“A bree­ding ground for ide­as” – this is how the Lüne­burg In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor could be de­scri­bed. The In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor was a re­se­arch-dri­ven pro­ject for re­gio­nal de­ve­lop­ment. With this pro­ject, Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty of Lüne­burg and the Ger­man fe­deral sta­te of Lo­wer Sa­x­o­ny streng­the­ned the re­se­arch and eco­no­mic po­ten­ti­al of the for­mer go­vern­men­tal Lüne­burg district. From Au­gust 2009 un­til July 2015 sci­ence and in­dus­try worked to­ge­ther. The fo­cus was main­ly on three fiel­ds: di­gi­tal me­dia, health and sustainable en­er­gy.

45 Projekte werden von 14. August 2009 bis 31. Juli 2015 im Inkubator umgesetzt, aktuell von rund 250 Wissenschaftlern.

As a re­sult a nas­cent re­gio­nal in­no­va­ti­on sys­tem has emer­ged, the Or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on for Eco­no­mic Co-ope­ra­ti­on and De­ve­lop­ment (OECD) ack­now­led­ged the pro­ject’s achie­ve­ments in the stu­dy „Les­sons lear­ned from the Lüne­burg In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor". In­no­va­ti­on play­ers were in­no­va­ti­ve busi­ness start-ups, new net­works for re­se­arch and know­ledge sharing, co­ope­ra­ti­ons with in­ter­na­tio­nal com­pa­nies and NGOs and a sustainable in­fra­struc­tu­re for con­ti­nuing the­se ac­tivi­ties. Mo­re­o­ver, the In­cu­ba­tor hel­ped to fur­ther im­pro­ve on Leu­pha­na’s edu­ca­tio­nal ap­proach; es­pe­cial­ly Leu­pha­na Pro­fes­sio­nal School and Di­gi­tal School crea­ted a pionee­ring learning en­vi­ron­ment. Click here to read the complete study by the OECDS 


More than 550 ad­di­tio­nal sci­en­tists were re­crui­ted by the In­cu­ba­tor. A to­tal of 45 in­no­va­ti­ve pro­jects with about 600 part­ners was im­ple­men­ted. Sup­port for the es­ta­blish­ment of more than 60 in­no­va­ti­ve busi­ness start-ups was pro­vi­ded. About 420 jobs were se­cu­red or crea­ted in the re­gi­on. More than 80 the­ma­tic events in­vol­ved more than 8 300 lo­cal en­tre­pre­neurs, em­ployees and de­ve­lop­ment ac­tors. 

In June 2015, at the In­cu­ba­tor’s of­fi­ci­al clo­sing ce­re­mo­ny at Lüne­burg, the Pri­me Mi­nis­ter of Lo­wer Sa­x­o­ny Ste­phan Weil, the Chair­man of the Ma­na­ging Board of the Ger­man Fe­deral Em­ploy­ment Agen­cy Frank-Jürgen Wei­se and the De­pu­ty Se­creta­ry Ge­ne­ral of the Or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on for Eco­no­mic Co-ope­ra­ti­on and De­ve­lop­ment Ste­fan Kap­fe­rer ack­now­led­ged the In­cu­ba­tor’s achie­ve­ments in buil­ding know­ledge bridges bet­ween sci­ence and eco­no­my.

Video Series: How did economy and society benefit?

What ide­as, me­thods, pro­ducts and ser­vices have been de­ve­l­o­ped wi­t­hin the In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor? Who does be­ne­fit from them? And how do things go on? En­tre­pre­neurs, foun­ders, re­pre­sen­ta­ti­ves of as­so­cia­ti­ons and scho­lars an­s­wer the­se ques­ti­ons in the vi­deo se­ries “In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor: Voices from the Re­gi­on”.

Burkhardt Funk

How can com­pa­nies op­ti­mi­ze their se­arch en­gi­ne ad­ver­ti­sing? In col­la­bo­ra­ti­on with the lo­cal agen­cy web-netz, Burk­hardt Funk, vice pre­si­dent of the Leu­pha­na, and his co-workers came up with an an­s­wer to this ques­ti­on wi­t­hin the In­cu­ba­tor pro­ject “SEM-A2“.

Andreas Ebert

First the­re was an idea: short ex­pla­na­to­ry vi­de­os made with stop trick ani­ma­ti­on that sim­pli­fy com­plex to­pics. Foun­der An­dre­as Ebert re­counts how this idea tur­ned into the Lüne­burg com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons agen­cy ex­plaini­ty with the help of the In­cu­ba­tor.

Mathias Fuchs

The city tour game “Lüne­burg 3D” of­fers new per­spec­tives on the old Han­sea­tic city. Ma­thi­as Fuchs, su­per­vi­sor of the In­cu­ba­tor pro­ject “Art and Ci­vic Me­dia” and ma­na­ger of the in­ter­na­tio­nal ga­mes con­fe­rence Di­GRA 2015, talks about the game’s de­ve­lop­ment.

Jessica Zeller

A foun­der nee­ds sup­port. Foun­der Jes­si­ca Zel­ler re­counts how her young com­pa­ny was sup­por­ted by the In­cu­ba­tor when star­ting Ed­ki­mo. And she ex­plains the idea be­hind Ed­ki­mo: a feed­back app for school les­sons.

Oliver Opel

In­cu­ba­tor re­se­ar­chers de­ve­l­o­ped an op­ti­mi­zed heat sto­r­a­ge sys­tem: the “Ther­mal Bat­te­ry”. It sa­tis­fies the de­mand for warm wa­ter and heat in sin­gle-fa­mi­ly or mul­ti-fa­mi­ly ho­mes more cost-ef­fec­tive­ly and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly-fri­end­ly and it re­qui­res less space than tra­di­tio­nal sys­tems. En­vi­ron­men­tal re­se­ar­cher and foun­der Oli­ver Opel ex­plains the re­a­sons why.

Jörg Krüger

Tar­get groups, re­sour­ces, risks – the busi­ness exe­cu­ti­ve of the Cel­le IT spe­cia­list Del­ta plus, Jörg Krüger, ana­ly­zed the busi­ness mo­del of the geo­ther­mal pro­duct Geo­Cool in co­ope­ra­ti­on with re­se­ar­chers from the In­cu­ba­tor. He found the re­se­ar­chers of the pro­ject “Sustainable Busi­ness Mo­dels” to be “ex­tre­me­ly prac­tical”.

Heide Oberbeck

Does a sto­r­a­ge quar­ter in Rit­ter­hu­de make sen­se? Le­gal, tech­ni­cal and busi­ness ex­perts dealt with this ques­ti­on wi­t­hin the In­cu­ba­tor pro­ject “En­ER­gi­oN” on be­half of the Os­ter­holz pu­blic uti­li­ty com­pa­ny. “The Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty is es­pe­cial­ly good at brin­ging to­ge­ther all the sta­ke­hol­ders”, says Hei­de Ober­beck from the pu­blic uti­li­ty com­pa­ny. Ac­cor­ding to her, that is a spe­cial com­pe­tence: “For the most part, in­ves­ti­ga­ti­ons only take into ac­count one per­spec­tive.”

Holger Dannenberg

“From eco-freak to sustaina­bi­li­ty pioneer”: busi­ness exe­cu­ti­ve of Werk­haus, Hol­ger Dan­ne­berg, dealt with is­su­es of sustaina­bi­li­ty in SMEs in se­veral work­shops. Now his com­pa­ny pu­blis­hes a re­port on sustaina­bi­li­ty and pur­su­es a new com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on stra­te­gy.

Joachim Schwerdtfeger

Cor­ro­si­on in pipes and wa­ter sys­tems cau­ses im­men­se costs for in­dus­tri­al com­pa­nies. In­cu­ba­tor re­se­ar­chers and the sen­sor ma­nu­fac­tu­rer Fra­na­tech worked to­ge­ther to de­ve­lop the ear­ly warning sys­tem “Fe­Quan” to pre­dict the­se kinds of da­mages. Com­pa­nies may save up to 25 per­cent of their costs for wa­ter tre­at­ment, ex­plain Joa­chim Schwerdtfe­ger and Mi­chel Mas­son from Fra­na­tech.

Siegfried Ziegert

A raw ma­te­ri­als stra­te­gy for re­gio­nal com­pa­nies: Sieg­fried Zie­gert, di­rec­tor of the Exe­cu­ti­ve De­part­ment of Eco­no­mic De­ve­lop­ment, Coun­ty of Os­ter­holz, and co­or­di­na­tor of AR­TIE, in­tro­du­ces the net­work “Raw Ma­te­ri­al Sour­ce:Pro­duct”. The In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor is one of the in­itia­tors of the pro­ject.

Clemens Mader

Cle­mens Ma­der, vi­sit­ing pro­fes­sor for re­gio­nal en­vi­ron­ment and sustaina­bi­li­ty, de­ve­l­o­ped sustaina­bi­li­ty stra­te­gies in co­ope­ra­ti­on with the juice com­pa­ny Vo­el­kel, the bak­e­ry Din­kel­meis­ter, and the Cham­ber of Crafts Braun­schweig-Lüne­burg-Sta­de.

Colette Bomnüter

How can craft busi­nes­ses be­co­me more sustainable? Colet­te Bomnüter of the Cham­ber of Crafts Braun­schweig-Lüne­burg-Sta­de and the Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty of Lüne­burg loo­ked into this is­sue. The me­thod they came up with is now being of­fe­red as part of the con­sul­ting.