On Thursday, July 10, 2008, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) concluded the first agreements on the use of the newly established high-tech incubator. The building covering an area of 1500 square meters on the site of the Forschungszentrum offers ideal conditions for commercializing scientific innovations. By means of the high-tech incubator that is also funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the KIT Innovation Department will support high-technology start-ups.
Incubators are known from biology and medicine. Their functioning principle of creating optimum conditions for breeding and growth processes is now transferred to technology transfer by the KIT: The KIT high-tech incubator offers an “all-inclusive” package to potential founders of start-ups from science. This package includes fully equipped laboratory and office rooms, an own secretary’s office, and professional building management. At the former building of the Institute of Nanotechnology, young entrepreneurs will benefit from the scientific infrastructure of the Forschungszentrum.
The first three tenants –Nanoscribe GmbH and CYENIC GbR in the fields of nanotechnology and organic chemistry as well as a start-up in the field of construction chemistry – are presently moving into the building. According to Dr. Peter Fritz, member of the Executive Board of the Forschungszentrum, this shows that “the KIT has the potential to increasingly generate high-tech start-ups and these projects in particular will be supported by the incubator.” For this reason, Fritz is optimistic that the envisaged 6 to 7 high-tech start-ups from the Forschungszentrum and the Universität Karlsruhe will move into the incubator this year.
Dr. Jens Fahrenberg, head of the KIT Innovation Department, considers the incubator a “major component that reflects the change of mentality in technology transfer. If the KIT wishes to match with the international research elite, it is not sufficient to make start-ups just happen. It is required to provide entrepreneurial freedom and to actively support innovative start-ups,” continues Fahrenberg. “In this way, it is also possible to generate reflux that may be reinvested in research and new business potentials.”
The KIT sees itself as the innovative partner of industry. In innovation, it does not only focus on the classical transfer of research and development results by patents and licenses, but increasingly on start-ups, with the KIT participating. Close contacts to industry are maintained by personal links between research and industry, e.g. by the so-called shared professorships and shared research groups. For the establishment of new innovation instruments at the KIT, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research will provide roundabout EUR 700,000. Part of these funds will be used for the high-tech incubator.
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, member of the Helmholtz Association, and the Universität Karlsruhe. This merger will give rise to an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. In total, the KIT has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 700 million Euros. The KIT focuses on the knowledge triangle of research – teaching – innovation.
The Karlsruhe institution is a leading European energy research center and plays a visible role in nanosciences worldwide. KIT sets new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists and attracts top scientists from all over the world. Moreover, KIT is a leading cooperation partner of industry.