GO-Bio initial

Through its “GO-Bio initial” funding programme, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to identify and develop early research ideas in life sciences that have a clear potential for innovation.

Scientist writes a formula on a glass wall

Through its “GO-Bio initial” funding programme, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) aims to identify and develop early research ideas in life sciences that have a clear potential for innovation.

Its purpose is to support project work in order to advance research outcomes to a level where they become eligible for other more established programmes which support validation activities, new business founding and cooperation between businesses, such as the “VIP+”, “EXIST-Forschungstransfer”, “KMU-innovativ” or “GO-Bio” programmes. The overall goal is thus to translate promising innovative ideas directly into practical solutions.

GO-Bio initial: Opening the door to business

Most programmes to fund research and development require a great deal of preparatory work and a high degree of specificity at the very start of a project, which is typically not attained at the early stages of an innovation process. At the beginning, there is often only no more than a general idea about the product or service to be created.

Therefore, the funding under the GO-Bio initial programme kicks in at a very raw and early stage of ideas for exploitation, when there is not even necessarily a patented technology to put them into practice. Likewise, the path for exploitation is not required to be final at the start of the funding process, because in many cases that path is difficult to foresee with any certainty at an early stage of innovation.

Preparation for transfer into practice

To help prepare researchers for the transfer of their research results into practice, and to develop their entrepreneurial skills, the GO-Bio initial programme also includes supplemental training activities such as, for example, the “GründerGespräche” series.

How to apply for GO-Bio initial funding

Pre-proposals for projects can be submitted once a year, so as to be received by 15 February.

Who is eligible for funding?

Eligible submitters, managers or team members of funded research projects include (but are not limited to) people who are at the point of career choice or at a point of career change, i.e. Master’s degree candidates, doctoral students or postdocs who are considering a career outside traditional science (e.g. at a university spin-off or in the industry) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, experienced professionals looking to change their career and go into something new.

What type of research is eligible for funding?

The GO-Bio initial programme supports research projects that identify and develop ideas for the commercial exploitation of life sciences research, preferably in relation to “therapeutic agents”, “diagnostic reagents”, “platform technologies” and “research tools” from their conceptual design to assessment of feasibility and evaluation of possible options for commercial exploitation.

How is the funding allocated?

The GO-Bio initial funding is provided in two stages.

The first stage is an initial conceptual period during which an idea for potential commercial exploitation and an implementing strategy are to be developed, and the appropriate partners are to be identified, on the basis of first scientific findings. This stage is focused mainly on non-experimental work and funding is provided only to individual projects at universities or research institutes which run for a term of up to 12 months.

This is followed by a feasibility stage during which the development work is taken to the proof-of-principle stage. Funding is provided to individual and collaborative projects which run for a term of up to 24 months. Businesses may be involved in feasibility projects as associated partners.

Add-on module

Funding is not only available under the core module of the GO-Bio initial programme for conceptual and feasibility projects, but also under an add-on module for structural projects of an experimental nature which are conducted at legally independent technology transfer institutions dedicated to the development, testing and evaluation of new approaches to identifying, selecting and sharpening particularly early-stage ideas for commercial exploitation in the life sciences sector, and to establishing appropriate methods to push such ideas forward and adapt them during the conceptual stage to fit a demand. The funding is provided for an initial period of up to four years and may be extended by up to three years if the project develops successfully.