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Innovation Days 2013 in Berlin (en)

intensive exchange between research and business

Following its successful premiere last year, Innovation Days will take place for the second time on 9 and 10 December in Berlin. The event, which is coordinated by the four non-university research organisations, the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the Leibniz Association and the Helmholtz Association, enables an exclusive group of researchers and decision-makers from industry and finance to come together for an in-depth exchange of news and information.

“This international event allows some 300 researchers and technology transfer experts to meet representatives of industry and venture capital experts over two days,” says Rolf Zettl, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Association. “These meetings form the core of the Innovation Days. Making and pursuing contacts paves the way for important business relations, which ideally enable technologies from research to be rapidly applied in practice.”

In a series of ten-minute pitches, 40 teams from the major German research organisations will present their technologies and spin-offs in the areas of the life sciences (with a focus on medical technology) and information and communication technology (with a focus on big data management). There will also be opportunities to discuss potential collaboration. Many of the participants have already arranged such meetings via an online platform. The subtitle of the Innovation Days is “Partnering Research and Business”. “Partnering,” says Zettl, “is an extremely effective tool for discussions between the key people in application-oriented research and business.”

Ideal conditions

The new event format, explains the Helmholtz Association’s Managing Director, is intended to facilitate long-term, sustainable exchange between research and business. The opportunity to meet and talk with researchers in various disciplines at the forum has attracted great interest among representatives of business and finance. Sponsors, too, are eager to be involved: in addition to this year’s main sponsor, Bayer AG, many industrial partners including well-known companies such as Siemens AG, Robert Bosch GmbH and Roche are supporting the unique format. Because many major international companies are sending representatives to the Innovation Days, the conference language throughout the event is English.

Conference programme with Nobel laureates and transfer success stories

The two-day event at the DBB Forum in Berlin features an attractive programme. The event kicks off on 9 December with keynote speeches by Wolfgang Plischke, the board member of Bayer responsible for research, Nobel laureate Gerd Binnig (Nobel Prize in Physics 1986) and Karlheinz Brandenburg, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology, who was involved in developing the MP3. Another Nobel laureate, Harald zur Hausen (Nobel Prize in Medicine 2008), will give a speech in the evening. The well-known speakers do not only have an excellent scientific reputation, but also stand for a pragmatic, application-oriented approach. They have managed to turn their research findings into very profitable products. In addition, they have lengthy experience of working in industry and have founded start-ups.

The Karl Heinz Beckurts Prize, which is awarded annually to innovative scientists, will be presented on the evening of 9 December. The ceremony will be followed by a reception at Berlin’s Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus) co-hosted by the Karl Heinz Beckurts Foundation and the Innovation Days. On 10 December, bilateral talks will form the core of the programme. The pitches describing promising spin-off projects and application-oriented technologies will continue on this day and three more conference sessions will cover issues relating to new models and instruments of utilisation, the application potential of the research infrastructure and the opportunities and challenges of personalised medicine.

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy; Earth and Environment; Health; Key Technologies; Structure of Matter; and Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With almost 36,000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of approximately €3.8 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Jan-Martin Wiarda | Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
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