Issue 13, April 2011
bulletUniversities as Drivers of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
bulletInterview: Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart
bulletThe New Role of Universities in the Twenty-First Century
bulletStrong Record of Technology Transfer at German Universities 
bulletEntrepreneurship Center as an Engine of Innovation at LMU
bulletInnovation: Multiphoton Tomograph
article1Universities as Drivers of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Germany is a land of ideas, inventions, and innovations where education, science, and research play a central role. With a R&D landscape characterized by close cooperation between science and industry, Germany is in the top group of leading European innovators, according to the current Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS).
A hub of cutting-edge international research and a constant source of new patents, German universities are playing an increasingly important role in the country's entrepreneurial culture. Fueled by programs, such as the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology's EXIST, that encourage and support academic spin-offs, the German government has clearly identified universities as sources of the ideas that inspire industry and innovation.
In this month's GCRI Interview, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, the former Minister for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and new Dean of Leipzig's Graduate School of Management (HHL), shares his insights on the role of the university in a country's global competitiveness. Earlier this year, at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University (AICGS), he investigated the roles of universities as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship in Germany and the U.S. On June 9, 2011, he will share his results at the AICGS conference "The New Role of Universities in the Twenty-First Century: Universities as Engines of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Hubs" in Washington, DC, where GCRI Director Dr. Joann Halpern will also moderate two panels.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart
article2Interview: From Politics to Academia -
Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart
Driven, energetic, and engaging: Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart embodies the meeting point of science, business, and politics. The former Minister for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology as well as Deputy Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Prof. Pinkwart is the newly inaugurated Dean and Academic Director of HHL - Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Sharpening the business school's innovative profile, Prof. Pinkwart also holds the university's new Stiftungsfonds Deutsche Bank Chair of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship. For a complete bio of Prof. Pinkwart, click here.
Before assuming his appointments at the HHL, Prof. Pinkwart was a Visiting Scholar at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University (AICGS), focusing his research on the roles of universities as drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and Germany. On June 9, 2011, he will share his results at the AICGS-conference "The New Role of Universities in the Twenty-First Century: Universities as Engines of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Hubs" in Washington, DC.
In his interview with the GCRI, Prof. Pinkwart discusses the necessity of ideas and innovations for a country to remain competitive in the global job market, the role of the university within this competition, and how he plans to enhance the entrepreneurial culture at HHL. To read the interview, click here.

article3The New Role of Universities in the Twenty-First Century: Universities as Engines of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Hubs
AICGS Conference on June 9, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Washington, DC  

Today's major global challenges require more than simply relying on old concepts. Successful solutions to the main problems of the twenty-first century will be based on new ideas and innovation. Universities and research institutes have to play an important role as hubs for innovation and intellectual ventures.
Although the importance of research and science for meeting the grand challenges of our time is well known, the question remains about how much untapped potential for innovation still lies within our universities and what can be done to connect nascent entrepreneurs and established companies with the inventions they need. 
In the U.S. and Germany, economic growth, the labor market, and the current budget crises are all relevant to the discussion about innovation. This conference, organized by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) with generous support from the Deutsche Stifterverband, brings together high level participants from both sides of the Atlantic, who will provide a deeper insight into the role of universities as engines of innovation and will help develop and promote new ways of collaboration between academia and private sector. For more information, please visit

Patent Applications
article4Strong Record of Technology Transfer at German Universities

By Christian Rammer, Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim

Industry-university partnerships are widespread in Germany. In 2007, 32% of German firms that developed new products or technologies collaborated with universities. Collaboration is not limited to joint research projects but includes cooperation in design, testing, and marketing. In 2008, German universities received 15% of their total research expenditure from industry sources, which is well beyond the OECD average (6.5%). So-called Technical Universities (i.e. Universities with a large engineering faculty) and Universities of Applied Sciences ("Fachhochschulen") show particularly strong links to industry. Despite a common notion of being inefficient in transferring research findings into innovations, the record of universities in patenting new technologies and spinning off new business is remarkable. In 2007, the German Patent Office received almost 2,200 new applications for inventions from German universities. Almost half of these patents originated from joint research with industry and were applied by the industrial partner. From 2001 to 2006, about 35,000 new ventures have been founded by university researchers (i.e. 6,500 per year), which means that every year about 5% of all university researcher engage in a start-up project. Industry-University links are encouraged by a number of public programs, including government funding of collaborative research projects in key technology areas, cluster programs, and a new program to validate the industrial potential of new research results.

article5Entrepreneurship Center as an Engine of Innovation at LMU
The role of universities in society is changing quickly. With their potentially tremendous contribution to innovation and entrepreneurship, the search is on for effective governance models. This is a complex process, given the breadth of disciplines typically present. While technical universities in Europe maintain a traditional connection to industry, these activities are more unusual in institutions spanning the range of humanities, social sciences, medicine and science. In the case of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich, entrepreneurship-oriented courses have proven a successful mode of bridging these disciplines. Initially offering courses in management, economics and physics, the LMU Entrepreneurship Center now enrolls students from sixteen of eighteen departments in such classes. Startups, including many highly successful ones, are emerging in all "corners" of the university. The LMU Entrepreneurship Center and some university faculty centers also offer incubation services. Among the successful ventures is the 2007 startup Aloqa, offering location-based services and incubated at LMU. The founders sold their venture to Motorola in the fall of 2010. Other companies on a successful growth path are Altruja - focusing on web-based fundraising, Nanostove - providing a new DNA-testing technology, and From A to B - offering a comparison service covering a range of alternative transportation modes. Read more about LMU's Entrepreneurship Center here.  

article6Innovation: Multiphoton Tomograph for the Detection of Melanoma and Other Skin Diseases
The clinical tomograph MPTflex™, which was developed by the German university spin-off Jenlab GmbH, is a novel skin imaging device that overcomes the poor resolution of skin imaging methods such as ultrasound, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and reflection. By using two-photon technology, the system's  high-resolution skin imaging provides marker-free optical biopsies. The award-winning tomograph is a compact system, with a flexible scan head that includes two detectors for simultaneous measurement of autofluorescence and the second-harmonic generation, used mainly for the early detection of melanoma and diagnostics of dermatological disorders. Providing a fast microscopic view into the skin without any surgery, single cancer cells, as well as elastin fibers and nanoparticles can be imaged in vivo, and skin aging can be measured. The MPTflex™ tomograph is based on the two-photon effects predicted by the 1963 German-American Nobel Prize laureate Maria Goeppert-Mayer.
The MPTflex™ received the 2011 Prism Award for Photonics Innovation in January. Co-founded in 1999 by Prof. Dr. Karsten König, Jenlab's primary goals are the development and the establishment of innovative bioinstrumentation based on Femtosecond Laser Technology for biotechnology, cell biology and medicine. More than 2,000 patients have already been investigated at clinics in Irvine, Brisbane, London, Modena, and Berlin. In the U.S., first clinical trials have been conducted at the University of California this year. For more information, please click here.