innovate! Academy

We support scientists on their way from basic research to market maturity. To this end, they receive financial support for their research as well as a comprehensive seminar program. For two years, they become members of the "innovate! Academy" for two years and benefit from learning together and exchanging ideas with other grantees.

Inge Bliestle, ein Jury-Mitglied der "innovate! Akademie", schaut lächelnd in die Kamera. Sie hat verschränkte Arme, trägt eine weiße Bluse, der Hintergrund ist neutral grau.
Dr. Inge Bliestle, former Managing Director of GN Resound, now LifeScience Enthusiast, Advisor, Board Member and jury member at the "innovate! Academy"

"The new Innovation Act calls on universities to view their developments and discoveries in terms of translation, i.e. their applicability for society. The "innovate! Academy" offers scientists assistance in this first, important step and supports them, for example, with financial security and, above all, with a valuable network. I see great potential above all in the new call for proposals, which relates to the research field of new materials: For me, it represents a breakthrough into new worlds in which we create solutions for today's crises, for example in relation to pollution caused by plastic waste.

I'm hoping for a good dose of curiosity and an eagerness to learn from the applicants and, of course, an openness to translation and customer-oriented applications."

innovate! Academy

For new materials in medical technology

Eine Wissenschaftlerin im Labor, die eine VR-Brille trägt und einen DNA-Strang bearbeitet, der vor ihr projiziert wird.

Continuous advances in materials science have revolutionized medical technology by producing innovative materials that have a transformative effect on diagnosis, therapy and implantation.

The importance of new materials in medical technology ranges from improved biocompatible implants to advanced imaging contrast agents and absorbable drug carriers. These materials enable more precise and efficient medical procedures, minimize the risk of rejection reactions and maximize patient tolerance. We offer ambitious and excellent researchers the opportunity to highlight the key role of new materials in medical technology and demonstrate how their scientific innovations can shape the future of medical practice.



What does the innovate! Academy?

As part of the "innovate! Academy", we support excellent scientists who receive the following benefits:

  • Staff position based on TVL-14 for two years,
  • up to 100,000 euros in project funds per project, which are freely available and can be used on the basis of the cost plan submitted,
  • Personnel funds and project funds may not exceed a total of 250,000 euros,
  • up to 5,000 euros for outreach activities, individually selectable seminars on science communication and other aspects of the topic,
  • a top-class seminar program of 8-10 working days within two years. The following topics are covered:
    • Skills around spin-offs, translation and transfer,
    • Theoretical and methodological challenges in the transfer of research results into practice,
    • quality criteria, open data versus patent and trademark protection,
    • outreach, science communication and personal development (e.g. management training, training on stress management and team building, etc.).

The exact design of the seminar program is determined by the participants in order to adapt the offer as well as possible to the respective needs. Individual interests in topics are requested during the application process.

The "innovate! Academies" also serve the purpose of networking, so that those receiving funding can support each other on their path from research to practical application and learn from each other.

You can find all information at a glance in our flyer.

Who is the funding aimed at?

We support:

  • Doctoral candidates at an advanced stage of their doctorate,
  • postdoctoral researchers and junior professors,
  • scientific employees.

Researchers who apply should have an entrepreneurial or strongly application-oriented mindset and communicative talent and be interested in exchanging ideas with researchers from other disciplines and social actors.


The application phase for the "innovate! Academy" for new materials in medical technology has ended.

Selection procedure

The selection takes place in a two-stage process: The written documents are reviewed by a five-member panel of experts consisting of representatives from the specialist disciplines and experts in transfer issues. This is followed by a personal interview with the most promising candidates at the Joachim Herz Foundation. Decisions on admission to the "innovate! Academy" will be communicated to the applicants at the end of July.The program starts in October of each year.

FAQs about the "innovate! Academy"


  • Dr. Inge Bliestle, start-up consultant in the healthcare sector; Healthcare Shapers
  • Thomas Gazlig, technology transfer expert; Berlin Institute of Health at Charité (BIH)
  • Prof. Prof. h.c. Dr.-Ing. Birgit Glasmacher, biomedical engineer; Institute of Multiphase Processes (IMP) / Leibniz Universität Hannover
  • Prof. Dr. Angela Relógio, Professor for Systems Medicine and Biostatistics; MSH Medical School Hamburg
  • Dr. Ruben Rosencrantz, Professor of Biofunctionalized Materials and (Glyco)Biotechnology; Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP)
  • Prof. Dr. Steffen Rupp, Professor of Molecular Biotechnology; Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB)

Contact us

Dr. Philipp Giesemann
Project Manager Dr. Philipp Giesemann +49 40 533295-70

Past invitation to tender

innovate! Academy for application-oriented infection research

People in the photo (from left to right:): Dr. Inge Bliestle (jury member), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst (Chairwoman of the Joachim Herz Foundation), Prof. Dr. Thomas Hesterkamp (jury member) and the grantees Prof. Dr. med. Konrad Aden, Dr. rer. nat. Pietro Scaturro, Juliane Bönecke, Dr. med. Nils Schweingruber, Dr. rer. nat. Theresa Staufer and digital Dr. rer. nat. Christina König

The "innovate! Academy" for applied infection research offers seven scientists the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary, innovative research and to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to put the research results into practical application through accompanying advice and intensive seminars. To this end, they become a member of the "innovate! Academy" for two years and receive funding for the position, start-up funding for the respective project, additional funds for freely selectable consulting services and a comprehensive seminar program.

Current grantees and their research topics:

Prof. Dr. med. Konrad Aden: University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH)
Research topic: "Development of a metabolic biomarker that identifies severe infectious diseases faster and more accurately"

Juliane Bönecke: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM)
Research topic: "DiDEX: Digital data and experimental spaces to strengthen interdisciplinary infection research in Nexus One Health"

Dr. rer. nat. Christina König: University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Research topic: "Development of a web-based dosing tool to control personalized drug therapy for invasive aspergillosis"

Dr. rer. nat. Pietro Scaturro: Leibniz Institute of Virology (LIV)
Research topic: "Development of novel host-targeted antiviral agents for the treatment of flavivirus infections"

Dr. med. Nils Schweingruber: University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Research topic: "Development of an AI tool for ventriculitis prognosis in neurological intensive care patients"

Dr. rer. nat. Theresa Staufer: University of Hamburg (UHH)
Research topic: "Development of a laboratory system for biomedical X-ray fluorescence imaging"



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