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innovation talks

Collaboration on Green Research and Innovation

How can Industry-on-Campus deliver on the climate targets?
We explored this theme in the second Innovation Talk ‘Collaboration on Green Research and Innovation: How can Industry on Campus partnerships deliver on the climate targets?’ Thursday July 1, 2021, hosted by the Innovation Centre Denmark in Munich and Baden-Württemberg International.
 
It was an opportunity to learn more about green partnerships - both in the Southern German state of Baden-Württemberg and in Denmark - as four speakers shared their insights.
 
“The Technology Transfer Toolbox”
 
The first speaker, Thomas Bartel, Executive Officer for the promotion of knowledge and technology transfer and the support of scientific start-ups of the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg, shared perspectives from the Industry on Campus Initiative of German south-west. 
 
He stated: “universities are required by law to actively engage in the transfer of knowledge and technology”. The Ministry supports this in four ways: transfer via students and professors, long-term cooperation, strategic adjustments, as well as startups and spin-offs. 
 
An example of the transfer through long-term cooperation are the so called “Industry-on-Campus” models, bringing together engineers and scientists as well as representatives from civil-society. They are individually set up as a Public-Private Partnership Model with different partners, funds and topics. There is not one way to do it, but a common characteristic in these partnerships is that the main physical hub for the cooperation is located on the campus of a university and that engineers are included in research design, while scientists are included in the process of transferring and implementing research findings into innovative products.
 
Industry on Campus collaboration can be beneficial partnerships in many ways: Scientists get access to market-oriented problems and third party resources (personal relations, technologies, infrastructure and funding), encouragement towards entrepreneurial skills, strengthening the bi-directional technology transfer, and impact on curriculum. The industry gets access to scientific know-how, new markets and future employees, risk reduction/diversification and increase in competitive and innovation capabilities. 
 
Thomas Bartel also mentioned new long-term partnerships in the form of the Innovation Campuses supported by the Ministry: ‘Cyber Valley’ and ‘Mobility of the future’.

 

Read about Cyber Valley in the highlights from ICDK Munich’s Industry on Campus Camp in November 2020 [in Danish].

Learn more about Innovation Campus Mobility of the Future in our article here.

RIZ Energie: Research and Innovation Center of Energy Technology

The second speaker, Jens Pfafferott, Professor and Director,at the Institute of Energy System Technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg, shared best practices from the Industry–on-Campus project Research and Innovation Center of Energy Technology.

The Campus, which focuses on sustainable energy technologies, is located in the Black Forest Region, close to Stuttgart. In a 1000 m2 research laboratory, the Campus houses six research groups, nine laboratories and sixty researchers. Thirty-eight industry projects are running currently. Scientists and the industry - both SMEs and bigger companies - carry out experimental studies such as heat transformation technologies, bio char, electrical energy storage, grid-friendly operation of energy systems, smart grid tech, hydrogen, energy efficient production technologies, electro mobility, etc.

“The transfer of knowledge is bidirectional: As a university, we teach students in sustainable energy. The students then go to the industry to work in energy technologies. And then the industry come back and ask us for research and innovation,” said Jens Pfafferott.

 


 

From a Danish perspective 

Christian Bræin from the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, presented the green research strategy of the Danish government: ‘Green solutions of the future - Strategy for investments in green research, technology, and innovation’.

In 2019, the Danish parliament adopted the Climate Act with a 70 percent climate reduction target by 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. To reach these targets, the Danish government collaborates closely with industry - in 14 climate partnerships - which give recommendations sectors such as waste, energy, industry, agriculture, etc.

An important element in these climate efforts is R&I. Denmark has increased (public) investments in green R&I significantly - with more than one billion DKK since 2019.

“We need to develop existing technologies further and make them more cost-efficient. We also need to develop totally new solutions to be able to reach the targets,” Christian Bræin said. 

The strategy has an international perspective. Through a call for “InnoMissions”, launched by Innovation Fond Denmark, Danish consortia are expected to connect with international partners and a strong research environment in other countries. Thus, there might also be a possibility for collaboration with partners in Baden-Württemberg, according to Christian Bræin.

 

Denmark: a pioneer in sustainable energy 

The last speaker, Anne Marie Damgaard, from the Danish Center for Energy Storage (DaCES), emphasised that Denmark is a pioneer in sustainable energy, which is crucial for the green transition. 

DaCES was launched in January this year with a two-year grant from the Danish Industry Foundation as a long-term green partnership between industry and academia.

There are great expectations to DaCES delivering a new adventure of export in collaboration with small and large companies, mobilising research and innovation in energy storage and conversion to develop a global position towards green transition and sustainability in 2030 and 2050. 

“The aim is to create a place where corporates, SMEs and universities talk together, where we have a dialogue and transfer of the latest university knowledge. This, to make sure we accelerate the application of knowledge to companies,” Anne Marie Damgaard said.

“Research is needed - both on the short, medium and long term - to improve existing technologies, and to come up with radical new technologies.”

It therefore, DaCES aims for “systemic innovation and not point innovation”, according to Damgaard.

 


International partnerships

The Innovation Talk had a focus on regional partnerships, but all the speakers emphasized that international collaboration is crucial - also across the border. 

“We need international cooperation to solve big questions. We cannot do it alone. We should address and encourage trans-border cooperation,” Thomas Bartel said.

“We are a regional university in Baden-Württemberg, but we are open-minded,” said Jens Pfafferott, who also invited the participants to visit the Institute of Energy System Technology in Offenburg.

According to Christian Bræin, all interested are welcome to contact the Innovation Fund Denmark, which can guide them to potential partners.

“And if you already have connections at Danish universities - reach out to them directly.” 

This Industry on Campus Innovation Talk was the second out of two hosted by the Innovation Centre Denmark in Munich and Baden-Württemberg International. Read more about the events here.

For more information

Contact Research and Innovation Attaché, Ulrik Kjølsen Olsen: 
+49 171 309 6314
[email protected]