Press Release 037/2018

Groundbreaking for the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT

New ZEISS Site at One of the Most Innovative Locations in Germany – New Space for Spinoffs and Enhanced Collaboration between Business and Academia – 12,000 m2 of Flexible Space Thanks to an Investment of EUR 30 Million
2018_037_Spatenstich fuer den ZEISS Innovation Hub KIT72dpi
Groundbreaking for the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT; complete caption, see end of text. (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT)

ZEISS held a groundbreaking ceremony today on Campus North of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to launch the construction of a new site in Germany. As announced in October 2017, this will be an innovation building shared with KIT and its spinoff Nanoscribe – the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT. Apart from the company and KIT, the building will be used by future startups and spinoffs of both partners. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science Theresia Bauer, KIT President Professor Holger Hanselka, and President and CEO of the ZEISS Group, Professor Michael Kaschke. 


“This is a clear signal for the transfer of knowledge and technology in Baden-Württemberg – ZEISS and KIT are addressing the topics of technology transfer and startup culture. The Karlsruhe region and KIT in particular is an excellent site for the new Innovation Hub: With its special startup culture, established collaborations with the relevant partners in this field, and innovation as a third pillar alongside research and teaching. This is a place where not only keen founders receive support, but also curious individuals are encouraged to try to make it on their own,” said Minister of Science Theresia Bauer.


Turning Innovative Ideas into Marketable Products

At the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT, the research university in the Helmholtz Association, whose third task – alongside with research and teaching – is innovation, has the chance to rent new spaces for its spinoffs and innovation activities and offer them long-term prospects at the site.


“The ZEISS Innovation Hub @ Kit bolsters innovation at KIT and intensifies close collaboration with the business world. The Hub offers our spinoffs the space to quickly turn their innovative ideas and latest research findings into marketable products – for the benefit of both society and business. At the same time, it offers our graduates exciting prospects,” said KIT President Professor Holger Hanselka. “The strategic partnership between ZEISS and KIT is based on longstanding collaboration. The ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT enables us to achieve a milestone from which both partners and the state of Baden-Württemberg will benefit in the long term.”


Closer Partnership at One of Germany’s Most Innovative Sites

ZEISS, the global technology and innovation leader in the optical and optoelectronic industry, will move into the new building located next door to prestigious institutes for cutting-edge technology and high-tech startups.


Professor Michael Kaschke commented: “We aim to use the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT to expand our more than ten-year partnership with KIT and benefit from the potential of one of Germany’s most innovative sites, here on Campus North. We want to offer creative, bright technologically minded graduates room to develop their ideas and projects and take advantage of career prospects at ZEISS.”


One of the enterprises that will move into the building is Nanoscribe, a company that focuses on 3D microprinting and microfabrication. Nanoscribe is a spinoff of KIT established in 2007. ZEISS was one of its stakeholders virtually from the very beginning. The company will thus get the space so urgently needed for its further expansion.


Plenty of Room and Flexibility in the Resource-conserving New Building

The building will cover a total of 12,000 m2 and can be used in many ways – as office space, meeting areas, labs, and production facilities. ZEISS is investing approximately EUR 30 million and will bear the construction and operating costs. While planning the new building, conserving resources was a major consideration.


The new site near Karlsruhe is just one in a series of projects at sites in the USA, the company headquarter in Oberkochen, and its founding site in Jena, which are designed to ensure growth at ZEISS and its innovation and digitization sites, as well as in emerging markets.


Complete Caption:

Groundbreaking for the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT (from left to right): Bernd Stober, Mayor of Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen; Prof. Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs of KIT; Professor Michael Kaschke, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss AG; Theresia Bauer, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Research, and the Arts; Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT; Dr. Ulrich Simon, Corporate Research & Technology of Carl Zeiss AG; and Dr. Michael Thiel, co-founder of Nanoscribe GmbH. (Photo: Amadeus Bramsiepe, KIT)


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the optics and optoelectronics industries. The ZEISS Group develops, produces, and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe. In the fiscal year 2016/17, the company generated revenue approximating EUR 5.3 billion with around 27,000 employees. Founded in 1848 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).


Further information at


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 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 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.

le, 06.04.2018

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
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