E-nnovation Germany | The Newsletter for the German Center for Research and Innovation New York

Issue 4, July 2010
bulletPioneers Wanted: Universities, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation
bulletProfile: From Lab to Prototype - Rainer Martini
bulletInterview on the German Incubator Landscape
bulletOne-Stop Shop for Cleantech Startups: The Fraunhofer TechBridge Program
bulletInnovation: Production of Greener Cement to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Pioneers Wanted: Universities, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation 
On July 5th, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce presented their Gründerreport 2010 (as it is called in German), in which the Chambers documented an increased interest in startups in Germany. According to a recent Kauffman Foundation study, job growth in the United States is entirely driven by startups.
On both sides of the Atlantic, higher education institutions play a critical role in fostering entrepreneurial activities. The 2009 OECD report, Universities, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, analyzed strategy, resources, support infrastructure, entrepreneurship education and startup support of 20 initiatives that represent examples of good practices for entrepreneurial activities. These initiatives were developed by universities in Germany,  Finland, the UK, Poland,  South Africa, and the United States. However, as stated by scientist and entrepreneur Rainer Martini in his GCRI Profile, individual character traits, such as creativity and persistence, are also among the key elements for the realization of business ideas. In his GCRI Interview, Professor Dieter Spath describes the German incubator landscape and how strategies within the German university landscape enhance the interplay between research and practice.

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Professor Rainer Martini

Profile: From Lab to Prototype -
Rainer Martini

Rainer Martini, German scientist and associate professor of physics at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT), is a master at convincing venture capitalists to invest in technological advances. When it comes to answering the two questions that most interest investors - "How much?" and "How long?"- Martini turns from technological inventor to salesman.  Over the years, he has developed an "unwillingness to accept failure." Martini understands the road from lab to market - and enthusiastically shares his own experiences - acquired through trial and error - with his students.
In 2002, Martini, who is also Director of the Ultrafast Laser and High-Speed Communication Laboratory, Deputy Director of the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics and Director of its Graduate Programs, created the "Science Knowledge Integration Ladder" (SKIL).
SKIL is a six-term project for SIT physics undergraduate students that allows students to develop inventions of any type. So far, according to Martini, none of these projects has been successful in terms of their original intent, however, they have learned that "the devil is in the details" and the overall process has been a valuable learning experience. To read the full profile on Professor Martini, please click here. To learn more about Professor Martini, please follow this link.

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Professor Dieter Spath

Interview on the German Incubator Landscape 
Under the project leadership of Professor Dr. Dieter Spath, the German academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) is conducting a study on the German incubator landscape in an international context. The GCRI interviewed Professor Spath, who is acatech's Vice President and also head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, and head of Stuttgart University's Institute of Human Factors and Technology Management IAT, on the key characteristics of technology incubators in Germany. According to Spath, the German incubator landscape is distinctive, compared to other countries, because of the large number of non-university research facilities, such as Fraunhofer, the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz and the Leibniz Associations. He observed that research organizations foster intensive joint working relationships with industry, and technical innovations progress through the market launch stage. To read the full interview, please click here. For additional information on Professor Spath, please follow this link.

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Fraunhofer TechBridge

One-Stop Shop for Cleantech Startups: The Fraunhofer TechBridge Program 

TechBridge, an initiative of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, serves as a single point of contact for clean technology startups looking for support for accelerated commercialization. Launched in late 2009, TechBridge helps companies access Fraunhofer research and development expertise, as well as other important resources such as incubator space, legal services, and funding opportunities.
Fraunhofer TechBridge also links the German and North American markets by supporting commercialization efforts from within Fraunhofer. TechBridge works closely within the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance and with Fraunhofer Ventures to focus on the latest technology developments in solar energy, wind and biomass, as well as water purification, electric mobility and smart grid usage.
Fraunhofer works to bridge university and industrial innovation. TechBridge adds a commercialization focus with a new Fellowship Program which provides MBA students interested in green startups with an opportunity to gain knowledge about reducing capital expenditure and technology risk through the TechBridge process. While the fellowship is in its first year, TechBridge Program Manager Jeff McAulay told the GCRI that  there are plans to expand collaborations to top MBA programs in the U.S.
To learn more about TechBridge, please click here - and follow on Twitter@FhTechBridge

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Innovation: Production of Greener Cement to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 
Each year nearly three billion tons of cement are produced globally for the construction industry and this production process contributes to 5% of the world's annual CO2-emissions. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have invented a new type of cement production that saves energy and has the potential to cut carbon dioxide emissions approximately in half. After extensive lab research, KIT has proven that this new type of cement, Celitement, can be produced at lower temperatures (less than 300˚C vs. 1,450˚C) and with less lime than conventional cement.
Celitement GmbH, the spin-off of the four inventors, KIT, and their industrial partner Schwenk Group (Schwenk Zement KG) have invested five million euros in the construction of the pilot plant on the north campus of KIT. The groundbreaking took place on July 8 - and daily production of 100 kg is expected by spring 2011.
In addition,  about 3.5 million euros for accompanying  research (e.g. material and energy balances and the sustainability of the processing chain) are provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the framework program "Research for Sustainable Developments." For more information, please click here.

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