently funded projects: