AO's innovation funding

We drive your idea toward success with expertise and funding.

We think beyond traditional boundaries and put our researchers, surgeons, and independent industry experts to work for your idea.

Empowering innovators: From conception to market

Recipients of AO’s innovation funding get to experience the essence of the AO: unparalleled collaboration across research, clinical specialties, and industry through our network of more than a half-million healthcare professionals—all in service to advancing new frontiers in orthopedics and improving patient outcomes.

The AO helps select innovators navigate every stage of their project, especially the infamous “valley of death”: the critical phase between ideation and market launch. Our commitment is resolute, as we provide essential innovation and project funding, comprehensive support, and a thriving ecosystem that nurtures revolutionary concepts in orthopedics and surgeon education, ensuring that surgeons are equipped to tackle clinical challenges with cutting-edge solutions.

  • Our core areas
    • Customized innovation project funding
      The AO nurtures innovation with seed money that kick-starts projects and empowers innovators to transform ideas into impactful realities. We bridge the gap between ideation and execution, ensuring that promising projects thrive with the necessary resources.

      The AO recognizes the uniqueness of each project, and our support reflects that. We tailor timeframes and funding to each project's specific needs, nurturing innovation efficiently while allowing innovators to focus on their transformative ideas.

    • Technology translation support and mentorship
      Move from concept to real-world solutions with the AO’s assistance. We facilitate the transition from lab to practical orthopedic solutions, effectively addressing clinical challenges with the professional counseling of global leaders from across science, medicine, and industry.
    • Incubator ecosystem across clinical specialties
      Our innovation ecosystem fosters collaboration, guidance, and growth
      across diverse clinical specialties, allowing novel ideas flourish and contributing to transformative advancements.

The AO's four-step formula for success

1. Your idea for improving patient care or surgeon education should:

  • Provide an innovative solution to a real clinical/educational problem
  • Have the potential to be patent protected
  • Be driven by your plan, passion, and determination to make it happen
  • Be suitable to scale

2. We support you with funding and expertise to navigate the complex landscape of intellectual property protection, development and manufacturing, regulatory approval, building clinical evidence, and an exit strategy.

3. You gain access to a global network of 520,000 health care professionals in the musculoskeletal field.

4. Together, we can make an impact by improving patient care and surgeon education.

We share the labor and its yield, to the benefit of all.

Bring your idea to life!

Anyone can apply by August 31, 2024

Learn about the process under the FAQ and if you still have questions, drop us an e-mail!

You can review the format here before applying below.


Success stories

AO's dedication to innovation is evident in our success stories. Innovators supported by the AO emerge as leaders in orthopedic solutions for surgeon education and use.
Successful projects showcase how our innovation funding turns visionary concepts into impactful realities, reinforcing our commitment to successful outcomes. A selection of these projects include:

  • Digitally enhanced hands-on surgical training (DEHST), a patented optical tracking technology that is now the cornerstone for a new generation of cost-effective, transportable, and digitally augmented training station for hands-on surgical training
  • OSapp, AO’s interactive, virtual osteosynthesis software tool and learning platform
  • Momentum Health, a smartphone app empowering scoliosis patients to manage the condition
  • Biphasic Plate Distal Femur, a newly “AO Approved” plate design to improve fracture stabilization and healing
  • Distal Radius Intramedullary Nail, a solution for the fixation of unstable extraarticular fractures




Michael Schütz

"A perfect place to look for innovation is where you see challenges."

Michael Schütz - Technology Transfer Board Chairperson

Latest innovation success stories

  • Innovation
    Latest News
    March 09, 2018

    Latest News

    The AO Development Incubator supports the ORS Business Plan Competition
  • Innovation
    Innovation at the AO
    March 20, 2017

    Innovation at the AO

    The AO Development Incubator is the latest AO innovation initiative to launch