Call for Proposals: Validation Fund / SPARK-BIH

+++ Please Note: The application period for the call 2020 for translational proposals is closed now. +++

The Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and BIH Innovations – the joint technology transfer office (TTO) of the BIH and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité) – together with SPARK-BIH are pleased to announce their third call for proposals.

The funding program supports the development of novel therapeutics (small molecule, biologic, ATMP), medical devices and diagnostics for unmet medical needs, as well as repurposing of existing drugs for new indications. Projects can come from any medical field.

Exclusively, Scientists and Clinicians from BIH, Charité and MDC are eligible to apply

  • Do you want to validate your research findings with the goal of translating these into therapies, products or services?
  • Do you work on a new technology, therapy or medical solution with clinical potential, but the developmental know-how is lacking?
  • We offer funding and mentoring to de-risk projects with high potential impact, addressing critical unmet medical needs for any indication.
  • Selected projects become part of the SPARK-BIH program. We help you to establish Intellectual Property and to learn what translation is all about.

Program Overview: Budget and Duration

The funding program consists of two different tracks:

Track 1 projects are usually earlier in the development timeline. They will be funded with a budget of up to 50K EUR for one year (see 'Guide for Applicants - Track 1').

Track 2 projects are further along the development timeline and must meet strict requirements regarding intellectual property rights and market access strategies. A substantial data package describing the previous findings of the project is a clear requirement for application. Funding covers projects with a financial need of more than 50K EUR for up to two years. (see 'Guide for Applicants - Track 2').

Project funding is strictly milestone-based. If it is determined at any point that the project goals cannot be met anymore, the funding will be terminated.

  • All applicants who are unsure whether their project is suitable for this funding program are encouraged to contact the Validation Fund/SPARK-BIH team before submitting a proposal to ensure that their project meets the requirements of the call.
  • The BIH seeks to increase the diversity of its funding programs. Women, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, as well as individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply for BIH programs.

Selection Procedure Timeline

  • To apply, please submit your Track 1 /Track 2 proposal before June 18 14:00 CET, 2020 using the BIH application portal.
  • Applicants of selected Track 1 or Track 2 projects will be invited to pitch their proposals on 7 or 8 September 2020 in front of an expert committee.
  • Project start: 2021

More detailed information will be communicated in due time


Prof. Christoph Schwarzer

“In the beginning I considered SPARK just another program among all those university-based supporting initiatives. I hoped for some financial support but not more. However, it turned out to provide something much more valuable than money. SPARK provides multi-level competence, bringing in the right experts at the right time. In our case, this was not only the critical mind of other SPARKees, but also clinicians, advisors and business experienced people, pushing our project to a much higher level. Giving us a special pre-hearing during the Go-Bio application was extremely helpful. The payless support by a team of experts, tailor made to our needs was a so far unique experience for me. Personally, I learned a lot, starting from being a purely academic person, I meanwhile got a sense of how business people think and regulatory boards work. Still there are a lot of things I need to learn to survive in this new environment. I highly appreciate to have SPARK on my side on this journey.“


Prof. Ulrike Stein

“SPARK was most crucial: Because of the entire networking for scientific and regulatory advice to accelerate project translation into clinical application. Financial support to perform in vitro and in vivo experiments to accumulate the essential data sets for approval by authorities to enter clinical phase I/II trial. These data are also crucial to attract sponsors/investors for the post-SPARK phase“


Dr. Felix Lorenz, MDC

“SPARK was the starting point for my whole team to start thinking how we can translate our research results in developing drugs for patients.“


“I was so excited to participate in the SPARK mentoring program, because it provides a completely new perspective on the clinical translation of projects. For scientists it is so important to get insights into the process of translating basic research findings into treatments. These insights provided by the SPARK program definitely shaped my way of thinking about current and future scientific projects.”

PD Dr. Karoline Krause

“SPARK enabled us to translate an initial mechanistic idea into a successful preclinical drug development project."


"SPARK is a great initiative to de-risk innovative projects and to enhance translational research from bench to bedside. SPARK provided us with excellent partners, pushed our project and helped a lot in making decisions and focusing on the next steps.”

Dr. Wolfgang Böhmerle

“With the help of the SPARK program we could refocus our priorities and were able to advance our project from an idea to a finished trial protocol.“


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