The Helmholtz Validation Fund (HVF) is financed using funds from the President’s Initiative and Networking Fund. Its mission is to bridge the gap between scientific findings and their commercial applications as well as between public research and private investment. In creating the Validation Fund, the Helmholtz Association intends to minimize gaps in financing and ease the transition from idea to application. The HVF is deliberately kept open to all topics. The projects range from prototypes all the way to (pre)clinical studies.
Funding from the HVF is between 250,000 Euro and 1 million Euro per year. Since the Helmholtz centers or cooperation partners from industry contribute 25, 50 or 75% of the funding, the project volume is higher. In total, the HVF has a budget of about 30 million euros for the years 2016 to 2020, which will be paid out to the respective Helmholtz Centre in milestone-dependent tranches. In addition to direct project-related personnel and material costs, costs for contracts with third parties in particular can be financed. The funding is granted as fixed amount financing and is conditionally repayable. Repayment is limited to the amount of the funding from the Helmholtz Validation Fund. There is no disadvantage for inventors, start-ups or investors as a result of the repayment option.
Management of the projects
The selected validation projects are supported not only financially but also by management skills. Business experts and project managers contribute their experience and competence as project sponsors. This applies, for example, to the achievement of the validation project milestones. The fulfillment of the milestones is a prerequisite for the funding release, which takes place in corresponding tranches of 3 to 6 months. If a milestone is not reached, the grant may be terminated immediately according to the "kill early" principle.