Wildcard - Programme to encourage unconventional ideas

One Idea - Three Scientists - Maximum Freedom

Through the CZS Wildcard funding programme, the Carl Zeiss Foundation (CZS) is creating an op-portunity to pursue new ideas at a very early stage. The goal is to support unconventional ideas in the STEM field with a high potential for innovation. CZS Wildcard is explicitly aimed at projects that (currently) have a low chance of getting funding in the usual selection procedures because they are radically new and, therefore, especially risky.

We are looking for consortia, each made up of three scientists, with an innovative idea at the in-terface between different STEM disciplines. No individual preparatory scientific work is required. The CZS relies on the scientists' intuition for promising ideas. 24 months of time, a funding amount of up to €750,000, trust and uncomplicated funding modalities (e.g. no milestone plan, flexible reallocation of funding within the project) lay the foundation for maximum freedom.

University internal declaration of intent - Deadline: March 21, 2022

The university internal declaration of intent must contain the following points:

  • Consortium spokesperson
  • Names of participating scientists and subjects (DFG subject classification)
  • Project outline, max. 1 A4 page
  • max. 10 project-related publications (if available)

Ulm University is entiteled to submit two applications to the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The University Board decides which applications are forwarded to the Foundation.

Important: The Carl Zeiss Foundation does not pay overhead. Therefore, within the university, the provisions of Circular No. 1/2021 (only internally readable) apply to cost recovery for third-party funded projects. Please contact Dez. IV of the Central Administration in due time.


Dr. Astrid Rau
Center for Research Strategy and Support
Helmholtzstr. 22
Room 1.48
89081 Ulm
Tel.: +49 (0)731/50-25086
Fax: +49 (0)731/50-22096

Call for Applications

Call for Applications & Guidelines of the Carl Zeiss Foundation