Founding Companies With New Technical And Medical Products
23 March 2016
Five teams of young researchers receive EXIST funding for their research-based projects
Five teams of young researchers at Heidelberg University and Heidelberg University Hospital have succeeded in their bids for funding from the EXIST Transfer of Research programme. The goal is to found start-ups for developing new technical and medical products on the basis of research results. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) approved funding for this purpose. Support is awarded to potential start-ups pursuing outstanding albeit expensive and risky development research. Up to four jobs and material costs will be covered per project. Start-up Management of Ruperto Carola, Technology Transfer Heidelberg GmbH of the University Hospital and Heidelberg Startup Partners assisted the teams with the proposal and application process.
Dr. Christoph Garbe of the Heidelberg Collaboratory for Image Processing (HCI) at Heidelberg University will receive funding for a project, which is focused on the development of a production prototype for a light-field-based 3D scanner. This innovative technology, which can be used to model any object in previously unmatched quality, is aimed in particular at opening up the field of three-dimensional media design.
Dr. Denis Pöhler of Heidelberg University's Institute of Environmental Physics plans on commercialising a new type of mobile instrument for measuring nitrogen monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air. Areas of application range from high-end research, environmental observation, vehicle emissions measurement and air quality monitoring to deployment in industry and medicine.
Dr. Rongxi Yang at the Women’s Clinic of Heidelberg University Hospital is the leader of a project, which aims at developing a highly reliable and precise diagnostic test for the detection of breast cancer at very early stage. This will be a cost-efficient and simple screening method that only requires a few drops of blood.
Dr. Oliver Heinze at the Center for Information Technology and Medical Engineering of the Heidelberg University Hospital is developing new secure technologies for citizens to keep control of their health and medical data in terms of access and exchange. In particular chronically ill people will have new possibilities to optimise their health management using apps.
Dr. Achim Wagner of Heidelberg University's Institute of Computer Engineering (ZITI) is working on an assistance system for electric wheelchairs controlled by eye movements. The Eye Controlled Assistance System detects where the user wants to go based on his or her eye movements and directs the wheelchair accordingly. It can also control devices in the surrounding environment.
EXIST Transfer of Research
The EXIST Transfer of Research programme has two phases of funding. In the first phase that lasts up to eighteen months, the results of research that have the potential of becoming the basis of a start-up business are developed further. The objective is to convert research findings into technical products and processes, to develop a business plan based on the business idea and to plan the start-up business. Subsequently a second funding period of another eighteen months for further development work can be applied for. In that phase the focus is on measures to start business operations as well as meeting the prerequisites for external business financing. EXIST Transfer of Research is co-financed by the European Social Fund.
According to Dr. Sigurd Weinreich, Head of the Research Division of Heidelberg University, start-ups born out of research make an important contribution to a society that reaps the benefits of the innovative power of research. Start-up Management of Ruperto Carola supports the start-up process from developing ideas and acquiring funding to implementing promotional activities. The Technology Transfer Heidelberg GmbH supports scientists of the medical faculty from patenting their ideas via founding their company to searching for investors later on. “We are very proud of having passed the highly competitive EXIST selection process with the innovative approaches of our researchers,” says Dr. Jörg Rauch, shareholder and founder of Technology Transfer Heidelberg. Heidelberg Startup Partners Chairman Dr. André Domin explains: “The fact that five projects are being funded by EXIST Transfer of Research also underscores the success of a common strategy within the institutions organised within our ‘Startup Partners’ initiative.”
Heidelberg Startup Partners
Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. is a joint initiative of eight Heidelberg research and academic institutions together with the Heidelberg Technology Park and the Rhine-Neckar Chamber of Commerce. “We support scientific and technological business start-ups, including helping them to explore financing options,” explains Dr. Thomas Prexl, Director of the Startup Support Bureau in the Technology Park. “Public funds such as those from the EXIST Transfer of Research programme are an important part of that support.”