Originality – Relevance – Effectiveness

Gebert Rüf Stiftung considers itself to be a private grant-making foundation which wants to trigger something fundamentally new that will have a long-term impact. At the heart of its risk-taking support for innovation are four strategic target areas with resulting thematic areas of activity.

Support Policy

Gebert Rüf Stiftung sees its task in bearing risks and providing financial impetus. By supporting projects with a clear identity, Gebert Rüf Stiftung aims to achieve measurable leverage. It positions its support in selected funding gaps where innovative projects which still are under development need a boost in order to fully develop their benefits for the economy and society.

The support policy particularly favours projects of highly entrepreneurial young scientists pursuing an independent course. It therefore follows that project support from Gebert Rüf Stiftung is a matter of personal support. In order to have an impact, the Foundation attaches importance to the allocation of individual projects to their areas of activity and to their networking potential.

Clear criteria are applied when selecting the projects. Innovative projects of high relevance and scientific quality that satisfy the basic criteria of «originality», «effectiveness», «transfer potential» and «interdisciplinarity» are sought. These basic criteria are used in the selection process, together with a range of positive and negative criteria.

Target Areas and areas of activity

The nine continuing areas of activity are grouped into four target areas and together form the medium-term grant-making cluster of Gebert Rüf Stiftung. It does not act in isolation but interlinks its activities among themselves as well as within a series of project partnerships and in doing so aims to increase the effectiveness of its grant-making activities.



I. Science & Entrepreneurship

Idea Kick
Talent Kick
First Ventures
Venture Kick

II. Education & Entrepreneurship

Education Pioneers
Digital TechPreneurs

III. Science, Economy & Society

Eastern Europe

VI. Foundation & Switzerland

Foundation & Switzerland


The strategic target area known as «Science & Entrepreneurship» denotes the central mission of Gebert Rüf Stiftung. Since 1998 it promotes «science entrepreneurship» among the younger talents of academics at Swiss universities. The focus is on the entrepreneurial implementation of research and innovation for Switzerland as a business location.

The «Kick Foundation» and «Kickfund», co-initiated by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, bundle existing support programs and combine support and investment in a pioneering way in a value chain. The «Kick Program» offers a well curated entrepreneurship, technology and innovation funnel for the best talents and business cases in Switzerland. The legally independent, profit-oriented Kickfund invests in Venture Kick finalists in an automated way allwoing a refinancing model supporting the Kick pipeline. 

In the target area «Education & Entrepreneurship», Gebert Rüf Stiftung has been supporting new forms of education and teaching in the digital age since 2019. The school and professional world of the future require new skills and forms of teaching. Model pilot projects can point the way to this future.

The target area «Science, Economy & Society» has been at the centre of the foundation's activities since its inception. Gebert Rüf Stiftung bundles its activities and project funding under the title «Scientainment» and focuses on low-threshold science communication. It also maintains an Eastern European programme. The current programme focuses on targeted project funding in the South Caucasus, namely the consolidation of the Swiss Agricultural School Caucasus in Georgia.

With the target area «Foundation & Switzerland» Gebert Rüf Stiftung has been active in promoting Switzerland as a top location for liberal foundations since 2000 by working toward a professionalization of the sector at the interface of politics, science and grant-making practice.

Portfolio active areas of activity
Youtube: Playlist Final Impact Clip

Closed areas of activity

Gebert Rüf Stiftung’s areas of activity are focal commitments in pursuit of a specific objective and are time-limited. The life cycle of an area of activity is usually divided into an initial and startup phase, a build-up phase, a consolidation phase and an outphasing stage, which includes an evaluation of the impact achieved.

Already closed areas of activity like «NETS», «Swiss Baltic Net», «BREF» and «Rare Diseases – New Approaches» and accordingly their continuation in a new form geared to current needs (area of activity «Venture Kick», area of activity «Swiss South Caucasus Net», area of activity «First Ventures») show that Gebert Rüf Stiftung cultivates thematic continuity despite directing support at time-limited focal points and is active within a grant-making cluster defined by certain fundamental strategic principles.

List of closed areas of activity: