Validation is one of the most critical phases in technology transfer. In this step, new technologies are pushed forward into applicable products and services. This involves identifying the most promising fields of application and developing working demonstrators, expediting production outside of the laboratory, and conducting (pre)clinical studies.
Projects that bridge the gap between research results and their marketable applications have been assisted by the Helmholtz Validation Fund (HVF) since 2011. Around three to six projects are selected each year, totaling 34 selected projects from 2011 to 2017 and up to €2 million in funding.
Four additional projects have been added in 2018 through the joint Proof of Concept Initiative (PoC) with Fraunhofer and Deutsche Hochschulmedizin. These projects use synergy potentials in validation in the life science sector and will be conducted up to early clinical proof of concept.
Funding grants awarded by the HVF generally total between €250,000 and €1 million per year – sometimes falling below the lower limit in justified cases. The volume of projects is higher, however, because the Helmholtz Centers and industry partners contribute 25%, 50% or 75% of the project funds. The grants are paid out to the corresponding Helmholtz Center in installments based on milestones being reached. In addition to financing direct project-related personnel and material costs, costs to contract third parties may also be financed. The funding is granted as fixed amount financing and is repayable under certain conditions. Repayment is limited to the amount granted by the Helmholtz Validation Fund.
More information and application deadlines can be found on the program page.
Clinical proof of concept for an innovative treatment or diagnostic procedure is generally a necessary prerequisite for projects to be successfully passed on to companies where they can then be further developed to market readiness. This is why the PoC Initiative – jointly funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, and Deutsche Hochschulmedizin – focuses on promising projects in late preclinical phases that could be brought to early clinical proof of concept at a foreseeable expense.
The PoC Initiative was designed to prepare cross-organizational cooperation aimed at pooling existing skills and infrastructures to develop drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices in a collective platform open to all scientific institutions. The platform is intended to build a more efficient bridge between academic research and further development in industry.
At the beginning of 2018, four consortia were selected from 82 drafts to receive funding of up to three million euros from Helmholtz and Fraunhofer over the next three years.
More information can be found on the program page.