About the Pioneer Fund – Pioneer Fund – Technische Universität Darmstadt

About the Pioneer Fund

TU Darmstadt understands the transfer of research results as a key task beneath research and teaching. However, the transfer of scientific results into application is most times a difficult task. Due to technically and economically high risks in the early stages of the development-, validation- and exploitation-process it is often difficult finding exploitation partners and investors.

The university internal funding program Pioneer Fund was created in cooperation between TU Darmstadt and Entega AG to build a bridge above the death valley of innovation in the pre-competitive field. By this, the Pioneer Fund should contribute increasing TU Darmstadts exploitation and innovation capability.


The funding program is financed equally by TU Darmstadt and ENTEGA NATURpur Institut gGmbH with 300.000 Euro per year, each.


Beginning of 2016: Initial talks between TU Darmstadt and Entega about collaboration and design of a funding instrument for overcoming the Valley of Death.

September 2016: Ceremonial signing of the cooperation agreement for the Pioneer Fund and launch of the funding program.

January 2017: Release of the Pioneer Fund guideline.

March 2017: First committee meeting and start of the selection procedure to decide about the proposals submitted.

July 2017: Funding of the first Projects.

November 2017: Second meeting of the Pioneer Fund Committee.

April 2018: Start of projects of the second funding phase.

June 2018: Third meeting of the Pioneer Fund Committee.

October 2018: Start of projects of the third funding phase.

November 2018: Fourth meeting of the Pioneer Fund Committee.

TU-Vizepräsidentin Mira Mezini, TU-Präsident Hans Jürgen Prömel, die ENTEGA-Vorstandsvorsitzende Dr. Marie-Luise Wolff-Hertwig und der stellvertretende Vorstandsvorsitzende der ENTEGA Stiftung Matthias W. Send (v.li.n.re.). Bild: Claus Völker
TU Vice President Mira Mezini, TU President Hans Jürgen Prömel, ENTEGA CEO Dr. Marie-Luise Wolff and deputy CEO of the ENTEGA Stiftung Matthias W. Send (from left to right). Picture: Claus Völker