Joachim Herz Transfer Centers

How can the transfer of basic research be increased in order to accelerate knowledge- and technology-based innovation? With our Joachim Herz Transfer Centers, we show how research at universities can be systemically transferred to application and society through appropriate structures.

Background and vision

In an international comparison, Germany is not yet sufficiently successful in putting scientific findings into practice and making them commercially viable. The "Valley of Death" in the innovation chain is particularly dramatic when it comes to transferring promising findings to actual commercialization: German universities, most of which are public institutions, reach their limits due to budgetary and collective bargaining constraints. The sensitive transition in the innovation chain requires specific methods and tools that are compatible with the structures of commercial exploitation of innovations, but often do not correspond to the public-law conditions. The potential for usable knowledge is enormous, as is the need for funding in transfer-oriented research.

"The time of pure research in science is over, yet Germany lags far behind in the utilization of research results. In view of the pressing challenges of our time, we can no longer afford this gap in the system. Foundations can act as a bridge here, as they operate outside the limitations of state funding and can act flexibly. In the best-case scenario, our new format will establish successful pioneers for the institutional funding of transfer and innovation at German universities, which the Joachim Herz Foundation has helped to develop and establish."

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, Chairwoman of the Executive Board

The Joachim Herz Transfer Centers are central components of the Foundation's new strategic orientation. The structural funding format aims to overcome systemic barriers in the transfer process while creating efficient structures at universities to accelerate knowledge- and technology-based innovation. The centers are intended to offer excellent top researchers an ideal environment to realize their projects, make the results usable and promote the entrepreneurial spirit in science. This independence enables them to act more flexibly and react more quickly - without bureaucratic hurdles.

Joachim Herz Transfer Center

"Innovative Materials for Sustainable Technologies"

The major challenges of our time, such as climate change and resource scarcity, can only be overcome if research, industry and society work together. The further development of new materials plays a decisive role in the successful realization of environmentally friendly technologies.

Against this background, we are supporting the establishment of the interdisciplinary Joachim Herz Transfer Center "Innovative Materials for Sustainable Technologies" in order to demonstrate how systemic structures can be established and consolidated in a particularly relevant and future-oriented field.

Mission of the transfer center

The first transfer center has the central task of creating tailor-made structures to make research results more efficiently usable in a technological and economic context: This can be done, for example, through licensing, the transfer of technologies or through spin-offs. The aim is to develop and implement pioneering materials for a wide range of applications that reduce the ecological footprint, promote renewable energies and support a circular economy.

The center aims to promote the entrepreneurial spirit in science and offer top researchers an ideal environment to realize their transfer-relevant research projects and make the results usable. Researchers are offered competitive market conditions without restricting scientific freedom.

Who is the funding aimed at?

The funding offer is aimed at German universities with a proven track record of scientific excellence in the aforementioned thematic focus. The focus is particularly on research-intensive institutions that have anchored transfer and innovation as an integral part of their university strategy.


Amount of funding

We support the center with funding of up to 3 million euros per year for the establishment and structural anchoring of transfer activities. Personnel and material costs for research projects and administration as well as costs for renting infrastructure are eligible for funding.

Duration of funding

The maximum funding period is ten years and is divided into two funding periods (1st funding period seven years, 2nd funding period three years). A positive interim evaluation of the first funding period is a prerequisite for follow-up funding.


In order to establish an effective structure for the best possible cooperation between the transfer center, industry and the university sector, the first Joachim Herz Transfer Center will be affiliated to the cooperating university as a legally independent affiliated institute in the legal form of a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH). During the funding phase, the Joachim Herz Foundation is the main shareholder - in the future, the foundation will transfer its shares completely to the university.

Structural framework conditions at the university

The university creates the basis for the employment of researchers and non-scientific staff. Monetary incentive systems can be used that correspond to the market conditions of commercial companies. The necessary infrastructure of the transfer center is primarily rented by the university at standard market conditions. This structural framework enables the necessary close connection to the university for an intensive exchange of research results and allows the use of the university's resources. At the same time, the structure maintains flexibility and independence, favors synergies with industry and thus creates optimal conditions for successful transfer projects.


Selection procedure

An independent jury of experts will carry out the technical assessment of the written documents in both phases. We reserve the right to invite selected applicants to present to the jury.

The final decision - based on the feedback from the experts - lies with the Joachim Herz Foundation.


  • February 2024: Evaluation phase 1
  • March 15 - April 30, 2024: Full application and submission of concept paper
  • June 2024: Funding announcement
  • 2nd half of 2024: Drafting of cooperation agreement
  • 2nd half of 2024: Foundation of gGmbH transfer center and recognition as affiliated institute

Contact us

Dr. Dorothea Pieper
Project Manager Dr. Dorothea Pieper +49 40 533295-672
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