Else Kröner Fresenius Stiftung

Submitting an application to the EKFS

Applicants for medical and scientific funding will find more information here, as well as a link to submit their application directly to the Foundation electronically, to kontakt(at)ekfs.de.

The EKFS focusses its funding of individual projects on three lines of funding:

  • outstanding first and second applicants,
  • pioneering key projects of experienced, leading international applicants,
  • and, since 2017, medical projects with a high degree of translational potential, with concepts that directly benefit patients.

In 2016, 41 projects from first applicants and 19 promising key projects were approved. The multiplier effect of these 60 approved individual projects can be put into man-years: based on the medical and scientific funding projects from 2016 alone, the Foundation is funding a total of 190 man-years for young scientists.

Individual project funding - applications possible at any time

Applications opened up to young researchers: The previous call for first applicants shall henceforth also be open to young researchers, who have already procured max. one funding project of their own in a peer-reviewed procedure.

First and second applicants

Key projects 

Funding for young researchers - New call for applications each year

Next call 2018 (further details to follow):

Else Kröner Exzellenz Stipendien

New line of funding: Translational research

The direct application of new research findings to benefit human health and well-being was always a primary objective of the Foundation’s founder, Else Kröner.

There is a wide gap in Germany between successful fundamental medical and scientific research and its real-time, direct application in routine clinical practice for the benefit of patients. This is due, among other things, to the scarcity of funding for gathering the necessary preclinical data and for initial clinical trials. In the case of therapeutics that require a considerable amount of investment to bring them to market, for example, financially sound investors are often only interested in financing further product development with risk capital after the successful completion of clinical phase 1 and 2 trials.

The EKFS’s aim with its translational research funding is to fund and actively support research projects, in order to bring promising developments to the application stage as quickly as possible to help the sick or prevent diseases. The translational research funding line is open to all patient-side applications, regardless of market size.

Funding programme

The translational research funding line is aimed to support innovative projects with high translational potential, for which the respective patient-related application potential is clearly defined and for which the first convincing research findings have already been demonstrated.

The EKFS supports translational research projects by funding of key experiments or studies that are required to validate the medical approach or the product (drug). In addition, projects that are funded from the translational research funding line have the possibility to receive close expert support for project development and technology and knowledge transfer into application.

Applicants can apply for validation and advancement of their project, for example by

  • payment for external research services, such as a toxicity study, large animal model, etc.
  • financing of further validation studies in cohorts for a new clinical diagnostics
  • start-up financing for an initial clinical trial (e.g. “first-in-man” trial)

As most application-oriented projects are at different stages of development and require very different measures to advance them, the projects approved within the scope of the translational research funding line can receive further support via individually tailored support measures, e.g.:

  • financing of consulting service, e.g. from a patent attorney or with regard to regulatory matters 
  • financing of costs to patent promising inventions
  • assumption of the costs for professional advice on technology and knowledge transfer to the relevant technology or innovation by an external advisor recognized by the EKFS
  • assumption of the costs for professional and intensive consulting with regard to project development and/or spin-off coaching for new spin-off projects by an external consultant recognized by the EKFS

The subsequent continued financing of an advanced-stage translational project supported by the EKFS, for example by an industrial partner, is expressly encouraged. One exception is direct or indirect (co-)financing of the development work of a commercial partner, who, for example, owns the property rights to the product to be developed, meaning that the project manager has no FTO (freedom to operate).


The main applicants are academic scientists, who can send an outline of their project to the EKFS at any time.

This outline should describe the project and its background; it should include adequate scientific details and an agenda with clearly defined milestones (critical for go/no-go decisions), and should describe in as much detail as possible for what or for which measures or points on the agenda funding is being applied for. Applicants should also complete a “EKFS Translation Assessment Form”, which can be downloaded from the EKFS website, presenting a summary of relevant project information, e.g. patent situation, application potential or project risks. Incomplete forms for the translational research programme may result in the application being declined, due to insufficient information.

Applications will be scientifically reviewed by experts and with respect to the application and/or translational potential, based on the following criteria: high feasibility, strong scientific rationale, clear clinical need, translational potential and expertise of the applicant. Applicants for the EKFS funding lines “Initial or Confirmatory Application” and “Key Projects”, who believe that a patient-side product may be developed during the course of their project, are asked to indicate in their application any potential future suitability of their project for translational research funding. Early and additional support of such projects with EKFS translational research funding increases the chances of successful future implementation or commercialization and availability of the concept for the benefit of patients.

Applicants shall be contacted with more detailed questions no later than after the initial review of their application. The EKFS shall follow projects accepted for translational research funding closely, in order to support measures in real time to ensure that the project can be successfully implemented. Before a project is awarded translational research funding, the go/no-go milestones will be agreed and defined by the project manager and the EKFS. Approved projects shall be financed on a step-by-step basis, and only those projects that reach the pre-defined go/no-go milestones shall continue to be financed by the EKFS.

If you have any further questions about this line of funding, please contact Prof. Dr. Martin Zörnig (Head of Translational Research Funding at EKFS) at the EKFS office in Bad Homburg.

Phone: +49 (0)6172 8975-12
Email: m.zoernig(at)ekfs.de

EKFS Translation Assessment Form