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 within this program.

Maximum Funding

Each Innovation Grant is for a period of two years (maximally) by which time the project must be completed or have secured external funding. Innovation Grants may be used for the applicant's position and additionally for an employee position or student assistant as well as for material and investment resources.


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 The project must begin within 6 months of being approved; otherwise approval will be withdrawn.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 application must be supported by a professor with regard to accommodation and infrastructure. The Innovation Grant is a personal and not a project-related funding program, i.e. the funding of the project expires after the funded person leaves the University of Tübingen.


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 commercially viable product.  Possible external partners must be named and their expression of interest in the project must be documented (Letter of Intent)
  • Objective of funding: long-term cooperation between companies, licence/patenting, company foundation, etc.  Timetable for carrying out the project, including milestones and draft budget
  • Presentation of follow-up financing if required (external funding program)


  • 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.
  • 2 positive assessments from representatives of your discipline or from external cooperation partners (Letter of Intent)
  • 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 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

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 database, should be submitted to us in hardcopy form.

Selection 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. Please refrain from proposing reviewers for your project. Successful applications will demonstrate:

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

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

Submit Your Application to:

Applications are to be uploaded into the electronic application tool (https://www.antraege-zv.uni-tuebingen.de/). 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: