Berlin Innovation Study Tour

October 24 to 28, 2016


Organized by a handful of Bosch Fellowship alumni and select members of the Transatlantic Core Group, the Berlin Innovation Study Tour is an invite-only tour for founders, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, journalists and executives to learn about the innovation and startup sector in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is one of the most exciting international startup scenes.  Our goal is to unite like-minded individuals to explore cross-border opportunities. The goal: a lifelong bond with fellow travelers, a wealth of new friends and business contacts in an exploding technology market, and a stronger appreciation for the cultural and economic ties that bind us globally.


10 Innovators from the United States and dozens of high-level innovators from across Berlin and Europe.

Why A Study Tour of Berlin:

As entrepreneurs and founders, the organizers believe in exposure to different ways of approaching startups and innovation.  German innovation focuses on very deep technical expertise, which allows even small German firms to become market leaders in very narrow segments.  In Berlin, frequently mentioned as one of Germany’s emerging tech hubs, this innovation also occurs in a series of informal Innovation Districts.  Yet, these Innovation Districts take on a very different appearance than their American counterparts.    Much of the technical expertise and market leadership demonstrated by Berlin’s tech giants, such as Zalando, SE and Soundcloud, is fueled by a world-renowned creative community, which thrives in the hyper-connected, dense, affordable and tolerant environments found in Berlin’s central city and neighborhoods.

The United States is well-known for generating successful rapid growth companies.  Yet, much of this growth has remained at the fringes of urban areas.  Nonetheless, a shift is underway. Innovation in the United States is beginning to cluster in dense, urban areas.  This innovation within Innovation Districts is often driven by anchor institutions, including universities, hospitals and large corporate tech centers.

This study tour will bring participants from the US to Germany for a three-day tour in October of 2016.  This trip will include site visits, expert panels, speaker dinners, and intimate networking activities.  Participants will be asked to also contribute to the transatlantic dialog through a panel discussion open to the German entrepreneurial community.  We aim that participants will:

  • Have the opportunity to get inside look at the German innovation sector and meet key stakeholders at startups and throughout the companies and organizations to support them
  • Engaged in peer to peer learning and network building with the other participants on the trip
  • Have the opportunity to have published work from the trip shared widely within the Bosch Foundation community and beyond

Program Dates:

Arrival: Evening of Monday, October 24th
Program: Tuesday, October 24 – Thursday, October 27
Departure: Friday, October 28th

The Program in Detail:

Arriving Monday evening for a group dinner, you will participate in 3 intense days of meeting, networking and collaborating with the best and the brightest from Berlin’s startup scene. Each day will be jam-packed with interactive and collaborative meetings, tours, chats and meals. The Berlin Innovation Study Tour will be organized to provide a maximum amount of collaboration and connection between participants. Specific in-depth topics will be announced as they become available.

What’s Included:

  • Up to $700 airfare credit
  • Housing for the 4 nights of the program
  • Most meals
  • Transportation within Berlin
  • Access to Berlin’s cutting-edge innovators, technologists and thinkers
  • Alumni Group

What’s Not Included:

  • International Insurance of any kind
  • Airport transfers
  • Baggage check fees
  • Some meals
  • Reimbursements for airfare above $700

berlin tourWhat’s Expected:

  • Each participant will be required to be engaged and serve as an active contributor during the trip.  We want you to make lasting collaborative relationships with other fellows and professional contacts that you meet on the ground in Berlin.  Participants are required to be insatiably curious, eager to plug into an exclusive and cultivated network of professionals, and committed to fostering a transatlantic dialogue on innovation.
  • In exchange for acceptance as a Fellow, participants will be required to complete a writing assignment (theme to be determined) within two weeks of trip completion.
  • We aim to produce a “next steps” paper focusing on ways in which innovation sectors of Berlin and the United States can collaborate over the next year.  It will be published in the Fall of 2016.

Participant Selection:

Ideal participants are current/former entrepreneurs or members of the innovation ecosystem such as startup founders, investors, accelerator or incubator management, and innovation policy/strategy experts or journalists.  Applicants should have a strong desire to advance transatlantic relationships between American and German entities and see innovation as an opportunity to do so. Following a nomination process and application, approximately 10 attendees will be invited to join the tour.  You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • An American citizen
  • Willing to develop or share documented content to be publicly shared on social media and other channels about what you learn on the study tour
  • Willing to speak on a panel during the tour about your work in the innovation sector
  • Willing to be reimbursed for travel expenses (airfare)

To Apply:

RBFAA_logo_circle_2016_FAAbout the RBFAA

Since 1984, the Robert Bosch Foundation  Fellowship Program has enabled over 440 young American professionals to aquire an in-depth understanding of the political, economic, and cultural environment of Germany and Europe. The nine-month program consists of three seminars across Europe and two work phases, during which fellows complete high level professional placements in major German institutions in the public and private sectors. Seven months of German language training in the U.S. and Berlin are also provided
prior to the start of the program in September. Bosch Fellows are competitively chosen from the fields of business administration, journalism, law, public policy, international relations, and closely related areas.  When the first group of fellows returned from Germany 1985, they formed the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association (RBFAA) – a vibrant professional network through which alumni stay informed on issues relevant to transatlantic relations.  The RBFAA holds annual meetings that feature prominent guests from both Germany and United States. The organization also sponsors regional events to promote ongoing German-American dialogue on a broad spectrum of sociopolitical issues.

TACCAbout the Transatlantic Core Group

Under the motto “Rebuilding Transatlantic Trust,” the BMW Foundation together with the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based Atlantic Council, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs wants to initiate an innovative and open dialogue on revitalizing the transatlantic relations. The process shall be driven and owned by the Transatlantic Core Group: young leaders from all sectors and regions in Germany and the United States who work towards and promote the transatlantic partnership without ideological blinders.

Bosch StiftungAbout the Robert Bosch Stiftung

The Robert Bosch Stiftung is one of the major German foundations associated with a private company and has managed the philanthropic bequest of company founder Robert Bosch for over 50 years. Indeed it was his entrepreneurial vision, political farsightedness, moral fortitude and charitable initiatives that set the standards for the work of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

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