Originality – Relevance – Effectiveness

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

Support Policy

As a private grant-making foundation, Gebert Rüf Stiftung sees its role as bearing risks and providing initial financing. By supporting projects with a clear identity, Gebert Rüf Stiftung aims to achieve measurable leverage. It positions itself in the well-known funding gap, known as the «valley of death», where the grant-making chain breaks down for many innovative projects, no more research funding is available and venture capital is not yet available.

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 great importance to the networking potential of individual projects and to their classification according to its areas of activity.

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 ten 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 grantmaking activities.



I. Science & Entrepreneurship

Venture Kick
First Ventures
Cluster Funding

II. Education & Entrepreneurship

Digital Education Pioneers
Digital TechPreneurs

III. Science & the Public

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 generation of academics at Swiss universities. The focus is on entrepreneurial connections between science and the real world.

In the target area «Education & Entrepreneurship», Gebert Rüf Stiftung is 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 transfer models.

From the very outset, Gebert Rüf Stiftung attaches significance to the target area «Science and the Public». Under the label of «Scientainment», it has been focusing activities and project support on low-threshold science communication. The foundation also runs «Swiss South Caucasus Net – SSCN» which is a broad-based funding programme for developing the South Causcasus with special emphasis on basic training and fundamental needs.

With the target area «Foundation & Switzerland» Gebert Rüf Stiftung has been active in promoting Switzerland as a top location for 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

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: