DEEP TECH Award - Entry Conditions

Deep Tech Award
Image: Deep Tech Berlin


The Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises is awarding the Deep Tech Award 2022 as part of the state initiative Projekt Zukunft and the campaign Deep Tech Berlin.
The prize money for the Deep Tech Award 2022 is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Prizes will be awarded to proven, user-oriented software and hardware products and solutions that stand out for their high degree of innovation and strong potential thanks to their commercial viability.

Software and hardware products and solutions may include the following areas:

▪ Devices, device management, embedded systems
▪ Sensors and actors
▪ Networks (low-power/short-range, low-power/wide-area)
▪ Processors and architecture
▪ Operating systems
▪ Platforms
▪ Standards and APIs

IT security: Whether companies kit their machines out with sensors, use social media or store data in the cloud: Digitisation is making IT security more and more important.

We are looking for innovations based on:

• Security technology for mobile devices, operating systems, servers, cloud
services, workstations, platforms
• Cybersecurity solutions, malware protection
• Security on social media and in communication channels
• Data-security solutions

Artificial intelligence: Driverless cars, face recognition, machine translation, target group-oriented product placement – AI systems are playing an ever-greater role in our day-to-day life and business in the B2C and B2B sectors.

We are looking for innovations based on:

• AI solutions and technology
• Interpretable and trustworthy artificial intelligence
• Machine learning
• Natural language processing (NLP), chatbots
• Analytical tools: Computer vision, forecasting, analysis models and optimisation through algorithms, AD targeting, genomic medicine

Internet of Things / Industry 4.0: IoT and sensor technology are drivers of digitisation. Businesses can kit their machines, tools or products out with sensors to get information that can help them use resources more efficiently and predict malfunctions more quickly.

We are looking for innovations based on:

• Industry 4.0 solutions and technology
• Predictive maintenance and process optimisation solutions
• IoT solutions and technology
• Sensor technology and robotics

Blockchain: Blockchain is a motor for digital business models in lots of branches, making middlemen redundant, automating business rules, and building trust and transparency in shared data.

We are looking for innovations based on:

• Blockchain / distributed-ledger solutions and technology
• Project tracking, automated and electronic billing,
e-voting, secure service-level agreements, tokenisation,

Social and sustainable tech: Up to now, digitisation has been heavily focused on how to maximise profits. We want to change that and to recognise deep-tech products and solutions with social and sustainable aims, that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

We are looking for innovations based on:

• Social and sustainable deep tech
• Deep-tech solutions in the fields of medicine, digital education, renewable energies, for the ageing society, to support social and non-profit bodies, and to fight the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Deep-tech solutions in the field of social-media management including social bots, fake news…
• Sustainability: Usable on existing systems (e.g. retrofitting to make systems more innovative) or fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The global metropolis that is Berlin has evolved into a leading location in information and communication technologies in both Germany and Europe. Information and communication technologies have become pivotal for Berlin as an economic hub. They drive innovation forward, increase productivity and contribute towards economic growth, wealth and employment for the future.

As a young, cosmopolitan and dynamic city, Berlin also provides the best location and development conditions for start-ups in ICT and the digital economy as well as a large number of software-development specialists. Alongside start-ups, a great many highly specialised small and medium enterprises have made a name for themselves in the ICT industry.

The growth rates in Berlin’s ICT industry are consistently above average.
According to analysis by Goldmedia, in 2020 the IoT sector in Berlin and Brandenburg employed a total of 11,336 people.
IoT businesses generated around €10 million on average.
Cybersecurity businesses in the Berlin/Brandenburg region generated a total of €276 million in 2020, while Goldmedia’s research found that around 4,000 people were employed in the sector in 2020.
Berlin/Brandenburg’s AI market produced a revenue of over half a billion euros in 2020.

The ICT industry is a pioneer of digital transformation

Berlin has evolved into one of the leading locations for deep tech. The German capital is particularly influential in the deep-tech fields of artificial intelligence, blockchain, IT security and the Internet of Things.
The statistics underline Berlin’s development as the top location in Germany’s tech sector:
75 of 268 IoT companies are based in Berlin. A total of 57% of all German IoT start-ups are active here. (Source: Technologiestiftung Berlin, 2017)

In 2016 Berlin’s digital security industry employed around 3000 people in over 100 companies. (Source: Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises)

Between 2012 and 2017, 48% of all German AI start-ups were founded in Berlin. (Source: KI-Berlin) 276 AI companies are based in Berlin.
Berlin is the capital of blockchain with over 180 start-ups, corporates, accelerators, research and innovation hubs, and investors. (Source: BerChain e.V., 2020) In 2020 the revenue generated by companies in the blockchain sector totalled approximately €472 million in Berlin/Brandenburg.

The growing demand for deep-tech products and solutions has the potential to evolve into a key growth driver for Berlin. At the same time, the combination of hardware and software components means that developing adequate products and solutions for these companies entails long development processes, high costs for innovation, and a lot of risk.

With the Deep Tech Award 2022 we want to acknowledge the innovativeness of emerging start-ups and established companies, and to put the spotlight on deep-tech products and solutions “made in Berlin”.


24 January 2022 Competition announced and start of submissions period
24 April 2022 Closing date for submissions
15 June 2022 Prizewinners announced and prizes awarded


The competition includes a total of €50,000 in prize money (funded by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises and by the EU/ERDF). A “Deep Tech Star” will be awarded in each Deep Tech category: Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things & Industry 4.0, Blockchain, IT Security, Social/Sustainable Tech.
The “Deep Tech Star” prizewinners will each receive a certificate and an award sculpture. They can also use the “Deep Tech Star” logo and the Deep Tech Award, referencing the year awarded, in their marketing.
Alongside the prize money, there are also immaterial prizes in the form of cooperation partnerships for both winners and finalists.

The prizewinners and their products and solutions will be featured on the campaign website and the websites of cooperation partners in the form of news, articles and interviews.

The awards ceremony is planned for 15 June 2022. You can also find the exact date and event location on the Deep Tech Award website
The jury’s decision is final.


The competition is open to companies based in the State of Berlin. Entries from small and medium enterprises are explicitly welcome. We are looking for user-oriented and market-tested hardware and software products and solutions that are characterised by a high degree of innovation and strong potential.
Participants must fulfil the state-aid conditions in accordance with the “De minimis regulation” as a prerequisite for entry (see the information sheet “De minimis state aid for the Deep Tech Award 2022”).

The independent jury will consider the following criteria in their evaluation of entries:

▪ Representation of the innovation

From a technical perspective:
- Data sources and data-processing pipeline
- Technical process used
- Hardware and software design (for example, open hardware / open source)

From the customer’s perspective:
- The solution’s unique selling points (USPs)
- Concrete added value from a user’s perspective, for society and Berlin as a location, as compared with the status quo

▪ Representation of the business model, market potential and market-development strategy
Current financing and company size – Team size – Annual turnover – Partners (founders’ CVs), year established
- Prototypes, link to website and demo version, pilot customers
- Scalability of the solution
- Is the solution already on the market or is it still in the concept/planning phase?

▪ Fulfilment of product-specific norms, standards and legal requirements
- For example, data-protection, data-protection and data-security concepts.
- Type of data / data sets used
- Source of data and type of processing
- Potential use of open data

▪ Consideration of and support for sustainability
- Improved energy efficiency
- Increased resilience and service life
- Consideration of subsequent use and reuse of components and materials


The winners will be chosen by an independent jury. There is a jury of three distinguished experts from the fields of business, science and federations for each winner category (AI, IoT & Industry 4.0, Blockchain, IT Security and Social/Sustainable Tech). The juries’ sessions are not open to the public. The jury’s decision is final.

Our jury members:

▪ Artificial Intelligence
o Claudia Pohlink, Chief Expert Data & Program Manager House of Data, Deutsche Bahn
o Fabian Westerheide, CEO of Asgard Capital Verwaltung GmbH
o Dr. Jack Thoms, deputy speaker, German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)

▪ Internet of Things & Industry 4.0
o Moritz von Plate, Global Head of Service and Automation Global Head of Service and Automation, Voith Hydro
o Harald Zapp, founder and CEO, Next Big Thing AG

▪ Blockchain
o Prof Dr Katarina Adam, professor at HTW Berlin – University of Applied Sciences
o Regine Haschka-Helmer, CEO, Seedlab GmbH, IOTA Foundation Adviser
o Dr Christoph Haupenthal, director/co-founder, Institute for Applied Blockchain at the Digital Business University of Applied Sciences

▪ IT Security
o Timo Kob, founder, HiSolutions AG
o Birgit Heß, Cloud Information Security Awareness Lead Europe, SAP Global Security
o Thomas Schröter, board member, SIBB e.V.

▪ Social/Sustainable Tech (Deep-tech solutions with additional social or sustainability value)
o Dr Peter Udo Diehl, CEO & founder, Audatic
o Prof. Jochen Schiller, board member, Einstein Center Digital Future
o Henriette Litta, CEO, Open Knowledge Foundation OKFN


▪ All rights to the competition entry are reserved by the person submitting it. It is possible to submit multiple competition entries. The person submitting the competition entry must ensure that it is free from the rights of third parties.
▪ Please note that you may only apply for one of the categories with your competition entry: AI, IoT & Industry 4.0, Blockchain, lT Security, Social/Sustainable Tech)
▪ The person submitting the competition entry shall bear the liability for it not infringing on the rights of third parties.
▪ If necessary, the person submitting the competition entry shall indemnify the competition organiser of responsibility in any legal claims by third parties or any expenses that may be incurred owing to a legal infringement.
▪ By submitting the required documents, the person submitting the competition entry declares that he/she agrees that the work submitted (photos, etc.) may be used by the organiser as part of the application, documentation and coverage of the competition, and concedes all necessary rights of use for this. The competition organiser’s rights of use are not exclusive, but are unrestricted in terms of time and place and cover all known and unknown forms of use.
▪ The competition organiser is entitled to disclose participants’ personal information, such as names or photos, to third parties such as media outlets as part of the competition. If the person submitting the competition entry wishes for this information not to be disclosed, this must be communicated in writing when submitting the entry, specifying which information the non-disclosure applies to.
▪ The privacy policy published on the organiser’s website shall apply:
▪ Should individual provisions be invalid, this does not have any effect on the validity of the remaining provisions.
▪ There is no legal entitlement to a prize or prize money.


▪ Designation of a contact person for content, with contact details incl. telephone number and email address
▪ Description of the company
▪ Presentation of the competition entry with the innovation from a technical perspective and from the customer’s perspective
▪ Presentation of the business model, market potential and market-development strategy
▪ Description of the innovation-related unique selling points – What is new about the competition entry?
▪ Evidence that product-specific norms, standards and legal requirements have been fulfilled
▪ Photos and illustrations as an annex if appropriate (max. 5 pages)
▪ Completed de minimis declaration 2022 (see the information sheet “De minimis state aid for the Deep Tech Award 2022”)
Additional note on the de minimis declaration: The “Deep Tech Finalists” nominated will be announced before the Deep Tech Award ceremony. In order to receive the prize money of €10,000 from the State of Berlin as prizewinners, they must complete the de-minimis declaration and confirm that they have not exhausted the quantity of €200,000 in state aid in three fiscal years. De minimis certificates already received must be enclosed with the de minimis declaration and sent to Betül Özdemir, consultant at the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises: Email:

Please use the online application form to submit your competition entry.
Please note that you may only apply for one of the categories with your product or solution:
▪ Artificial Intelligence
▪ Internet of Things & Industry 4.0
▪ Blockchain
▪ IT Security
▪ Social/Sustainable Tech (Deep-tech solutions with additional social or sustainability value)

All competition entries received on the online platform by midnight on 24 April 2022 that comply with the maximum character counts and the formal requirements for the competition will be eligible to take part in the competition.


The Deep Tech Award is organised by the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. The contact person is:

Betül Özdemir
Consultant, ICT Industry
Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises
Martin-Luther-Str. 105
10825 Berlin

Tel: +49 (0) 30 901 8250


De minimis declaration


All winners: Please download and fill out this declaration and send it to:

PDF-Document (1.0 MB)