Excellence Strategy

Innovation Grants for Natural Sciences/Life Sciences

Innovation Grants in the Sciences and Life Sciences make it possible to test the viability of possible applications arising from the results of basic research.
Junior researchers (postdocs, straight after completing their PhDs) are to be given the chance to turn results attained in their PhD studies into usable products. To be eligible for funding, projects must demonstrate a reasonable prospect of becoming commercially viable or of leading to collaboration with non-University institutions. Each Innovation Grant is for a period of two year's maximum by which time the project must be completed or have secured external funding. The application must have the support of a University professor to ensure a necessary venue and infrastructure. Projects aiming at a clinical trial are not eligible for funding under this program.

Maximum Funding

Innovation Grants may be used to finance the applicant’s position, one other position and material expenses. The Grants will be awarded in a competitive process to ensure that the projects have innovative potential and a good chance of success.


Applications may be submitted at the earliest 3 months before the end of the applicant’s PhD studies and no later than two years after completion of the PhD thesis. The project must begin within 6 months of being approved; otherwise approval will be withdrawn. The Innovation Grants are a personal and not a project-related funding programme, i.e. the funding of the project expires after the funded person leaves the University of Tübingen.


Your application should be be a maximum of 6 pages and must include:

  • Cover page with title, name and institute, contact details
  • Detailed description of the project to turn research results into a commercially viable product. (List possible external partners)
  • Evidence of commercial viability if you have it, business plan, potential collaboration partners
  • Presentation of follow-up financing if required (external funding program)
  • Timetable for carrying out the project, including milestones and draft budget


  • 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.
  • 2 positive assessments from representatives of your discipline
  • Please note that the signatures of the Dean and the institute's director are required (Form “Declaration and fact sheet”, to be found in the internal section of the website of the excellence initiative)

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 at IHK Reutlingen or downloaded from the BIOPRO. Furthermore, the Industry Liaison Office of the University of Tübingen offers consultation previous to applications.

Application Process

Applications will be appraised and approved by 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.

Successful applications will demonstrate:

  • Clear innovative content and economic viability and feasibility, business acumen and sustainability
  • Academic/ scientific quality: relevance, originality and timeliness of the fundamental work
  • Academic/ scientific background of the applicant


Call for Applications: Applications can be submitted twice a year (February 28th and August 31st)

The electronic application tool will be activated on February 1st, and August 1st

Funding Begins: after the completion of your PhD thesis and approval by the Research Committee and the Rectorate.
Approval is given on condition that the applicant’s PhD is completed. 

Submit Your Application to:

Applications are to be uploaded into the Electronic Application Tool and in addition, one paper copy is to be submitted to:

Dr. Andrea Schaub

Dez. II.1 Research and Excellence Strategy

Wilhelmstr. 5

72074 Tübingen

Email: zukunftskonzept[at]uni-tuebingen.de

07071-29 72592