Photo: Christina Lüdtke (private source)02.12.2021
Wide-ranging Support for University Start-ups
Four universities, one network: The network “Science & Startups” groups the start-up services of the universities united in the Berlin University Alliance. Objective: to create a leading Europe-wide and globally visible ecosystem for research and science-based start-ups by 2030. Around 1,700 professors support this unique network.
The start-up services of the universities united in the Berlin University Alliance have been successfully working together at operational level for more than ten years – the “Profund Innovation” of the Freie Universität Berlin, the “Humboldt Innovation” of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the “Centre for Entrepreneurship” of the Technische Universität Berlin and the “Charité BIH Innovation”. In 2020 they founded “Science & Startups”: The university network, which is unique in Germany to date, aims specifically to promote the transfer of research results into products, services and solutions with high social added value.
Christina Lüdtke, Head of Science & Startups, explains more about the network in an interview.
Ms. Lüdtke, who is Science & Startups aimed at?
Science & Startups is aimed at scientists, researchers, alumni and people in general with a scientific background who have innovative research-based ideas. We operate in Berlin in a very cosmopolitan and international start-up ecosystem and see the great potential of the many people with a scientific background from various countries who have found a new home in Berlin: We explicitly invite them to come to us with their ideas.
What services does the network offer budding entrepreneurs from the science sector?
Teams interested in founding a company are supported by the Start-up services of the respective university. In addition, they can use the network, resources and joint offers of the entire network of universities. The Start-up services closely support the prospective founders at the individual institutions. They receive access to the infrastructure – to office space, laboratories, technical equipment or prototyping workshops, but also to networks in the business and financial world. Grants allow them to focus fully on product development. At the same time, we are developing new joint offers in order to be able to support start-ups even more according to their needs. We are currently offering special funding for founders in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, sustainable urban development and health.
It is not easy for scientists to found a company from within the university, as they usually have little or no economic know-how. What are the typical problems?
A lack of entrepreneurial know-how can actually be a problem because many founders have previously worked exclusively in a scientific and technical environment. Team compositions that are not complementary also often lead to problems. A certain love for technology is also typical, working too long on perfecting the technology without getting feedback from the market.
Support from mentors is an important part of Science & Startups. What advantages are there for founding teams?
Science & Startups offers access to over 1,700 professors of the Berlin University Alliance to the teams supported. This opens up a wide range of competencies for the founders and enables a scientifically sound assessment of any business idea. In addition, every university has a group of mentors whose exceptional active commitment to our start-ups goes beyond the usual mentoring. They support the teams competently and action-related and with extensive specialist knowledge, many years of experience and their networks from industry and the respective specialist areas. Many of the mentors also carry the founding idea into their areas of expertise and sensitise students and graduates for starting a business as a career path.
As you have already mentioned, one focus of Science & Startups is Artificial Intelligence. What programs does the funding for this future topic include?
With the K.I.E.Z - Artificial Intelligence Entrepreneurship Centre, we officially launched the first nationwide funding program for start-ups in the AI sector in mid-November 2021. With this topic-focused and entrepreneurial model of promoting innovation, we create science-related start-ups that tackle and solve the challenges of today and the future. The range of services from K.I.E.Z. is aimed at the specific needs of AI startups and encompasses the entire innovation chain of business creation – from the identification of start-up potentials in research to support in the incubation phase to an accelerator program. The four-year model project is funded with 6.85 million Euro by the Federal Ministry of Economics and is co-financed by the State of Berlin. It is also an important building block for the strategic development of the AI ecosystem in the Start-up metropolis of Berlin. Currently, we are explicitly calling on AI start-ups and those interested in founding a company to contact us and apply. The application phase for the accelerator program starts in January 2022. For the K.I.E.Z. Incubator, applications are accepted all year round at https://kiez.ai/
Why has the transfer of knowledge between universities and business become so important in recent years?
In the context of the “Third Mission”, the interdependence of the universities with their environment, the transfer of knowledge and technology play a key role. We believe in the innovative strength of science. And that real change in terms of sustainable development for people, the environment and the planet can only come about through innovative solutions that have their origins in scientific knowledge. With Science & Startups, we identify and highlight those potentials that lie in the entire research scope of our universities. In this way we contribute to solving the fundamental challenges of our time – the “Grand Challenges”.
What makes Brain City Berlin a good location for founders from the scientific environment?
Compared to other start-up hotspots in the world, Berlin is relatively affordable with rents that are (still) affordable and a quite low cost of living. This is particularly relevant for early-stage start-ups like the ones we support. With its history behind it, its diversity and openness, Berlin also offers potential founders a unique attitude to life. Science & Startups offers scientific start-up teams a unique start-up ecosystem – with 130,000 potential co-founders and a large network of mentors. Our advisors have many years of experience and expertise in university start-up advice as well as excellent knowledge of the relevant actors and the funding landscape. Since 2010 we have raised around 60,000,000 Euro in funding for start-ups. These are ideal prerequisites for those interested in founding a company from science.
- Insights (From left to right) Steffen Terberl/FU Berlin; Prof. Dr. Hannes Rothe/ICN Business School, photo: Ernestine von der Osten-SackenInsightsIn the BioTech sector, the Berlin region is not making full use of its innovation potential. This is the conclusion of the “Deep Tech Futures Report…→
“BioTech does not get up and running on its own”
- Insights Photo: privateInsightsA guest contribution by Brain City Ambassador Dr. Anna Klippstein, professor of finance and Eliyahu Mätzschker, student at Touro College Berlin.→
The Pandemic and its Impact on the Capital Market
- Insights Credit: André BakkerInsightsA guest contribution by Brain City Ambassador Prof. Dr Anabel Ternès von Hattburg, Professor for International Business Administration at the SRH…→
Getting on Board with Digitality
- Insights Swen Hutter (Foto: David Ausserhofer), Gesine Höltmann (Foto: Martina Sander)InsightsA guest contribution by Gesine Höltmann, research assistant and Swen Hutter, Deputy Director at the Centre for Civil Society Research.→
Polarisation and Cohesion in the Corona Crisis: a Look at Civil Society
- Insights Foto: "Lucid Dream", Elena Kunau and Mariya YordanovaInsightsARTIFICIAL REALITY – VIRTUAL INTELLIGENCE is the name of an exhibition that can be seen from 8 to 12 September as part of Ars Electronica Garden…→
Interaction via Emotion
- Insights Credit: Peter Himsel/Campus Berlin-Buch GmbHInsightsThe Campus Berlin-Buch in the north of Brain City Berlin has grown to become one of Europe’s largest business and research centres for life sciences.→
A Vibrant Healthcare Network
- Insights Credit: Markus KrutzikInsightsDr. Markus Krutzik, Head of the Joint Lab Integrated Quantum Sensors (IQS), on the "Wissenschaft trifft Wirtschaft" (Science Meets Business") event…→
"I am Fascinated by the Possibilities of Quantum Sensors"
- Insights Foto: ESCP Business School BerlinInsightsWhat to do when distance is suddenly the order of the day? A guest contribution by Dr. René Mauer, Professor of Entrepreneurship und Innovation at…→
Using Whiteboards to Combat Digital Fatigue
- Insights Credit: Alexander Rentsch/HTW BerlinInsightsBrain City Ambassador Prof. Dr. Florian Koch of HTW Berlin brings together science, business and civil society in his research.→
“Increasing Urbanisation also Creates Opportunities”
- Insights Credit: Rudolf GrillborzerInsightsGuest contribution by Brain City Ambassador Dr.-Ing. Onur Günlü, Technische Universität Berlin.→
Exploring the "ultimate limits"
- Insights Credt: Startup Incubator BerlinInsightsThe Startup Incubator Berlin at the Berlin School of Economics and Law is particularly successful in supporting founder teams – as proved by the fact…→
“We Bring Ideas to Market”
- Insights Credit: Mimi Thian on UnsolashInsightsGuest Contribution by Brain City Ambassador Dr. Petyo Budakov, University of Europe for Applied Sciences.→
“Proudly presenting Brain City Berlin in 2020”
- Insights Susanne Plaumann (private)InsightsInterview with Brain City Ambassador Susanne Plaumann M.A., Central women's representative at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin.→
“Careers are now easier to plan for women scientists”
- Insights Adi Goldstein auf UnsplashInsightsStadtManufaktur Berlin conceptually unites research projects of the TU Berlin under a single roof. The long-term goal of this “open laboratory…→
Science in Dialogue with the City
- Insights Falk WeißInsightsThe knowledge portal “humboldts17” presents current research on the subject of sustainability and welcomes open dialogue with the general public. The…→
17 Goals for the Future
- Insights Foto: Olga Makarova privatInsightsBrain City Ambassador Olga Makarova reflects on being a microbiologist during the pandemic, and the urgent need for microbiology literacy in society.→
Guest Contribution: COVID-19 and microbiology literacy
- Insights HIIGInsightsBrain City-Interview with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, Research Director at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).→
“A sustainable goal of our work is to make clear what the technology can actually do”
- Insights HTW BerlinInsightsAn interview with Brain City Ambassador Prof. Dr. Kai Reinhardt. On October 28, he will be speaking at the second SpreeTalk at HTW University of…→
“The pandemic has been a catalyst for digitalization”
- Insights dentalXr.aiInsightsdentalXrai is the first dental start-up to be spun off the Charité. It was launched via the accelerator of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). We…→
Artificial intelligence in the fight against tooth decay
- Insights Anna Raysyan (private)InsightsBrain City Ambassador Anna Raysyan has been living in Berlin for 3,5 years now. She is a PhD student at the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und…→
Guest Contribution: “Berlin likes the bold!”
- Insights ©Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und TechnologieInsightsMany top-class researchers and scientists are being attracted to Brain City Berlin every year. The Dual Career Network Berlin helps partners of…→
Dual Career Network Berlin: getting a good start in Berlin
- Insights ©Matthias PicketInsightsDr. Anne Schreiter, Managing Director of the German Scholars Organization (GSO), reveals in the Brain City interview what alternative career…→
"Science is not just about research"
- Insights © Pocky Lee on UnsplashInsightsMatches in front of empty stadiums, virtual marathons, and many postponed events. Brain City Ambassador Professor Gabriele Mielke is tracking the…→
"Now is the time for innovators"
- Insights © AW Creative on UnsplashInsightsJuggling a degree course or teaching with the extra burden of the care of children or other family members is not an easy task. Both students and…→
From “Zoo School” to “Maternity Protection”: family-friendly universities
- Insights © HTW Berlin / Nikolas FahlbuschInsightsTeaching is currently only taking place online. Guest author Dr Dorothee Haffner, professor for Museology at HTW Berlin - University of Applied…→
Guest contribution: "Online teaching is more engaging than I thought"
- Insights Franziska SattlerInsightsIn the interview: Brain City ambassador Franziska Sattler on her series of events "Kaffeeklatsch mit Wissenschaft" (Talking Science over Coffee) at…→
"Science needs the trust of society"
- Insights Fotocredit: Ortner & Ortner / SiemensInsightsSiemensstadt 2.0 is a place of the future. The Berlin Senate has approved 9.9 million euros for the first research project "Electrical Drive…→
Siemensstadt 2.0: Research and industry closely linked
- Insights ©Credit Silke Oßwald/FMPInsightsBrain City interview: Professor Dr. Volker Haucke, Director at the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) and Professor of…→
In the balancing act between detail and overall concept
- Insights © hj barraza/UnsplashInsightsOur guest author Dr Barbara Schäuble is Professor for Diversity-Conscious Approaches in the Theory and Practice of Social Work at ASH Berlin and a…→
Guest contribution: A sudden change of course - classes moved online
- Insights ©DexLeChemInsightsLaunching a start-up while at university? Sonja Jost's success shows the way. Together with three fellow students, she founded DexLeChem after…→
"Bringing new knowledge to the market is very important to us"
- Insights ©Ivar Veermäe / Centre for EntrepreneurshipInsightsBrain City Berlin is the German capital of start-ups. Many young companies have successfully been founded through Berlin and Brandenburg based…→
"Society in particular benefits from high-tech start-ups" - university survey enters its third round
- Insights ©BIH|Thomas RafalzykInsightsAt the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) the main focus is on "translational research" - the transfer of findings from the research lab into clinical…→
“There are now many great female scientists, achieving great things”
- Insights ©fotografixx - istockphoto.comInsightsIn the digital age learning behaviour changes profoundly. It is student-centered and technology rich. As a member of the Erasmus+ funded project…→
Exploring the future of learning
- Insights © Brain City BerlinInsightsResearch results quickly and easily accessible online: The Open Access movement is campaigning for a paradigm shift in the field of publications and…→
Open Access: free knowledge for everyone
- Insights ©ESCP EUROPEInsights29.10.2019 | Professor Andreas Kaplan is a Brain City Berlin ambassador and Rector of ESCP Europe Business School Berlin. The economist's research is…→
"We have to be able to take everyone on the journey."
- Insights Gudrun Piechotta-HenzeInsightsIn time for the 2020/21 winter semester, ASH, the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin, is launching the first bachelor's degree to…→
"We have to completely rethink nursing!" | 27.09.2019
- Insights ©Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Matthias HeydeInsightsThe courses offered by the HUWISU Summer University are varied and exciting, the target group is international: students from abroad who come to…→
When Berlin becomes one large seminar room ... | 15.08.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsThe literary scholar Dr. Betiel Wasihun was traveling for science. After stops in Heidelberg, Yale, and Oxford, it brought her to Berlin two years…→
“Berlin is a perfect location. Especially if you don’t want to pursue just a single avenue of scientific work.” | 12.08.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Berlin University Alliance/Matthias HeydeInsightsTogether we are stronger. And also more successful. As the "Berlin University Alliance," the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität…→
Congratulations: The “Berlin University Alliance“ receives funding of the Excellence Strategy |19.07.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] David Ausserhofer/IGBInsightsBerlin is one of the most water-rich cities in Germany. But climate change does not stop at the Havel, Spree or Wannsee either. Dr. Michael Hupfer is…→
"We're trying to take a look into the future." | 04.07.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Helena Lopes / UnsplashInsightsSend a digital lollipop or delicate fragrance notes via email or let the wind virtually blow against your face - research makes it possible. Learn…→
Experiencing the digital world with all senses | 18.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] HZB/M. SetzpfandtInsightsIn these times of fake news and pseudo-scientific publications, many people find it difficult to distinguish legitimate from dubious content. Only 54%…→
"Science needs to make us curious" | 11.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Tim LandgrafInsightsBrain City Berlin is considered one of the leading locations in Germany working on artificial intelligence. About 30% of all German AI companies are…→
Fish, bees, and self-driving cars | 07.06.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsScience and cultural heritage, freely accessible to everyone at any time on the Internet: The Open Access movement is promoting a paradigm shift in…→
Knowledge for All - Open Access in Berlin | 28.03.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:] Thomas Rosenthal - Museum für Naturkunde BerlinInsights660 million euros in 10 years: The Natural History Museum Berlin - Museum für Naturkunde Berlin receives financial support for the further development…→
Future of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin | 14.01.2019
- Insights [Translate to English:]InsightsSpace exploration is experiencing a revolution thanks to commercialization by such companies as Elon Musk's SpaceX. But did you know that more facets…→
From Berlin to the moon: the space industry is booming in Berlin | 03.09.2018