Sprind 4 Sprint


Sprind 4 Sprint
© VectorMine


Leap innovations fundamentally change an existing market, create a completely new one or solve a significant technological, social or ecological problem.

The Coronavirus pandemic demonstrated why we need leap innovations so urgently. Thanks to a groundbreaking technology, a vaccine was developed quickly. It protected millions of people from the severest cases.

New, world-changing ideas—such as the invention of the smartphone, GPS or the MP3 format—have been witnessed several times in the past and are now part of people’s everyday lives.

To develop on this idea, the German government founded the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation, known as Sprind, on Dec. 16, 2019. It is modeled on the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Sprind promotes disruptive technologies and discovers and further develops research ideas with the potential to become leap innovations, to maintain competitiveness, and secure and create jobs and prosperity in Germany and Europe.

The agency works on behalf of the Federal Ministries of Education and Research, and Economics and Climate Protection. It is initially planned to run for 10 years with funding of around €1 billion. Its supervisory board consists of 10 members from science, industry, ministries and politics.  

On Nov. 17, 2023, the Federal Parliament passed the Sprind Freedom Act, which allows Sprind to decide on the establishment of subsidiaries or the acquisition of company participations. This makes the progression from idea to product faster and more flexible.

Innovators can submit project proposals directly to Sprind any time. Supported projects address a wide range of topics and challenges of our time in healthcare, climate and environmental protection, technological sovereignty and communication. They range from a novel Alzheimer’s drug to a way to remove microplastics from water. 

The agency thinks the best ideas often result from competition between bright minds. It uses challenges—innovation competitions on social challenges—as an innovative funding instrument. The latest challenge is called Carbon-to-Value. It deals with the long-term removal and utilization of CO2 from the atmosphere.

“In order to limit a serious rise in the global average temperature it is not enough to avoid and reduce future CO2 emissions. We must remove a large amount of CO2 from the atmosphere,” explained Jano Costard, a challenge officer at Sprind. “We want to help new processes achieve a technical and commercial breakthrough that remove CO2 from the atmosphere and then store it in valuable products in the long term.”

The participants of the Carbon- to-Value challenge will receive up to €3 million by the end of this multi-year challenge on Sept. 30, 2024.

Sprind supports the entrants in the further development of their technologies and commercialization of their products not only financially but also with intensive coaching and contacts with private-sector investors. This ensures they also receive follow-up financing for their further growth.

Innovations are no longer limited to individual countries. To stay globally competitive, cooperation is essential. Sprind wants to bring together the most innovative minds from different countries as early as possible and network them internationally. 

Creative ideas are the basis for revolutionary innovations, but the knowledge gained from research must be put into practice. Good ideas need a chance, sustainability needs good ideas and Sprind supports sustainability sprint.

STAY SuSTAYnable!  

Apu Gosalia is a sustainability expert. He can be reached at

Related Topics