Our Purpose:
Support Medical Innovations

We promote medical innovations!

Objective of the foundation

The foundation’s objective is to enable quantum leaps of innovation in healthcare, to introduce new improved and affordable technologies into practical application, as well as to create networks of engineers, physicians, researchers and companies that develop concrete solutions for breakthrough innovations. In particular young, courageous entrepreneurs who put innovative ideas into practical application, are to be encouraged.

Previous achievements

The foundation can look back on its first years with pride, having already achieved a great deal with the establishment of its subsidiary, the Medical Innovations Incubator GmbH (MII), its recent qualification program for start-ups, the “4C Workshops”, and the significant support of the development and execution of the „Life Science Accelerator Baden-Württemberg“ with two further educational programs, the “Medical Innovations Explorer” and the “MedTech Start-up School”. The structured qualification programs for start-up teams have created an effective innovation culture that has already introduced more than 170 people to the world of start-ups and supported 85 projects to practical application. These successes are one of the reasons why in 2022 the Stiftung für Medizininnovationen was nominated for the Rudolf Diesel Medal  – Europe’s oldest innovation prize – in the category “Best Innovation Promotion”.

Rudolf Diesel Medal: On the podium at the award ceremony on 23. June 2022
(from left: Christian Dorn, Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, Ingo Hämmerle, Prof. Hugo Hämmerle, Dr. Alfred Stett)

Our Teams

The Team of the Foundation

Prof. Dr. med. h.c. mult. Eberhart Zrenner

Prof. Dr. med. h.c. mult. Eberhart Zrenner

Chairman of the Foundation for Medical Innovation & Advisory Board of MII

In order to translate new findings from research laboratories into new cures for our patients as quickly as possible, a vibrant startup culture embedded in healthcare is key to success.

Eberhart Zrenner is the founding director of the Research Institute of Ophthalmology and senior professor at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. He is a world-renowned ophthalmologist and researcher for degenerative diseases of the retina, especially in the field of cause research and therapy development. He has made a special contribution to the development of electronic subretinal retinal implants to restore vision in the blind. He also played a key role in the development and implementation of the first gene therapy development in Germany for hereditary retinal degeneration. Eberhart Zrenner was Co-Founder of Retina-Implant AG and Chairman of its Supervisory Board until 2021 and is now on the Advisory Board of Okuvision GmbH. In 2014, he founded the non-profit Stiftung für Medizininnovationen and has been its Chairman ever since.

Networks, committees and activities alongside the SfM
Prof. Dr. med. h.c. mult. Eberhart Zrenner

Prof. Dr. Hugo Hämmerle

Deputy Chairman of the Foundation for Medical Innovation

“Innovation is the transfer and application of knowledge in practice. We help to make the transfer more successful.”

Hugo Hämmerle studied biology and chemistry. His scientific work focused on the interaction of materials with tissues, e.g. the development of neurochips such as retina implants and microelectrode arrays, as well as biochip technologies. He was Director of the NMI (Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen) for many years, Chairman of the NMI Foundation and spokesman for the Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance (InnBW) for 10 years. The focus of his professional activities was the biologization of medical technology, strategic R&D management and technology transfer. Hugo Hämmerle was involved in the founding of several BioTech companies and is still active on the supervisory boards of start-ups and listed MedTech companies and as an expert for federal ministries, universities and other public institutions.

Networks, committees and activities alongside the SfM
Philipp Krais

Christian Dorn, MSc

Program Manager Foundation for Medical Innovations

We can‘t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we usedwhen we created them.“

​Christian Dorn is program manager and startup coach at the Foundation for Medical Innovation. He is a Lean enthusiast and has several years of experience as a project manager in the automotive industry and in strategic design and innovation consulting.

In his role as Program Manager, he is largely responsible for the 4C Accelerator workshops, their structure and content. By continuously analyzing the needs and challanges of the supported startups, he further develops the workshops and establishes new formats, such as the 4C Bootcamp.


Networks, committees and activities alongside the SfM

Boris Elmlinger

Working Student Marketing

„Driven by curiosity, powered by progress“

Boris is a working student in the Marketing department at the Foundation for Medical Innovation. His degree in International Business Administration helps him to deepen his existing knowledge in the field of marketing and apply it in practice.


The Foundation’s Idea Evaluation Board

Our interdisciplinary Idea Evaluation Board, chaired by Prof. Dr. Hugo Hämmerle, reviews and evaluates founding projects that apply for funding through the “4C Accelerator“.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees advises and supports the foundation’s Executive Board. It consists of the following members:

Annette Widmann-Mauz

Annette Widmann-Mauz

Member of the German Federal Parliament
Former Minister of State
Prof. Dr. Peter Frankenberg, Minister a.D.

Prof. Dr. Peter Frankenberg, Minister a.D.

Board of Directors Heinrich Vetter Foundation
Chairman of the Curatorship and the Shareholders’ Meeting of the Dieter Schwarz Foundation
Dr. Ingmar Hoerr

Dr. Ingmar Hoerr

Founder of CureVac
Founder of the Morpho Foundation

Incorporation of the foundation

Since Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Eberthart Zrenner has always been enthusiastic about the many possibilities offered by the latest technology, molecular biology and microelectronics for new therapies and aids for patients. After studying electrical engineering and medicine at the Technical University of Munich, our foundation chairman Prof. Zrenner successfully spun off several startups. For example, together with numerous partners, he developed a retinal chip that enables blind people to regain their vision to a certain degree. In implementing this idea, he experienced for himself how difficult it is to implement the technology transfer from a scientific invention to a commercially successful medical product. He also identified how much additional non-scientific “know-how” scientists have to acquire and how much courage and perseverance they need in order to successfully spin off their own company.

Founder Prof. Eberhart Zrenner
It is a matter of concern to him to actively advancing this field as role model. That is why he established the Stiftung für Medizininnovationen (Foundation for Medical Innovations) in 2014. Therefore he donated prize money that he himself won over the course of his life through the research and development of medical technology products: the Alcon Research Award, the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award and the Euretina Innovation Award. The Foundation for Medical Innovation is also actively supported by donations from the Tistou and Charlotte Kerstan Foundation, the Hector Foundation and the B.Braun Foundation.