Digital Innovation Hub Photonics

Save the Date - to pitch your innovative research idea!

DHIP idea pitches for research projects in the fields of Optics, photonics and biophotonics
Digital Innovation Hub Photonics
Picture: DHIP Jena


Poster for DIHP Elevator-Pitch 2022 Poster for DIHP Elevator-Pitch 2022 Picture: DHIP Jena

The Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP) aims to promote innovative research projects in Thuringia. The successful project at the Beutenberg in Jena has now been expanded to include four new partners. On May 23, the new consortium invites idea teams, startups and SMEs to present their innovative projects. Research budgets can be won for applications of optics and photonics, e.g. in biophotonics. The deadline for registration is May 15.

Germany and Thuringia can only maintain their role in the region and their technological leadership through convincing innovations and new ideas. Crucial to this is the transfer of excellent research into usable applications. This transfer takes place in particular through (spin-off) start-ups from research - so-called high-tech start-ups.

In relation to the number of inhabitants, the Free State of Thuringia is already the leader in high-tech start-ups in Germany. The start-up companies SPACEOPTIX GmbH, Quantum Optics Jena GmbH and Robust AO GmbH are good examples of this. They are all successful on the market, originate from the "Optical Valley" Jena, won numerous prizes - including the Innovation Award Thuringia, the Founder's Award Thuringia, the technology support of getstarted2gether - and thus made it in recent years regularly in the list of TOP50 startups, published by the F.A.Z. Group. They have also been able to acquire several million euros in funding for their entrepreneurial activities from private lenders and banks.

But the three companies still have one significant thing in common: They all took their first entrepreneurial steps at the Digital DIHP idea pitches. Here they won attractive budgets to take their first steps with their ideas.

Idea Pitches 2022: Research Budgets as Idea Catalysts

In order to support even more idea generators and people interested in founding their own company on their way to independence, DIHP is once again inviting people to its traditional idea pitch on May 23. The format is particularly aimed at all those ideas in which photonic technologies form the core of a possible product development. All interested parties are cordially invited to submit their ideas!

The most interesting ideas submitted can later be further developed in five excellent research institutes in Jena: the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT), the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (Leibniz-HKI), the Helmholtz Institute Jena (HI-J), with the Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP) and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (Fraunhofer IOF).

"The DIHP and the form of the pitches are unique in Germany," explains the initiator and head of the consortium project, Dr. Sebastian Händschke. Talking about the possibilities of the pitches, he continues, "We thus make it easier for external idea teams to work together with university and non-university institutions. The rate of subsequent company start-ups is also gratifyingly high, with the pitches being an initial test for the teams. Participants from previous years benefited greatly from the feedback, the jury was pleased to receive very interesting projects for review, and even for applicants who were unsuccessful, we can provide exciting contacts at Jena's Beutenberg Campus and beyond. The close exchange is helpful for all sides - people interested in founding a company, institutes and other partners. The supra-regional applications, including from Berlin, Switzerland and Italy, show the reach we have with DIHP and Thuringia as a location."

In 2021, Spectō Srl, a Milan-based startup, took first place. Teams from Thuringia followed in second and third place.

DIHP - a consortium for transfer support which is unique in Germany

With the DIHP Idea Pitches 2022, the new consortium consisting of the above-mentioned research institutions will now become operational. Interested idea teams can apply for the current round of calls, which will run until mid-May. Regardless of whether they are students, doctoral candidates, researchers or employees of a commercial enterprise - the offer is aimed at anyone who needs support in the conceptual and technological implementation of a project or business idea in the field of photonics. Due to the close integration of DIHP into the Photonics Performance Center, participants benefit significantly from the technological competencies of the participating institutions as well as the comprehensive knowledge of markets, supply and value chains and the existing network in the photonics industries.

To ensure that the evaluation of the projects is as differentiated as possible, the jury will be made up of representatives of various institutions from business and science, including companies such as Carl ZEISS Meditec AG, JENOPTIK AG, etc. In addition, partners from the national and regional start-up ecosystem will be involved, including bm-t beteiligungsmanagement thüringen gmbh, the Fraunhofer Technology Transfer Fund (FTTF), and transfer experts from the participating institutions.

About the DIHP

The Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP) is a project of the Free State of Thuringia, funded by the Ministry of Economy, Science and Digital Society (TMWWDG). It is intended to support start-ups and spin-offs in the fields of optics and photonics at Jena's Beutenberg Campus. The project began in early 2019 and is based at the Photonics Performance Center of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and the Institute of Applied Physics IAP at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Other research institutes at the site are associated. Currently, eight teams are supervised at DIHP in these institutes, six of which have already established a company. The DIHP works closely with other partners in Central Germany, such as the Stiftung für Technologie, Innovation und Forschung Thüringen (STIFT) and Optonet e.V.. In the current phase, the TMWWDG is providing funding of around 1.2 million euros for the DIHP project until the end of 2023.

In the meantime, the experiences of DIHP have also been transferred to Ilmenau in a sister project: At iHUB - Innovation Hub Ilmenau, the pitch will take place on May 18 (




Dr. Sebastian Händschke
Digital Innovation Hub Photonics (DIHP)
Phone:               +49 (0) 3641 807257
Mobile:              +49 (0) 179 783 14 55