Great time saving for applications for research projects

With an interactive personnel calculator app based on Microsoft Excel and Open as App the university greatly increases its efficiency for the applications for research projects.

At a glance – Open as App at Humboldt University

Humboldt University Diagram EN


Research and publications contribute to the reputation of the Humboldt University of Berlin. To achieve this, a wide organization must be managed.

More than 2,000 professors and their research assistants submit a large number of applications for research projects every year. Apart from the description of the research project, the budget is of central importance.

To ensure that all projects are adequately funded, the Research Service Centre examines the budgets of all applications. A large part of the expenses is detailed personnel costs. Up to now, professors have had to insert this from the public pay scale tables by hand – a time-consuming process.

“Around 2,000 professors and their staff apply for research funds each semester. All applications must be carefully reviewed. By using an app, the budget calculation is much faster, standardized, and always with up-to-date data.”

Dr. Christoph Raiser, Team Leader/Manager External Funding Research, Service Center Research of the Humboldt-University, Berlin

As this often involved overwriting existing applications or using outdated pay scale tables, the review and correction of applications were also time-consuming and required a great deal of communication between the applicant and the processor.


In order to make the application process for research projects more efficient, Humboldt University is taking a new approach. A standardized Excel spreadsheet lists all relevant data from standard wages to health insurance contributions. However, the Excel solution itself is too complex to be distributed directly.

Humboldt University

With the new app the personnel costs for applications of research projects are calculated.

With Open as App, the team of third-party funded research uses the existing spreadsheet to create an app in a short time that makes the complex calculation simple and user-friendly. The existing logic of the Excel file with formulas and dependencies is also available via the app and is displayed in such an optimal way that each user only sees and calculates the data he or she needs at the moment.

All details such as hourly duration, salary level or part-time employee are displayed.

After the calculation, the relevant data for the salary breakdown is broken down in detail. The app and data source remains connected so that every change in the Excel sheet is immediately available in the app.

The Humboldt University team can, therefore, continue working in the familiar Excel file while the professors access the user-friendly app.

“There are several thousand research proposals at Humboldt University each year. Even saving half an hour of time per project has an enormous impact. With Open as App, we can always distribute our data correctly and in a user-friendly manner and thus work much more efficiently.”

Dr. Christoph Raiser, Team Leader/Manager External Funding Research, Service Center Research of the Humboldt-University Berlin
Humboldt University

The personnel calculator app is embedded into the service websites of the Humboldt University


The personnel calculator app is well received by the professorial community. A large number of them now use the service website with the embedded app to calculate the costs of personnel requirements in research projects.

This significantly reduces the workload of the third-party funding teams when reviewing applications.

“The creation of apps with Open as App is just right for digitization at the university. Fast, uncomplicated, and cost-effective. We have received very positive feedback on the website and calculation app. It is easy and intuitive to use and provides optimal support for our internal organization.”

Dr. Christoph Raiser, Team Leader/Manager External Funding Research, Service Center Research of the Humboldt-University Berlin
Humboldt University

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The Humboldt University of Berlin (HU Berlin) was founded in 1809. The HU Berlin is one of the 20 largest universities in Germany and is considered a world-renowned university that has trained 29 Nobel Prize winners, among others. Humboldt University was included in the third funding line of the Excellence Initiative of the Federal and State Governments and thus ranks among the so-called elite universities in Germany. Learn more here.