Innovation Incubator Project on the Road to Success

Nearly 90% of funds already earmarked – Structural Commission resolves to focus on core areas of health and digital media

Lüneburg/Hanover. The Innovation Incubator of Leuphana University of Lüneburg has made tremendous progress over the last few months. Nearly 90% of the funds totaling approximately 85 million Euro have already been earmarked for specific projects; more than 25 project measures have already been initiated. Four new projects with a volume of nearly 10 million Euro have now been approved by a six-member Structural Committee of the German Federal State of Lower Saxony, chaired by Dr. Josef Lange, Academic Undersecretary of State in Hanover. This project, being the largest development project of its kind in Europe, will focus on the core areas of health and digital media.

Within the scope of the Innovation Incubator, internationally staffed research teams will examine sustainable services and business ideas that are best suited to create new companies and jobs in the former Administrative District of Lüneburg. More than 70 enterprises from eleven rural districts within the Lüneburg region are already participating in the project. First spin-offs and start-ups of companies are expected for this year.

Holm Keller, Vice President of Leuphana University of Lüneburg and Head of the Incubator, is content with the recent development. What had been achieved so far went far beyond people’s expectations. “Focusing on two core topics gives the Incubator more clout. This way we are pursuing a promising development strategy for the region. ” The University would also benefit from the project. Several sub-measures of the Innovation Incubator had already resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of research and teaching. The new international science co-operations provided a unique opportunity for the University to score points in the competition for students and academic staff. By now, more than 130 new staff members are working for the Innovation Incubator at Leuphana.

The latest meeting of the Structural Commission centered on applications regarding the health topic. The Lüneburg Incubator hereby addresses a key problem of society, namely the cost explosion in the health care sector, which is due primarily to the rapid ageing of the population. It is estimated that health care expenses will double within the next 50 years. This is why a few research projects within the scope of the Innovation Incubator examine the question of how to establish a fair, high quality, yet affordable health care system. The research projects aim at developing new and better ways of providing health care. To this end, the Structural Committee has approved the launching of three new research groups. They will deal with the treatment of patients suffering from chronic diseases, with the prevention of work-related diseases, and with out-patient rehabilitation of stroke patients. The objective is to encourage companies providing such services to settle in the Convergence Region.

In the field of digital media, researchers address the dramatic changes in media production and media consumption. They try to find out what the future of television, i.e. the production and consumption of motion pictures, will look like against the background of increased use of the Internet. Television viewers themselves could become producers in the future. This is made possible thanks to the widespread availability of Internet access and new cost-efficient technologies for mobile online devices and video production. The Television 2.0 Competence Tandem already started working on this topic in 2010. During its next meeting, the Structural Committee will discuss the approval of further Competence Tandems in this area.

Despite focusing on two core topics, the Structural Commission intends to launch projects in the future that fall beyond the range of these topics, provided that they are particularly promising. This is why the Structural Commission gave the go-ahead for a Competence Tandem promoting the development of a thermal battery to store energy.

Members of the Structural Commission of the Federal State of Lower Saxony:

Dr. Josef Lange, State Secretary of the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony in Hanover, Chairman

Frank-Jürgen Weise, Head of the German Federal Labor Agency

Prof. Dr. Dieter Imboden, President of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Fund and the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs)

Prof. Dr. Manfred Prenzel, Dean of the Technical University of Munich/School of Education, recipient of the Susanne Klatten Foundation Professorship for Empirical Educational Research at the Technical University of Munich, and national project manager of PISA studies in 2003, 2006 and 2012

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kluge, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Haniel & Cie. GmbH

Sir Peter Jonas
, cultural manager and director of opera, State Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich from 1993 to 2006