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Issue 23, February 2012
bulletUniversities as Catalysts and Drivers for Regional Development
bulletUpcoming Event: Universities and Their Impact on the Economy and Society
bulletInterview: Ursula Gather, Rector TU Dortmund University
bulletRWTH Aachen Campus Model Approach
bulletInnovation: Biomimetic Paint Inspired by Shark Skin
bulletBerlin: Academic & Science City
article1Universities as Catalysts and Drivers for Regional Development
Germany shares a top spot among Europe's innovation leaders in the recently published 2011 Innovation Union's performance scoreboard. A hub of cutting-edge international research and a constant source of new patents, German universities play a critical role in the country's culture of innovation. As important contributors to Germany's R&D landscape, they are key beneficiaries of the German federal government's increased public funding. German universities received about 20 billion of the approximately 39 billion Euros Germany spent on research and innovation in 2010. A recent report for PRO INNO Europe by Christian Rammer from the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, provides a comprehensive overview of Germany's innovation policy trends, including information on two recent measures of the High-Tech Strategy 2020 that aim to further facilitate cooperation between industry and academia: the "Validation of Innovation Potentials" scheme and the "Research Campus" program. To read the report, click here.

Heidelberg University
article2Upcoming Event: Universities and Their Impact on the Economy and Society on February 29, 2012

Join our panelists as they discuss the symbiotic relationship between universities and their surrounding areas, exemplified in the disparate environs of Heidelberg and New York City. Prof. Peter Meusburger (Distinguished Senior Professor, Universitšt Heidelberg) will discuss his recently published Wissenschaftsatlas ("Science Atlas"), which chronicles the relationship between Universitšt Heidelberg's expansive research facilities, the city, and the global community. He will address the role of academia as a driver of social and economic development, highlighting the university's past and future influence as a catalyst for innovation. Euan Robertson (Managing Director, Center for Economic Transformation, Executive Vice President, New York City Economic Development Corporation) will discuss New York City's most recent policy initiative for academic progress, the highly visible Tech Campus competition, which will unite Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in a cutting-edge campus, to be built on Roosevelt Island in the near future. Both the small university town of Heidelberg and the metropolis of New York City prioritize academics, research and development as a means of fostering growth and maintaining economic competitiveness in the 21st century and beyond. The event is organized in cooperation with the Heidelberg University Association and will take place on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the German House New York, 871 United Nations Plaza. To RSVP, click here; for more information, click here.

Prof. Ursula Gather
article3Interview: Ursula Gather, Rector TU Dortmund University

In this GCRI interview, Prof. Ursula Gather discusses TU Dortmund's impact on regional development, creating a culture of innovation at her university, and the kinds of frameworks necessary to promote collaboration between academia and industry. To read the interview, click here.

When TU Dortmund University was founded in 1968, it was surrounded by coal and steel industries. Since then, the university has triggered the rise of more modern industrial branches in its region, the Ruhr area. Where there had once been a great meadow, there are now around 25,000 students, 300 professors and 3,400 staff members who shape the region's technical innovation potential. In 1985, the City of Dortmund established the Technology Center Dortmund, a technology park which currently houses 280 companies and provides 8,500 jobs.
Prof. Gather has been a part of TU Dortmund since 1986, when she became chair for Mathematical Statistics and Industrial Applications at Dortmund's Faculty of Statistics. She held this position until she took office as rector in 2008. Throughout her career, various positions in research organizations have attested to her engagement in university, science, and research management: In 2011, the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) elected her vice president for teaching, studies and admission. One year before, she became Chairwoman of the State's Rectors' Conference for North Rhine-Westphalia and an appointed member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).

RWTH Aachen Campus Model
article4RWTH Aachen Campus Model Approach
Text by Gabriella Skwara, Managing Director of RWTH Aachen University Liaison Office USA/Canada

RWTH Aachen University has taken a major step towards its goal of being one of the world's leading technical universities through the planned construction of the new RWTH Aachen Campus, which represents a novel cooperation and exchange between the university, industry, and the local community and region. The new campus will be designed around 19 research clusters, encompassing approximately 75 buildings, which will at once house science facilities, offices, and integrated support spaces. These clusters will provide space for up to 250 national and international companies to establish research and development centers on campus, giving them access to collaborative work with university departments as well as providing students with direct daily interaction with potential future employers. Through these clusters, the university will become a "hot spot" for both managing and generating knowledge in a truly interdisciplinary environment. In addition to laboratories, office- and classroom spaces, the new buildings will also include shops, restaurants and conference facilities. These infrastructures promise to provide approximately 10,000 new jobs to the region, making the university the largest employer in the city, which has a population of approximately 250,000. Once completed, the RWTH Aachen campus will encompass a total area of 2.5 square kilometers and thus be one of the largest technology-oriented research zones in Europe. For more information, including a video, click here

Biomimetic Paint Inspired by Shark Skin
article5Innovation: Biomimetic Paint Inspired by Shark Skin
Text by Kim Sims, Ph.D., Director of UAS7 Liaison Office New York

A new paint inspired by shark skin and seed husks discourages barnacles and mussels from attaching to the hulls of boats and ships, reducing drag resistance and fuel consumption. Although conventional ship paint has long been able to achieve this, this biomimetic version avoids the use of copper and tributylin, which find their way into the food chain. Biomimetic paint for recreational vessels has been available from VOSS-Chemie GmbH since 2010, and a sprayable product under development will vastly reduce shipping and maintenance costs as well as the carbon footprint and toxic impact of marine shipping.
VOSS and other companies in the region around Bremen, where major ship and aircraft construction companies and their suppliers predominate, frequently rely on the researchers at the Bionik-Innovations-Centrum (B-I-C) at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences. In keeping with the applied research agenda characteristic of Germany's universities of applied sciences (UAS), the B-I-C sets its research agenda in direct collaboration with regional companies, which allows its projects to achieve extremely rapid rates of transfer from the bench to the market. B-I-C's close working relationships with regional companies also inform curricula at Bremen UAS, where undergraduate and graduate programs in biomimetics benefit from professors' ongoing collaboration with industry and prepare students to transition smoothly from the classroom to the region's most innovative companies. These faculty-company relationships build on a special feature of German universities of applied sciences, where professors are only hired after years of high performance in a relevant role in industry, government, or the arts.

Image © VOSSCHEMIE GmbH

Photonics and Optics, AEMtec Berlin Adlershof
article6Berlin: Academic & Science City
Text provided by Berlin Partner GmbH

Innovations arise from the interaction of ideas, perspectives, and disciplines. Berlin, one of the largest, most widely diversified cities in Europe, provides optimal conditions for successful collaboration between science, business, and government.
Each year, 20,000 students graduate from Berlin's academic institutions, equipped with the skills to become tomorrow's professionals. More than 200,000 students and researchers work at Berlin's four universities (two comprehensive, one technical and one arts university), seven universities of applied science, four art colleges, 23 state-recognized private universities and nearly 70 non-university research institutes. Most of these institutes are affiliated with one of Germany's major state-run research organizations, namely the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, the Leibniz Association and the Max Planck Gesellschaft. In addition, 20 research establishments affiliated with federal and state ministries are based in Berlin.
By combining research density with diversity and expertise, Berlin prides itself on being a laboratory for discovering new ideas, especially in new and expanding technological fields, such as biotechnology, IT and communications technology/media, medical engineering, optical technologies and transport technology. Technology parks, such as the Adlershof City of Science, Business and Media, the Berlin-Buch life sciences campus and roughly 20 additional start-up centers for technology and innovation focus on developing new ideas and converting them into marketable products.
Visit www.berlin-sciences.com for more information on all science-related activities in Berlin. If you are interested in Germany's technology parks and centers landscape in general, visit the GCRI website.

Image © Berlin Partner GmbH/FritschFoto

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