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Funding & Financing

Funding & financing for Scientists

Money makes the world go round. This applies both to research and the startup world.

Plenty of public national and international funding sources are available to provide financial support to help you bring your early-stage or more advanced projects to application.

Which grant program is best suited for your research or start-up project? At what stage should you consider accepting funds from private investors, such as venture capital companies or business angels?

What are the advantages or disadvantages of investments instead of grant funds? Is it possible to combine both? How do you decide when is the right time for a particular grant or investment?

Let's talk money!

If you have an interesting application-oriented project, we would be happy to help you select the right funding program and assist you with the application process.

In collaboration with the experts of the Transfer Department of the University of Cologne, we also assist you in the implementation of the project.

I need third-party funding for my research. Can you help?

No - but our colleagues in Department 75 (Transfer) at the University of Cologne are experts in this field. Please contact them with any questions concerning the acquisition of third-party funding for research projects. 

If you need third-party funding for application-oriented innovation development and transfer projects without specific reference to start-ups, please contact department 75 in division 7 at the University of Cologne. 

Can you help me apply for research grants for my basic research?

Yes - if you want to take your research into application.

Otherwise, please contact Abteilung 75 (Transfer) or department 74 at the University of Cologne for EU- and international funding. 

Which funding is right for me / my team?

The right funding for a start-up depends on many different aspects. For example, the development stage of the project, the preliminary work already carried out, the team constellation, the target market envisaged, the capital required, etc.

We are happy to help you find the right funding and support you with the application process, next to funding programs such as VIP+, Go-Bio, Exist and Start-up Transfer.

Can you connect me with venture capital companies or business angels?

We have a large network of venture capitalists and business angels. You are welcome to contact us.

Key public funding programs - at a glance

Validierungsförderung VIP+ | for Researchers

Link:Validierungsförderung VIP+

Submission deadline: Continuous application possible

Focus: Topic agnostic

Funding: Up to 1,500,000 euros

Duration: Up to 36 months

Go-Bio initial | Researchers (at the start of a project)

Link: Go-Bio initial

Submission deadline: 15.02 of each year, BUT prior consultation with PROvendis necessary (no later than 15.01), so begin timely!


  • Life sciences
  • Therapeutics
  • Diagnostics
  • Medical technology
  • Platform technologies
  • Research tools


Exploratory phase: Personnel, travel, consulting services, patent applications / FtO analysis, material and consumables, up to 100,000 euros.

Feasibility phase: Staff, travel, consulting services, patent applications / FtO analysis, material and consumables, subcontracts, up to 1,000,000 euros.


  • Exploratory phase: Up to 12 months
  • Feasibility phase: Up to 24 months

EXIST-Forschungstransfer | Researchers & Incorporated Startups

Link: EXIST-Forschungstransfer

Submission deadline:

  • 01.01 - 31.01 of every year
  • 01.07 - 31.07 of every year

Focus: Topic agnostic


Phase 1: From 500,00 up to 1,500,000 euros. Personnel expenses / costs for a maximum of four personnel positions as well as material expenses / costs are financed. The material expenses / costs include, for example, commodities, consumables, capital goods, property rights, market research and the awarding of orders and coaching measures. Student assistants can also be funded. The expenses/costs for student assistants and material expenses/costs are generally eligible up to a total of 250,000 euros. Projects of the research institutions of the FhG, HGF, Max Planck Society, Leibniz Association that are jointly funded by the federal and state governments can be funded up to 90%, those of universities and other research institutions up to 100%.

Phase 2: Non-repayable subsidy of up to 180,000 euros, but no more than 75% of the specific costs of the project. As a prerequisite for funding, the company provides its own funds and, if necessary, equity capital in a ratio of 1:3 (up to 60,000 euros).


  • Phase 1: 18 - 36 months
  • Phase 2: 18 months

EXIST-Gründerstipendium | Students & Researchers


Submission deadline: Continuous application possible

Focus: Topic agnostic


Founders with a doctorate degree: 3,000 euros/month

Graduates with a university degree: 2,500 euros/month

Technical employees: 2,000 euros/month

Students: 1,000 euros/month

Child supplement: 150 euros/month per child

Material expenses: up to 10,000 euros for individual start-ups (max. 30,000 euros per team)

Duration: 12 months

Got questions regarding the EXIST-Gründerstipendium? Get in touch with Evelyn Berresheim-Christ oder Dr. Sebastian Sydlik