Funding and grant initiatives

ZEISS promotes newcomers in the natural sciences, from preschool children right up to PhD students, as well as social and cultural projects, initiatives and facilities at its various sites.

ZEISS has established the Education and Science Fund and the Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund to meet these obligations. Over the past six years, more than 700 projects were promoted with over 5 million euros.

Find out more by consulting the Notes on sponsorship and apply for sponsorship for your project (only available in German).

Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund

The Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund was established in 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of the reunification of the East and West German parts of the company. The aim was to promote regional projects at the individual sites. By setting up the Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund the company is pursuing a tradition that goes back to the establishment of the Carl Zeiss Foundation in 1889.

The Carl Zeiss Promotion Fund was initially set up at the company's main German sites in Jena, Oberkochen and Aalen. The sites in Göttingen and Wetzlar have been part of the funding program since 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Education and Science Fund

ZEISS also promotes cross-regional and international projects through a variety of Education and Science Fund initiatives. This includes initiatives to promote education among young people and their scientific skills, primarily following graduation, as well as focusing on projects and initiatives at universities and research institutes.

Thanks to the Education and Science Fund, the company is directly meeting its social and societal commitments to promote scientific and mathematical research and teaching.

  • Promotion on Location

    ZEISS supports digital classroom initiative

    In collaboration with SCHOTT and the school’s booster association, ZEISS is supporting the Otto Schott Gymnasium in Jena, Germany in its efforts to set up a digital classroom for science lessons. Together, the partners donated 13 ZEISS Primo Star microscopes to the school in 2016, one of which is equipped with a digital camera. The goal is that the microscopes will promote scientific education at the school and increase students’ enthusiasm for experimental work.

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    A microscope for the Wiesenweg daycare center

    At the end of January 2016, ZEISS President and CEO Dr. Michael Kaschke paid a visit to the Wiesenweg daycare center in Oberkochen. Kaschke presented the daycare center with a ZEISS stereo microscope and conducted experiments on optical phenomena with the kids; Wiesenweg is a place where scientific, mathematical and technical education play a key role in the pedagogical concept.

    Jena children’s and youth soccer foundation

    The Jena children’s and youth soccer foundation was established in 2011 to promote the soccer stars of tomorrow. The foundation organizes the qualification of trainers and coaches, soccer activities for preschool facilities and elementary schools, and an annual award for up-and-coming young athletes.

    Wheelchair basketball in Wetzlar

    The games played by the first team of the Lahn-Dill wheelchair basketball league is one of the most popular paralympic sports events in all of Germany. The team is therefore the flagship and official ambassador for the Wetzlar region.

    Children’s sports club in Aalen

    The first and only children’s sports club in and around Aalen offers kids between the ages of four and ten a qualified sports training program that appeals to them. Its diverse offering comprises classic school sports such as ball games, athletics and swimming, as well as modern-day leisure activities like slacklining und parkour.

    The "Musik macht schlau" network

    The Jena Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jena Philharmonic Society have launched a plethora of musical education activities for children and young people. The network has brought them all together.

    The fiftyFifty-Taxi in the local region

    For over 12 years now, the fiftyFifty-Taxi has been shuttling teens and young adults home safely and affordably; the service is available from 10 p.m. in the evening until 6 a.m. the next morning. The taxi can be paid for using the fiftyFifty coupons, which are valid without restrictions for the entire Ostalb region. Half of the costs are assumed by the project’s campaign partners.

    Donations for refugees

    As part of a donation campaign, ZEISS employees in Jena collected money for refugees from Syria and other war-torn areas. A total of 1,464 euros was raised, which the company topped up to 2,500 euros. The proceeds will go toward helping the refugees learn German and get to grips with the local culture. Further refugee donation campaigns were also organized at ZEISS.

    Gutenbach daycare center

    The Gutenbach daycare center in Oberkochen is open all day and welcomes kids between the ages of three and 12. It has been named a technology-friendly kindergarten thanks to its involvement in the TECHNOLINO project. The daycare center has partnered with elementary schools and the special education service for childhood education.

  • Commitment to education


    ZEISS and other sponsors from Jena have teamed up to promote a project for collaboration in and development of science and technology learning centers in Jena. The cooperative alliance, named witelo, pools the diverse school and extra-curricular offerings from the city, connects organizers and launches all-new projects.


    explorhino is a workshop of young researchers at the University of Aalen. explorhino brings together a number of different activities and offerings with a particular focus on inspiring children and young people to engage with science and technology. explorhino is available to children from the time they start kindergarten until they graduate from school.

    Green School

    The Green School is an educational nature institute in the botanical garden of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. It sees itself as a learning center outside the school setting and a place for students to spend their free time. Students of all ages can delight in a wide range of topics.


    XLAB, the Göttingen-based experimental laboratory for young people, is Germany’s largest student lab. Across four levels, students and teachers get the chance to conduct independent experiments in all the natural sciences and receive professional guidance as they do. The practical experiments at the XLAB afford insights into the latest scientific discoveries.

    jun.iversity summer camp

    Each year, the association Faszination Begabung e.V. organizes the jun.iversity summer camp. Particularly gifted and motivated students get the chance to look at topics of their own choosing together with their peers in a setting that’s far away from the classroom.

    The Um-Welthaus in Aalen

    The new Um-Welthaus (House of the Environment) at the adult education center in Aalen was designed as a center for global education and information on environmental matters. It unites various environmental protection and preservation courses and activities in the Aalen region; they include the Arbeitskreis Naturschutz Ostwürttemberg, the cooperative society “act for transformation”, the Aalen adult education center and the city of Aalen.

    Little Scientists’ House

    The Little Scientists’ House is Germany’s largest childhood education initiative and has been running since 2012/2013 in the Wetzlar region. The initiative is committed in particular to education in science, math and technology. Regular workshops and free teaching materials are just some of the things on offer.

    National Physics Competition

    The goal of the physics competition in Germany is to promote and challenge talented young physicists; it is aimed at school students. Experiments that focus on particular problems are intended to demonstrate the diversity of physics and thus boost interest in this branch of science.

    Highlights of Physics 2015

    The science festival was held in Jena in the International Year of Light. In line with the theme of ‘light games’, from 22 to 26 September 2015 everything revolved around light and optical technologies. As a festival partner, ZEISS put in an appearance with microscopy workshops, optical experiments and a range of different exhibits.

  • Commitment to science

    University of Applied Sciences, Jena

    The University of Applied Sciences in Jena was founded on 1 October 1991 and was the first establishment of its kind in the former East Germany. ZEISS enjoys a long-standing partnership with the institution. The goal of the collaboration is to ensure high-quality, hands-on training for young professionals.

    Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics

    The Karlsruhe School of Optics and Photonics (KSOP) offers Master’s and PhD programs in English that focus on light-based technologies. Its interdisciplinary structure enables it to promote top-level research and innovation.

    Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau

    The Nobel Laureate Meetings are held each year in the town of Lindau on Lake Constance. They focus primarily on promoting the next generation of leading scientists and help young researches from all over the world come into contact with the Nobel laureates and share their scientific knowledge.

    Photonics Academy

    The Photonics Academy at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering in Jena is a hands-on week for science and engineering students from across Germany. Participants have the chance to find out about research topics and areas of application for photonics at companies and institutes in and around Jena.

    The “From Photonics to Polaritonics 2016” conference

    The central theme of this international conference in Grenoble is light–matter interaction. In workshops, doctoral and post-doctoral students in particular are to receive a comprehensive introduction to the topic and find out about current research efforts.

  • Jugend forscht

    Jugend forscht

    ZEISS has been sponsoring Jugend forscht, Germany’s oldest and most famous young scientists competition, since 1998. Through the East Württemberg and Jena regional competitions, ZEISS provides the children and young people in these regions with a platform for the presentation of their scientific inquiries and projects.