The German Innovation Fund

The aim of the German Innovation Fund is to promote improvements in the quality of medical care provided under the statutory health insurance system. The Act to Strengthen Care Provision in the Statutory Health Insurance System (Care Provision Strengthening Act) mandated the Federal Joint Committee to promote research and development to enhance the current system of health care provision and improve medical care.

For this purpose, the Federal Government created an innovation fund with an annual budget of €300 million to be made available between 2016 and 2019.

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The Innovation Fund at Charité

The Care Provision Strengthening Act, which came into effect in July 2015, aims to ensure the ongoing provision and development of easily accessible, high-quality medical care. Under the terms of the Act, the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), the highest decision-making body in the self-governing health care system, was tasked with promoting innovative projects to further enhance the health care system for the benefit of patients in Germany.

For this purpose, the Federal Government created an innovation fund with an annual budget of €300 million (2016-2019), which is funded via both the statutory health insurance providers and the ‘Gesundheitsfonds’ (literally ‘health fund’ – a central fund that receives mandatory contributions from both employees and employers as well as government subsidies, which are then distributed to the health insurance providers).

As a subcommittee of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), the ‘innovation fund committee’ issues official bulletins setting out funding criteria and priorities. The committee also determines which applications should be allocated funding. Funding decisions are made based on two separate guidelines:

  • Innovative models of care service provision: €225 million per annum is allocated to support the development of long-term integrated care programs with the potential to improve cross-sectoral service provision.
  • Health service research: €75 million per year is reserved for health service research programs. These are responsible for providing the evidence base for solutions pertaining to the design, organization and financing of the health care system.

With its innovative strength, its positioning at the interface of research and clinical practice, and its six central research foci, Charité is ideally placed to meet the innovation fund’s high standards, whether as an applicant or a partner.

Between 2017 and 2021, Charité will be involved in a total of 18 ‘Innovationsfonds’- funded projects, of which 9 will be led by Charité. The total funding award for projects with Charité involvement is approximately €39 million. Four of the 9 projects led by Charité fall into the ‘Innovative models of care service provision’ category, while the other five qualified under the fund’s ‘Health services research’ category.