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MedUni Vienna project on early detection and monitoring of retinal diseases obtains Spin-off Fellowship from the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

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(Vienna, 15 July 2019) The aim of the Spin-off Fellowships, developed along the lines of the ETH Zürich "Pioneers Programme", is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit at universities and in research institutions. In its latest round of calls (the third so far) the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) will finance nine projects to the tune of €3.4 million in total. "In this way we are able to help students and researchers to successfully bring their innovative ideas to the market," says Science and Research Minister Iris Rauskala, speaking at an event held at Vienna University of Technology. One of the successful projects is at MedUni Vienna's Department of Ophthalmology and Optometrics.

The total of 24 Spin-off Fellowships funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) in the three calls put out to date, provide clear evidence that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well within Austrian universities and research institutions. Twenty-six applications were submitted in the latest call and the international jury recommended nine of these for funding. Eight of these projects are at universities, one at a centre of excellence. Five of the projects are based in Vienna, two in the Tyrol and two in Styria.
The nine successful projects from the third call are:
•    A-Eye (software for automated OCT analysis for early detection and monitoring of retinal diseases), Medical University of Vienna (Amir Sadeghipour/Sabine Rentz-Chorherr)
•    KinCon biolabs (predicting the efficacy of cancer drugs via patient-specific kinase reporters), University of Innsbruck
•    NANOLIGNIN (product and process development for micro- and nanoscale lignin from renewable sources), Vienna University of Technology
•    SNAP (Social Network Asset Predictor), University of Vienna
•    SOPHIE smart shower (the energy shower with high-efficiency heat recovery and secondary heating for a wall-integrated compact solution), University of Innsbruck
•    STAT5 inhibitors (targeting STAT5 oligomerization in leukemia), Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine
•    NovoSome (efficient and sustainable oral application of drugs via customized ether lipids) Vienna University of Technology
•    ComBioPro (Computational BioProcess Design), Technical University of Graz
•    Toadng (fast, local high-resolution measurement of gas concentration distribution on the engine test bench), centre of excellence – Das virtuelle Fahrzeug Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, [the virtual vehicle research company], Graz
About the Spin-off Fellowship programme

The purpose of the Spin-off Fellowship is to promote the utilisation of intellectual property at universities and/or research institutions at a very early stage, to enable a company start-up at the end of the Fellowship. For the duration of the Spin-off Fellowship, the Fellows must concentrate 100% on this project and may not pursue any teaching activities or other research work. The Fellows will be offered accompanying training, coaching and mentoring from the network of knowledge transfer centres to impart entrepreneurial thinking and strategies.
A Spin-off Fellowship runs for a maximum of 18 months. Applications are submitted to the FFG via the respective university or research institution but the Fellow is responsible for project management.

Link to the Spin-off Fellowships programme: