Press Release 137/2017

ZEISS Invests EUR 30 Million in Innovation Hub at KIT

ZEISS and KIT Plan Shared Innovation Building – KIT Spinoffs Are Offered Longer-term Prospects on Site – ZEISS and KIT Promote Strategic Partnership
2017_137_ZEISS investiert 30 Millionen Euro_72dpi
Professor Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl ZEISS AG (center), Pro-fessor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT (right), and Professor Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs of KIT (left).

ZEISS plans to build a new shared innovation hub on Campus North of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2018, the EUR 30 million hub will cover 12,000 square meters. With the ZEISS Innovation Hub, the global technology leader in optics and optoelectronics is making a sustainable investment in Germany as a place for innovation.


KIT, whose third pillar is innovation - alongside with research and teaching – aims to use this hub to provide spinoffs with longer-term prospects on the site. The space currently available to this end has been maxed out. At the ZEISS Innovation Hub, KIT will be able to lease a portion of the space for own spinoffs and innovation activities.


ZEISS positions itself as an active sponsor of sciences, the goal being to utilize more intensively the synergy effects resulting from closer links between industry and science. ZEISS plans the hub to house high-tech and digital startups as well as its own innovation and new business activities. KIT can join forces with ZEISS experts to pave the way for the technologies of the future.


Modern Growth Environment for Successful KIT Spinoff Nanoscribe GmbH


This collaboration between KIT and ZEISS is based on solid foundations, as the hub will also be home to Nanoscribe GmbH. It has been a successful KIT spinoff since 2007, and ZEISS is a stakeholder. Nanoscribe will thus be given more space to grow its innovative technology for micro 3D printing.


The new building will encompass modern offices, labs, and production areas on a total of 12,000 square meters. Construction is scheduled for early 2018. The building is planned to be operational by the end of 2019. The agreement is currently being defined by the parties.


Strategic Partnership between ZEISS and KIT


The longstanding successful collaboration between ZEISS and KIT is set to develop into a strategic partnership. The collaboration agreement, which is currently being finalized, will regulate work in research, teaching, and innovation as well as in internationalization, career service, and dialog with society. The focus will be on topics, such as machine learning and computer vision applications.


Statements on the Project


Professor Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka, President of KIT:


“The commitment shown by ZEISS on KIT’s Campus North will bolster innovation at KIT and promote close collaboration with industry while being a point of contact for our graduates as they embark on a career in industry. Thanks to the ZEISS Innovation Hub, we can also offer our highly innovative spinoffs the space to develop so that scientific research can be turned into marketable products without delay, thus benefitting both industry and society.”


Professor Dr. Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG:

“We look forward to opening a site in the new location of Karlsruhe. This new concept means the ZEISS Innovation Hub at KIT will become a shared center for science, startups, and leading technology companies. Everyone will benefit from this unique combination of physical and thematic proximity.”


Professor Dr. Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs of KIT:

“ZEISS’s project is highly significant in terms of our innovation strategy, which is centered around the collaboration with industry and around spinoffs. The strategic partnership with ZEISS is the expansion of a longstanding tradition of collaboration. The Innovation Hub is the key milestone; both partners and Baden-Württemberg as an attractive business location will benefit from this over the long term.”


Statement of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts:

The Ministry of Science is delighted at the willingness shown by ZEISS to construct an incubator building on KIT’s Campus North. This is in accordance with the vote taken on the KIT Supervisory Board, which welcomed the project and congratulated KIT on this opportunity: Such a long-term partnership will benefit partners from science and industry.


Martin Hermatschweiler, CEO of Nanoscribe GmbH

“As a spinoff of KIT, we here at Nanoscribe will be very proud to move into the ZEISS Innovation Hub at KIT. This ensemble of inspiring architecture, close links to KIT, and networking in the hub will continue to drive our innovation culture. The project and the opportunities for growth it affords are a symbol of the excellent and lasting support that ZEISS is showing us as one of our stakeholders, and that we are receiving from KIT, too.”

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

lg, 25.09.2017


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presseMsa8∂kit edu

Contact for this press release:

ZEISS Gruppe
Jörg Nitschke
Tel. +49 7364 20-3242
joerg nitschkeYdh1∂zeiss com
The photo in the best quality available to us may be requested by
presseFru4∂kit edu or phone: +49 721 608-47414.

The press release is available as a PDF file.