Shape the future of production in life science industry

Be part of the fourth industrial revolution in life science production!

We at Bayer are fascinated with the rapid advancements in technology. Let's join our world-class production skills and your innovative ideas in robotics in this challenge to make an impact to the whole life science industry.

#1 Robotic Competition

Submission is closed, thanks everyone who participated!
We have selected the 6 finalist teams who are preparing for the final competition now.


The challenge

With the Grants4Tech robotic challenge, Bayer aims to strengthen the bond between the Lifescience industry and academic robotic research communities and enthusiasts. We aim for a complete new class of applications based on modern robotics.

The task: sampling of powder for quality control from a drum of incoming raw materials is done hundreds of times a day at each of our multiple sites worldwide. Solving this challenge will have a disruptive impact to future operations and robotic applications.

You are challenged to use robotic hardware and develop the software to open the drums and the inner bag. The step of filling the sample into the bottle is explicitly not core of the challenge but optional. Anyhow the more steps the robot executes successfully, the higher the ranking in the final.

Steps to fulfill

Bayer will provide you two different drum sizes. During the challenge presentation all steps will be fulfilled with one drum picked by Bayer.

    • Break the seal
    • Open the clamping ring *
    • Securely place the clamping ring aside *
    • Securely place the lid aside *

* These steps are mandatory

This step includes cutting the cable strap.

    • Cut the cable strap *
    • Place it aside *
    • Open the bag *

* These steps are mandatory

  • Take a spoon
  • Take a sample (minimum 20g)
  • Put the sample into the sampling container
  • Securely place the lid on the sampling container
  • Put the spoon and sample away
  • Grab and close the bag
  • Attach a new cable strap to inner bag
  • Push down the closed inner bag
  • Take lid
  • Put the lid on the drum
  • Replace the clamping ring on the drum
  • Apply a new seal

*Steps marked with an asterisk are mandatory


Flexibility of automation with respect to the size of the drum and the position of the inlets is explicit a relevant guiding criteria in all phases of the competition.

For more information about provided materials and other important questions have a look at our FAQs.
To learn more about specific challenge conditons download our factsheet here:

Rules & Prizes


What's in it for you?

Six finalist teams will have the chance to present their solution in the finalist competition. The top three will receive an award of 40.000€, 20.000€ and 15.000€ respectively.
A further 10.000 € will be awarded to each three remaining finalists.

In case of outstanding innovative solutions or parts of it, the sponsor will reward it with a special award.

Further collaboration & implementation of your solution

In case of a promising and convincing solution, Bayer will aim to implement it in its facilities within a reasonable time. To achieve this target we think that the most effective way is through a partnership among University, third party solution providers and Bayer.

Finalist Competition Event & Award Ceremony

May 10-12 2017, CUBE Tech Fair
Present your results at our finalist event in Berlin!

You will get the chance to showcase your robotic solution in front of representatives from key industry leaders, startups and institutions at the CUBE Tech Fair in Berlin May 10-12.

CUBE is a global innovation ecosystem that connects all the dots in today’s industry.


Deadline September 30th 2016

Please use our online submission form and include title, a detailed description of your proposed solution and a high level plausible project plan.

We expect carefully thought projects rather than ideas. You and your team should be able to develop the proposed solution. There are no restrictions on platforms or technologies.

Please do NOT submit any proprietary or confidential information or source code. You can upload a files to the submission to be more explicit.

Until Mid-October 2016

All submissions will be reviewed by the Bayer Grants4Tech team, and six finalist teams will be selected to take part in the competition and the finalist event.

The selection decision is made at the entire discretion of Bayer without any obligation to justify it or to give reasons.

We will inform all participants of our decision. If your submission is selected we will provide you with the materials to be handled.

Mid-October 2016 until end of April 2017

We will be in regular exchange with you to accompany your development. We give our support when needed including questions to the task. We will also visit the teams on site.

Cube Tech Fair Berlin, May 10-12 2017

All 6 finalist will be invited to present their solution around the Cube Start-up fair in Berlin. Costs for travel, accommodation and transport will be covered by Bayer. Details of the finalist event and award ceremony will be given in due time.

The Finalists

Team Iviso

Iviso GmbH, Wien
Team lead: Nicolas Thorstensen

Team Laial

Loccioni Group & Italian Institute of Technology IIT
Team lead: Cristina Cristalli

Team Drummie

Division of Production Engineering, Machine Design and Automation, KU Leuven
Team lead: Dr. Wilm Decré

Team Fass

Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, RWTH Aachen University
Team lead: Dr.-Ing. Walter Kimmelmann

Team Robodev

robodev GmbH, Karlsruhe
Team lead: Dr.-Ing. Andreas Bihlmaier

Team Franka

Institute of Automatic Control, Leibniz-University Hannover & Franka Emika GmbH
Team lead: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sami Haddadin

Industry partners

Partnering with industry technology suppliers in this competition is highly recommended, and we are proud to present you our collaborating partners published below. You can contact them directly. This list will be continuously updated with robotic manufacturers, suppliers of vision systems and specialists for gripper technology. We are also happy to share our extended network of contacts with you, feel free to contact us depending on your needs.

More open innovation by Bayer


Bayer offers a unique incubator for startup life-science companies whose drug targets and technologies align with Bayer's interests.

Visit Website

Bayer offers a unique incubator for startup life-science companies whose drug targets and technologies align with Bayer's interests.

Visit Website

Bayer offers financial support to evaluate your antibody or derivate and to promote its exploration for a potential new drug development.

Visit Website

Meet the Grants4Tech team

Twitter Avatar Grants4tech
Bayer Grants4Tech