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Crash Test for Ideas

Research to Market Challenge Competition: This Year Organized Jointly by Three Major Berlin Universities and Charité – Universitätsmedizin / Application deadline: May 6, 2018

News from Apr 06, 2018

The ideas competition “Research to Market Challenge” is entering a new round. For the first time, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin are holding the competition together. Members of these universities as well as alumni are invited to submit proposals for ideas for start-ups stemming from their research. Sketches of their ideas and first steps for implementation written on at most three pages may be submitted until May 6, 2018. Prize money totaling 9,000 euros will be awarded in the three categories “Digital”; “Social & Cultural”; and “Life Sciences & Technologies.”

In each category ten participants or teams will be selected to develop their ideas further with the support of experts in a day-long workshop on business model development. The revised sketches will be submitted and tested by a panel for their innovative content, feasibility, and customer value. The awards ceremony for three prize winners in each category will take place on July 5, 2018, in the Max Liebermann Haus at Brandenburg Gate. The competition is co-organized and supported by the Ernst Reuter Society, Humboldt-Universitäts-Gesellschaft, Stiftung Charité, and the Berliner Sparkasse.

“The market for ideas from research is society,” stresses Volker Hofmann, managing director of Humboldt-Innovation GmbH. Thus, the Research to Market Challenge competition is not just about technical innovations or patents. He says, “Transfer is a topic for all researchers. Business models are needed that can be put into practice with the help of entrepreneurial methods.” The same thing applies to ideas from research at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. According to Marcus Luther, innovation manager at Charité, “In medicine, implementing research findings in everyday life at hospitals is often vital to survival. Spin-offs often have a bridge function; without them, transfer would often not succeed.”

According to Florian Hoos, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Technische Universität Berlin, many factors are involved in what happens to the submitted projects after the competition. For example, the participants can seek advice in the start-up offices of the four institutions about ways to finance a start-up through subsidies. Among other possibilities, there is a Berliner Startup-Stipendium that is awarded jointly by the universities in Berlin. “Collaboration among the four institutions has proven itself,” says Steffen Terberl, who is responsible for start-up support at Freie Universität Berlin. “The Research to Market Challenge and the Berliner Startup-Stipendium are examples of how cooperating has benefits for all four institutions and their members. We intend to increase this collaboration in the future.”