Cross-cutting evaluation "Support landscape for innovative startups"

The cross-cutting evaluation explores the effects, synergies and complementarities within the overall funding to initiate and support innovative and research-based startups offered by BMWi and BMBF between 2009 and 2019.

The focus is on individual support measures for the preparatory phase of the respective startups including the validation and early seed phase. They are used to support innovation-oriented (both technological and non-technological, incl. social innovations) or research-based "opportunity" startups.

Comparable programmes of the federal states and those offered by large research organizations are also considered as well as the funding provided by the federal government and the states to improve the startup culture in research institutions. The aim is to also identify and consider funding offers that are not startup or validation funding in the narrower sense, but are frequently or even primarily used by those founding startups to prepare their innovative startup project.

The analysis of the startup funding portfolio is embedded in an evaluation of the startup ecosystem with private and public actors of startup support in Germany and the support practice is compared internationally with Israel, France, Austria and Sweden.

The objective of the cross-cutting evaluation is to examine whether the currently available BMBF and BMWi programmes to prepare and conduct innovation- and research-based startups provide added value in light of the overall support landscape for innovative startups, whether it achieves the overriding goal of a stronger startup culture and exploitation of research results, and whether there are possibilities to improve the overall impact.

The results should lead to recommendations for action on how the individual funding measures of BMWi and BMBF can be further developed and how the overall support provided by both ministries can be optimized.

Tasks of ISI:

  • Overall coordination of the project and coordination with the client
  • Inventory of all funding programmes (57) from validation up to startup preparation (incl. the first steps of setting up companies) and measures (35) that aim to improve the startup culture in science institutions; preparation of the results in a synthesis report
  • Interviews with those responsible for the programmes on more than 20 funding measures that are included in the detailed analysis; preparation in the form of programme factsheets and synoptic evaluation
  • Interviews with multiplicators from 25 institutions that accompany innovative or research-based startups
  • Interviews with experts who can give assessments of different topics in the overall context of the study

The results of the cross-cutting evaluation can be read under results or directly here.

The results should lead to recommendations for action of how to further develop individual funding offers of BMWi and BMBF and how to optimize the overall service of both ministries.

  • detailed analyses of programme documents and key data of the relevant funding programmes
  • Interviews with experts
  • Analysis of literature




German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)


Technopolis, ZEW