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HHU Ideas Competition

The HHU Ideas Competition at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf raises awareness of the career options of self-employment and business startups and arouses curiosity about exciting alternatives to the typical working biography. The competition supports the goal of creating a creative startup culture and awakening and supporting entrepreneurial thinking and action among everyone at HHU at an early stage.

The ideas competition will take place for the thirteenth time in the summer semester of 2024.

1.000 Euro for your idea!

It's that time again! The HHU ideas competition is entering the next round!

You have an idea that won't let you go? An idea that you are convinced of and want to convince others? Maybe an innovative new product or service? Then take the first step now and submit it to the HHU Ideas Competition!

The best submissions have the chance to win prizes worth up to 1.000 euros! And this year, the HCSD is also awarding a prize for the most sustainable idea.


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Isabell Nethke
+49 211 81-11643

What ideas are we looking for?

We are looking for ideas and solutions that you have come across in your studies, research or everyday life. This means that the idea can still be in its infancy and does not need to be ready for the market.

You have to answer the following 5 or 6 questions in the entry form:

  1. What problem are you addressing with your idea and for whom does this problem exist?
  2. Please describe your idea and briefly explain how it (partially) solves the problem?
  3. Are there already solutions on the market for the problem you have described? If so, which ones?
  4. In your opinion, does your idea offer fundamental progress or an improvement on the current situation?
  5. Can you imagine "spoilsports" in the realisation of your idea?

+ Additional question to qualify you for the HCSD special sustainability award.

What you can win!

We awarded prizes in two categories: Students and Researchers. And three prizes* were awarded in each of the two categories:

*PLEASE NOTE: unfortunately we can not pay cash, but you submit us an invoice, we can settle it.

As every year, a competent jury selected the best submissions based primarily on the following criteria:

From the jury's point of view, how likely is it that the idea can be realised in principle? Your personal connection to the idea and corresponding expertise in the field can be helpful here. Also of interest are legal circumstances that support or oppose the project.

There should be a certain level of innovation. Accordingly, it is beneficial if the jury members have perhaps not yet heard of the submitted solution. Or it may be an existing solution that has been rethought and perhaps placed in a different context.

How big or severe is the identified problem actually? How many people or companies does this problem affect and how often do they face this problem. What difference does the submitted idea make?

Sustainability Special Award (HCSD)

Ideally, good startup ideas not only have the potential for economic success, but also contribute to the sustainable transformation of our society. This is why the Heine-Center for Sustainable Development (HCSD) is once again awarding the special "Sustainability" prize to all entrants this year.

The HCSD coordinates HHU's sustainability activities, networks those active in the areas of research, teaching and operations and advises the university management on all sustainability issues. The focus is on the three areas of diversity, environment and health.


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Claudia Bethke

Here's how the ideas competition works

Submit the idea sketch by May 29th

Any questions? The CEDUS team will be happy to assist you at any time during the entire submission period. Just talk to us!

The jury decision

Our jury meets on June 13th, which means that you will find out the following day at the latest whether you have made it into the top 3 in your category.

Nomination sustainability

The HCSD will also sit down at the end of June and let us know which idea was most convincing in terms of sustainability. With this nomination, you are also allowed to participate in the pitch training.

Pitch training at the beginning of July

At the award ceremony, the top 3 from both categories will present their ideas in front of an audience and have the opportunity to win the Audience Award. An exclusive pitch training session at the beginning of July will provide the necessary preparation.

Award ceremony on July 11th

On July 11th, the time has finally come to pitch for the audience award. In addition, it will be announced who won this year's ideas competition and which idea was convincing in terms of sustainability.


Individuals or teams may participate. However, at least one person must be a member of HHU. HHU members include students, scientists, employees and alumni.

Sure, that's possible. Just fill out the form (link). We'll take care of the rest behind the scenes and sort your submission into the appropriate category based on the idea and your background.

The ideas submitted will not be passed on to third parties. During the evaluation by external jurors, all jurors agree to sign a confidentiality agreement. After the end of the ideas competition, all submitted ideas will be deleted. If you are considering patenting your idea, please contact us directly!

If at least one team member belongs to HHU or UKD, the (entire) team may participate in the competition.

Unfortunately not, because at the time of the idea submission the idea may not yet be commercially exploited. However, please contact us in this case and we will see what interesting opportunities or competitions there are for you outside of the ideas competition.

No, there are no costs associated with participating in the HHU Ideas Competition.

If your idea is among the TOP 3, you will be part of the award ceremony with your submission and present your idea to the audience. Maybe you can even secure the audience award with your pitch. But don't worry: On July 7th, there will be a free pitch training session especially for this purpose.

Yes, this page (and the forms) are even available in English.

Unfortunately, we can't just transfer it to you. But we can pay you the bill. E.g. for an IPad, consulting services etc. Just talk to us about it!

Photo gallery

Winning teams from 2023

Category Students

  • 1st place: FastFungiFinder
  • 2nd place: Fungilyzer
  • 3rd place: MyFilm

The Fungilyzer team also received the prize from the Heine-Center for Sustainable Development for the most sustainable idea and thus participation in the annual conference of the German Council for Sustainable Development in Berlin (including rail travel and accommodation) for two people.

Researchers category

  • 1st place: AneurysmAid
  • 1st place: MONTI - the monitoring system
  • 3rd place: Cytokimera

MONTI also won the audience award and can also look forward to a 100 € canteen voucher.

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