Helmholtz Validation Fund
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.
Optional preliminary applications may be submitted until the end of March 2018 and full applications may be submitted by June 25, 2018.
Validation projects from Helmholtz Centers are selected in a two-stage application process. It is not absolutely necessary to submit a preliminary application, but it is recommended. Preliminary applications should be looked at as project drafts that are entitled to a preliminary expert review. Generally, the same independent reviewer assesses both the preliminary applications and the full applications. An additional external reviewer is involved in assessing the full application. The preliminary applications and the full applications can be submitted at any time. However, there are deadlines for the full application based on the board meetings. The board is composed of external experts who meet once or twice a year to select the validation projects. The full application must be submitted 2-3 months before the meetings. One month after submitting the preliminary application, the report with recommendations regarding a full application will be made available to the applicant. You must detail the project planning on the full application form; additionally, you must present tangible milestones and financial planning in the project information document. You also need to attach the written confirmation from the Helmholtz Center that the application is supported and the Center will contribute its share to funding.
The following conditions apply as of January 1st, 2017:
- The cost of a preliminary analysis of projects regarding economic plausibility and relevant markets, FTO, technical feasibility, etc. prior to the full application will be co-financed by the Helmholtz Office independent of whether the full application is accepted, if recommended by the reviewer assigned to the preliminary application. The reviewer's recommendation must be confirmed by two members of the HVF board. Costs of up to €50,000 can be co-financed, the contribution from the Centers will always equal 50% (resulting in a maximum grant of €25,000 from the HVF).
- There are three levels of possible co-financing for the validation projects (25%, 50%, and 75%).
- You must select one of the three levels on your application; regardless of your choice, the board is free to recommend a different co-financing key.
Cost-neutral and funded extension options are still possible, especially the extension option for exploitation activities. Grants based on extension options will be decided on by the two designated board reviewers.
- The fund management supports business development activities specific to projects through the financing of experienced external experts.
Even though applications can be submitted at any time, preliminary applications for the next round should be submitted by the end of March 2018 so that the applicant has enough time to incorporate the reviewer’s recommendations in the full application. The full application must be submitted to the Head Office by June 25, 2018 to guarantee being considered in the selection process for the upcoming board meeting in fall 2018.