Dr. Ralf Ehricht, InfectoGnostics Research Campus (Alere Technologies GmbH/Abbott)
Title: Research and Product Development under the Umbrella of the InfectoGnostics Public-private Partnership Using the Example of Diagnostics for Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria.
The dramatic spread of and increase in antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic microorganisms is one of the biggest challenges we are faced with in today’s increasingly globalized world. The roots of this problem include: growth, industrial agriculture, factory farming, food production, pets, transport, international travel, trade, ageing societies and modern medicine, the inappropriate use of antiobiotics, lack of hygiene, insufficient epidemiological monitoring, low staffing ratios in care, rehabilitation and hospitals, and late diagnosis in combination with the economization of health care processes. A global and trans-sectoral approach is required to halt this dramatic development as it threatens some of the central achievements of modern medicine (unpredictable risks with regard to many surgical procedures and organ or stem cell transplants and related infection prevention). Decentralized diagnostics that inform adequate and targeted treatment are an important part of this approach. It has been known for quite some time that there is a yawning gap in the translation of research results into economically viable, realistic and practical products. Routine diagnostics in different parts of the world show that everyday-life clinical diagnostics continue to be a mere customer of the diagnostics industry and use standards and methods that are mostly based on economic factors instead of facts. The effective translation of research findings into practical clinical products is a challenge that requires, among other things, an understanding of the constraints of the development and approval of industrial products. Public-private partnerships are one example for how we can address these challenges. The InfectoGnostics Research Campus presents specific examples from the field of diagnostics for antibiotic-resistant bacteria that successfully demonstrate this approach.
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Jens-Jürgen Härtel, Open Hybrid LabFactory Research Campus (VW AG)
Title: Innovation through Strategic Partnerships Exemplified by the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF).
We generally speak of a strategic partnership when two companies work together in structured cooperation to jointly benefit from a given market or be able to respond to customer demands more effectively than they could on their own. Strategic partnerships exist both within and between the public and private sector. A strategic partnership enables not only the sharing of information, know-how and resources but also risk sharing among partners.
Taken together, the partners from science and industry that are involved in the OHLF have all the technological and market competence that is required along the entire development and process chain. They have joined forces to set up this research infrastructure for doing research and development together. An entirely new organizational structure had to be developed to ensure “cooperation on an equal footing” and work on the project in different constellations (publicly funded, private sector-based, bilateral, multilateral). In this vein, the OHLF is a strategic partnership per se – as is the basic idea behind the research campuses.
In addition to this principle of partnership inherent in its structure, the OHLF has forged further strategic partnerships at the national and international level in past years in order to pool additional skills and develop markets. The following are two examples of a national and an international collaboration respectively:
The LENI collaborative project for lightweight construction research in Lower Saxony follows the motto “Car meets plane” and brings together different products, markets and technologies. This leads to the creation of synergies and the minimization of redundancies. The consortium involves some of the major research institutions in Northern Germany that jointly drafted and signed a cooperation agreement and developed some first approaches to a joint structure and collaborative projects.
Our collaboration with the Singapore Institute for Manufacturing Technology (SimTech) of the “Agency of Science, Technology and Research, A*STAR”, the Institute for Frontier Materials and the Carbon Nexus research facility at Deakin University, the University of New South Wales in Australia, and Tongji University in Shanghai had been established during the first main funding phase or had existed even before then. We signed contracts with greater binding force to consolidate this collaboration and lay the foundation for close long-term cooperation during the planning phase of the OHLF-AsiaPacific (OHLF-AP) project within the framework of the Federal Research Ministry’s funding initiative entitled “InterSpiN: Internationalisation of German Leading-Edge Clusters, Forward-Looking Projects, and Comparable Networks”.
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Poprawe, Digital Photonic Production Research Campus (Fraunhofer ILT)
Title: The Digital Photonic Production Research Campus in Aachen as an Example of Stimulating Innovation.
The Digital Photonic Production (DPP) Research Campus aims to create a closed loop to generate sustainable technological innovations in production engineering, Germany’s largest economic sector accounting for 27% of GNP. In the area of photonics, systematic cooperation involving central stakeholders from fundamental and application-oriented research, teaching, vocational education and training, and industry is aimed at condensing innovation processes and increasing their efficiency. Some tangible examples include: additive manufacturing, 3D printing of metal components using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), and high-precision ablation using ultra-short pulse laser. The buildings that were constructed to host this research were partly privately funded. They accommodate over 20 companies as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and representatives of 15 chairs from six faculties of RWTH Aachen University. Their cooperation is based on technology road maps.
Moderator: Andreas Lange