Frequently Asked Questions

For AO's innovation funding

  • Scope

    In scope are ideas for:

    Innovative products, services and initiatives strategically relevant to the core activities of the AO and/or the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, including orthopedic trauma, spinal conditions, craniomaxillofacial surgery, veterinary surgery, joint preservation and replacement, and sport.

    Out of scope are:


    • Surgical instruments
    • Pure research (unless part of a product development project)
    • Pharmaceuticals
    • Clinical studies (unless part of a product development project)
    • Events
    • Product ideas where the IP is not protectable or older than five years
  • Eligibility and requirements

    Anyone can apply to the AO's innovation funding.

    Successful project proposal will be assigned to one of the two funding streams:

    • The Development Incubator targets new product developments
    • The Strategy Fund targets projects relevant to the AO mission

    Requirements for new product development

    • Patentable idea or patent application aiming to improve the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
    • Close collaboration with the team throughout the evaluation and project phase.
    • Relevance of addressed clinical problem
    • Significant improvement over existing solutions – degree of innovation
    • Strong business case

    Requirements for strategic or educational projects

    • Seed funding cover only direct project costs (no overhead);
    • Projects need to be sustainable after seed funding.
  • Evaluation and timeline

    Each application will be reviewed by the team and assigned to either:

    • The Technology Transfer Board for product development projects or;
    • The Strategy Fund Committee for strategic projects or in the field of surgeon education.


    The deadline for submission of new project proposals is the last day of February and August each year. 

    The relevant governing body reviews all proposals twice a year, and each applicant receives the first feedback within two months.

  • Development Incubator process
  • Strategy Fund process
  • General terms and conditions

    All applications will be handled on a confidential basis. Only the AO Foundation Board, the relevant funding governing body, and the AO executive management will have access to the applications, and only for the purpose of evaluation. Experts will be involved only under a non-disclosure agreement. For applicants gaining funding approval, the collaboration agreement with the AO grants the right to publicly use the applicant's name, photograph, and non-confidential details about the project, agreed beforehand with the applicant.

    Intellectual Property (IP)

    A cooperation contract will be negotiated to define the rights concerning the involved IP. Usually, any income generated by the projects will be shared between the AO and the inventor. The relative shares depend on the status of the idea when the collaboration started

Be ready to address the following:

The problem

Proposed solution

Target group

Value proposition


Project management

Key risks

Idea disclosure

Patent filing

Financial request (CHF)

Duration (Months)

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For any other questions, please contact the team.