Science Award

Apple, Google or Amazon – the story of these three tech companies began in a garage. So that’s where the ideas that can change the world are born. That’s why there were real innovations to be discovered at the Places _ VR Festival in the underground car park of the science park.

Especially in research and universities, the potential of these technologies is developing rapidly in terms of extended reality. This is where the pulse of the times beats when it comes to XR. For the presentation of the DIVR Science Award, the German Institute for Virtual Reality (DIVR) in cooperation and the Places _ VR Festival are annually looking for the most innovative applications and concepts of German universities.

20 teams from all over Germany were nominated for the DIVR Science Award. Of these, 14 universities made their way to Gelsenkirchen and presented their ideas and projects during the festival days in the underground car park of the Science Park. The award ceremony took place on the Saturday of the festival in the Places _ Studio with Markus Rall (DIVR). Rall, who himself is the founder of a VR company and chairman of the DIVR, is pleased to make scientific achievements in the field of AR and VR visible with the award and to be able to honour them.

Award Winner 2020

University Potsdam

University Potsdam

The prize in the category Best Tech goes to the VR Paint Shop ("VR Lackierwerkstatt") of the Chair for Complex Multimedia Application Architectures at the University of Potsdam. With the HandLeVR project, the team is investigating the use and technical design of a virtual reality paint shop as a training tool in professional vehicle painting training. The jury is convinced and praises the open source approach of the developers from Potsdam, who work in close cooperation with many partners from practice.

University of Applied Sciences  Kiel

University of Applied Sciences Kiel

The project with the greatest potential for social impact is awarded in the category Best Impact. The prize goes to Tim Waldron, student at the FH Kiel. He wins with his project VR Eye Tracking in Parkinson Research. The jury around Markus Rall agrees: “The impact of the prototype on society can be enormous. The VR application and the Virtual Reality Eye Tracking should help to analyze eye movement, which is used in neurogeriatric Parkinson research.

Hochschule Neu-Ulm

Hochschule Neu-Ulm

This category honors the most creative approach and use of extended reality. The team from the University of Applied Sciences Neu-Ulm around Barbara Dannenmann convinced the jury with a virtual negotiation training and the combination of AI and VR. The application “Virtual Negotiation Training – Beat the Bot” is about a negotiation training element for blended learning. The aim of the application is to experience a negotiation situation in the form of a pitch and to learn the optimal negotiation style in a highly competitive sales negotiation for capital goods.


Watch the whole award show again


Nominated for the category “best concept”

VR Experience

Berlin University of Applied Sciences

Making the convergence and divergence of virtual and “real” reality tangible.

Virtuelles Verhandlungstraining -Beat the Bot

Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences
Competence center for growth and sales strategies

Negotiation training element for blended learnings.


Kassel University
Art Studies

Realize exhibitions via Virtual Reality interactively and immersively.

Ether Sense Mixed Reality

Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences
department of design

Concept for a mixed reality app including glasses and haptic gloves for 3D modeling.

Heb@AR: Augmented Reality Training für Hebammen

University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer

Preparation and follow-up of practical training in midwifery education.

Nominated for the category “best impact”

Virtual Energy Hero

ZHAW School of Engineering

VR-experience of sustainability issues.


University Siegen
Faculty of Life Sciences
Chair of Medical Informatics and Microsystems Design

Supportive therapy for substance addiction disorders.

Change by VR

Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg
Faculty of Human Sciences and Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science

Understand VR as a new and innovative intervention and thus reduce the attitude-behavior gap.

Beyond Exhibition

Mainz University of Applied Sciences
Department of

Cross-platform VR exhibition for simultaneous interaction and communication.

Visualisierung und Erkundung postindustrieller Ruhrgebiets-Standorte

Ruhr University Bochum
Faculty of Earth Sciences

Interactive VR-supported 3D environments in urban and landscape planning to support decision-making processes.


Westphalian University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen,
Department of Computer Science and Communication

Making the current problems around the educational situation in Africa visible.

Virtual Reality Eye Tracking in der Parkinsonforschung

Kiel University of Applied Sciences,
Media and building industry

Analysis of eye movement for neurogeriatric Parkinson research.

Nominated for the category “best tech”

Visual Cues

Westfälische Hochschule
University of Applied Sciences
Department of Computer Science and Communication

Support of human visual perception when controlling a robotic arm through augmented reality.


University of Potsdam
Chair for Complex Multimedia Application Architectures

VR paint shop as a training tool in the professional vehicle painting training.

Augmented Reality Content Management System

Ruhr University Bochum
Mechanical Engineering, Digital Engineering

Create, maintain and carry out AR instructions for experiments in a university teaching environment without prior knowledge.

Plenoxis & ALL-Chemie

University of Merseburg
Department of Engineering and Natural Sciences

Initiation of a playful, sustainable and entertaining learning process.

Madrague de Giens

Mainz University
Department of Design

Virtual dive to a wreck excavation.

Pingunauten Trainer

University Duisburg-Essen

Preparing children playfully for an examination in the MRT.



Susanne Ahmadseresht


Susanne Ahmadseresht works as a project developer at the VR production company VRTUAL X and is deputy chairwoman of NextReality Hamburg e.V. an association for strengthening Hamburg as an innovative location for future topics.


Rahel Demant


Rahel Demant is co-founder and COO of VR First, a global program that provides state-of-the-art facilities for creative professionals and educators interested in exploring the power and potential of virtual reality development. In 2019 was also one of the founders of the XR Bootcamp in Berlin.


Tim Mittelstaedt


Tim Mittelstaedt is the founder of timmersive with headquarters in Hannover and Berlin. In addition to his work as a lecturer for Virtual Reality Marketing, he drives projects of the VR scene in Lower Saxony as coordinator for digitization at the region of Hanover and co-organizer of the HANNOVR conference.


Lukas Best

Lukas Best is managing partner of Streamdust.tv UG. After initial career steps in classical television, he founded the livestreaming platform, which specializes in the monetization via pay-per-view of livestreams and video content. Since the beginning of 2019, he has been managing director of EDFVR (First German Virtual Reality Association).


Markus Rall


Markus Rall founded the VR company viality in Dortmund in 2008, with which he offers VR solutions for companies ranging from medium-sized businesses to DAX corporations. He is also chairman of the DIVR.


Who can join in?

Individuals or teams from a university environment (university, FH, private university) can apply. This could be, for example, a VR laboratory belonging to a university chair, a learning group of students or a start-up that is currently preparing its spin-off from a university. The decisive factor here is the claim to scientifically deal with the topic of extended reality. It is not a requirement that all team members are enrolled at a university.

Which projects can be submitted?

Of interest are all projects dealing with VR, AR, XR, MR or mixed forms. A prerequisite is that the application or hardware is headset-based or can be played on a headset. Market-ready products are allowed as well as experimental prototypes. The latter are expressly desired, but it is important that they can be tested by third parties as a “proof of concept”.
A high degree of immersion and/or interaction is desired. Pure 360° videos without interaction possibilities are excluded from the competition.

What do I do if I am unsure whether my project meets all the necessary requirements?

Basically: an application always makes sense! Even if you have doubts whether the project meets all the requirements. Should the jury not nominate the project for the shortlist, we will find an attractive presentation opportunity for you at the Places _ Festival.

Can I submit a project a second time, even if I already participated in last year's competition?

It is of course possible to participate again with the same or extended or revised project. We are looking forward to having you with us again!

How do the nomination and evaluation of projects proceed?

First, all applications are checked for completeness. At the end of the application period (May 4th) the nomination jury (experts of the DIVR and Places _ VR Festival) will create a shortlist of the best entries. The best competition entries (shortlist) will have the opportunity to present their applications to the expert jury and a large audience at the Places _ Virtual Reality Festival (Fri, 21. & Sat, 22.08.2020). For this purpose, the teams will be provided with an exhibition space in the Science Park Gelsenkirchen free of charge (incl. electricity and internet). The teams organise the technology, travel to and from the exhibition, assembly and dismantling as well as personnel independently. All competition entries must be accessible and testable for the expert jury on Fri 21.08.2020, only then do the projects have a chance to be awarded.

In which categories are prizes awarded?
  • best concept
    Awards are given for the most innovative approach, the most creative use of extended reality or the most exciting experiment in the competition. The evaluation focuses on the best mental performance.
  •  best impact
    The prize is awarded to the project with the greatest potential to initiate or accelerate social change. Which project has the greatest social, economic, ecological or scientific relevance? Prototypes must already make this potential comprehensible.
  • best tech
    The award is given to the application or product that stands out due to a convincing implementation. The jury is looking for something special in the implementation, conceivable are: very good technical quality, high degree of technological innovation, unique aesthetics, resource-saving execution and much more.
  • Special prize “Gamechanger”
    The special prize is awarded to projects that the jury believes have the potential to bring about fundamental changes in a specific segment. The special prize will only be awarded if there are outstanding competition entries.

The public award ceremony will take place at the end of the Places _ VR Festival on Saturday evening, 22.08.2020 in a dignified setting.
The applicants* do not determine for which category they apply. An application is automatically valid for all prizes mentioned here.

Why participate, what is there to win?

The winners in the four categories best concept, best impact, best tech and special prize “Gamechanger” will be awarded with a trophy designed by an artist especially for the DIVR Science Award. No prize money will be distributed. The winning teams will receive further non-cash prizes sponsored by the Volksbank Ruhr-Mitte.
By participating in the DIVR Science Award you will also have the opportunity to exchange and network with other universities, experts and entrepreneurs. We also offer you and your project a free presentation opportunity.

What happens if the DIVR Science Award on August 21 and 22 cannot be held as a face-to-face event in Gelsenkirchen as planned due to corona measures?

Despite the current restrictions due to the corona pandemic, the prize will definitely be awarded this year. The best research projects will receive the coveted DIVR Science Award on August 21 and 22 at the Places _ Virtual Reality Festival. This will also take place in an appropriate form in any case.

“A perfect reality check for my prototype!”

How Eike Langbehn went from award winner to start-up founder

In 2019 Dr. Eike Langbehn won the DIVR Science Award in the category “best concept” with his “SpaceWalk” demo. This year he his startup “Curvature Games” is nominated for the StartUp-Pitch at the Places _ VR Festival. We talked to him and asked him how he experienced the DIVR Science Award and what happened afterwards.


The DIVR is a non-profit association operating on a national level, which deals with the chances and risks of XR technologies (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, mixed forms). It initiates forums and relies on these impulses to ensure the responsible implementation of XR-Tech in the German economy and society. In addition, it acts as a curator of knowledge about the subject area and makes it available.

The Volksbank Ruhr-Mitte supports the DIVR Science Award with material prizes in all categories

Do you have questions about the DIVR Science Award?

Contact Roman now, he is your contact person for the DIVR Science and answers all your questions.