Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie

At the Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie creative minds meet to develop new ideas for products or services from the perspective of markets and demand. The best ideas receive funding of 50,000 Euro during an exploratory phase.

Ideas, Think Tank

Benjamin Stolzenberg

Many spin-offs from scientific institutions are oriented towards research results and technological possibilities. At the same time,  finance doesn’t get enough attention. The BMBF founded the Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie to develop ideas that are directed towards market opportunities. Between 2010 and 2015, the Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie took place six times as part of the “Gründerwoche Deutschland”.

Creativity and entrepreneurial spirit on the road to success

The Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie is looking for people who are motivated to start a business in the life sciences and to develop a business idea. Target group of the event: scientists interested in setting up their own company in the life sciences, economists or lateral thinkers. Their professional background can be as diverse and colourful as the workshops of the Innovationsakademie itself: Researchers from natural and engineering science or medicine are targeted as much as creative minds or experts in communication, business, design, with merchant experience or investors who are looking for pioneering business ideas. It doesn’t matter what your professional background is if you share important virtues like open-mindedness, courage, curiosity and a passion for entrepreneurship. In every round, there will be 50 participants chosen from all applications.

Thinking from the customer’s point of view

In one to two days workshops moderated by a professional participants develop innovative product and service ideas together. First of all, the participants should think from the customer’s perspective: What do we need that hasn’t been developed yet? Is there a problem for which a solution has yet to be found? Small teams develop ideas from the perspective of the market and demand. Each team must present their idea to the other teams several times and from different perspectives – short and sweet.

Graphic recording, Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie 2015 Tag 1, Zeichnung Eli Breuing

Creative atmosphere, unusual practices, innovative ideas and finally, prize money, awaits. Learn more about the Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie in the video clip below.

Eli Breuing /

BMBF funding for the best

Only the best and most promising are chosen from all the ideas compiled. The teams receive initial financing of 50,000 Euros for an exploratory phase. That investment should serve to determine the state of technology, to find project partners with the required scientific and technical know-how, and to define the necessary steps from research and development to the implementation of the idea. The analysis of customer needs, and the market and competition situation are also developed. If the exploratory stage is promising, a second funding phase with up to 250,000 Euros may be granted by the BMBF. In this so-called feasibility phase, the teams must show technological feasibility and develop a business plan.

To date, the BMBF has funded 20 exploratory and 10 feasibility projects chosen by the Innovationsakademie Biotechnologie. This has led to the creation of two companies so far. Following their feasibility project, three other teams were able to successfully apply for start-up funding at GO-Bio. And several participants from theInnovationsakademie Biotechnologie have further advanced their ideas alone or with the help of other funding programmes such as EXIST or the "Neue Produkte für die Bioökonomie" ideas competition - such as Daniel Mark's team that founded Spindiag in 2017.

The funding format of the Innovationsakademie - a short exploratory project with a low entry hurdle and a subsequent feasibility project as well as an upstream creative workshop - became the model for the idea competition "Neue Produkte für die Bioökonomie" and the challenge workshops for the development of new methods and technologies for the life sciences. In addition, the BMBF uses the experience gained with the Innovation Academy to design new experimental event formats.

Projects with exploratory and feasibility phase

  • Hista-Protect – Semiquantitive rapid test to avoid histamine related food intolerance
  • Joint project BioCard – Disposable chips with multiparametric biomarker determination: new opportunities in point-of-care and home diagnostics
  • Aseptic catheter – Innovative medical product based on disinfectant gels and sealings for venous catheters and other accesses in medical sciences
  • FasCiPlex – Economic decomposition of biomass into sugar with synthethical multi enzyme complexes
  • Joint project ColoCure – Increased life expectancy in advanced bowel cancer
  • Individualized tumor vaccines with the help of a viral vector
  • Airchill – Chilled ventilation
  • NanoCapture – Developing a versatile method of diagnosing and treating activated metastases and primary cancerous tumors from an early stage
  • VerticalGreenMoss – Vertical greening based on moss suitable substrates
  • Jawbrick – Creating an in-vitro jaw model by means of bioprinting

Projects with an exploratory phase

  • Perfusion drying: efficiency enhancement for bioenergy and dry organic products
  • A testing platform to identify an efficient substance for hair growth
  • An antibody pipeline for treating herpes virus infections
  • Exploration on realizing a diagnostic test for early sepsis detection
  • An impedance-based assay to assure quality in the production of induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Mobile bio-feedback devices to identify concentration problems and signs of tiredness in safety-relevant areas
  • Biotechnological production and distribution of specific glycosylated polyphenols (flavonoids)
  • SilverFish – the mold detector (mycosis)
  • Re-Connect Nerves
  • PepBiotics – Development of new antibacterial peptides against multi-resistant pathogens
  • Evidence based cultural medicine – A database to bundle old healing knowledge as well as experience reports and surveys regarding their effectiveness