The Minister of Science visits the University of Stuttgart on a two-day start-up tour

March 28, 2024

Minister Olschowski visited the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, the University of Stuttgart and the Hochschule der Medien on March 27 and 28. She gained an insight into the start-up initiatives of the individual institutions and emphasised the importance of making research results available to the market more quickly. To this end, she announced changes to the State Higher Education Act.

The Minister of Science embarks on a two-day start-up tour, visiting four universities in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. Petra Olschowski: "Our objective should be to expedite the transformation of research findings into product innovations." The thriving start-up ecosystem in the region instills confidence that this will succeed." Changes to the State Higher Education Act announced.

Minister of Science, Research and Arts Petra Olschowski commends the robust and diverse start-up community in the region and aims to enhance support for start-ups emerging from Baden-Württemberg's universities. "At our universities and colleges, founding a company has become a natural progression," remarked Petra Olschowski at the beginning of her start-up tour in Karlsruhe on Wednesday.

To strengthen Baden-Württemberg's position as an innovation hub, it must enhance its capability to swiftly transform research findings into product innovations. "This necessitates innovative ideas and courageous, creative minds, along with tailored support for entrepreneurs at university, especially through regulatory relief," added Olschowski. Founding a company must be made easier. We are therefore currently planning to improve the framework conditions by amending the State Higher Education Act."

Karlsruhe and Stuttgart: Stations on the start-up tour

On Wednesday, the Minister met with founders at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA), then on Thursday at the Vaihingen University Campus and at the Hochschule der Medien (HdM).

To make it easier to get started, the Ministry of Science offers start-ups financial and consultation services, for example through the "Young Innovators" funding program, the provision of the "Pre-Start EXIST lump sum" and the promotion of the "Gründermotor" initiative under the leadership of the University of Stuttgart. This acts as a networking platform between start-up support at universities and business initiatives. In addition, the innovation campus projects established by the state, such as Cyber Valley and "Mobility of the Future", offer further support measures aimed at helping students and academic staff to further develop research findings into marketable products or innovative business models.  

The ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT was an important stop on the minister's itinerary. This hub provides high-tech and digital start-ups from KIT and the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion with the opportunity to refine their innovative products or business models and prepare for a successful market launch. Among other things, it is home to the KIT spin-off Nanoscribe, which specializes in the production of 3D printers for the micro and nanometer scale as well as various application areas such as specially tailored photoresists. Another example is Phytonics: The team has developed an anti-reflective film that can significantly increase the efficiency of solar modules with micro- and nanostructures modeled on rose petals.

During her visit to the TRIANGEL Open Space, the Minister learned about KIT's transfer and start-up initiatives. This space serves as an innovation, start-up, and transfer center, facilitating collaboration between science, industry, and wider society through activities such as keynote speeches and discussions.

Start-up café frei[raum] at the Campus Vaihingen

On the University of Stuttgart's Campus Vaihingen, the Minister will be introduced to the advisory and support services available for knowledge-based start-ups at the university, including the student-run start-up café frei[raum]. Depending on the development stage of the innovation and start-up projects, the support on offer varies from educational and awareness-raising programs to accelerator programs and individual consultation services. These services cater to start-ups in their early phases, right through to the growth stage. The "TRACES" transfer center at the University of Stuttgart acts as a point of contact.

Innovations in quantum physics and perovskite research

The future cluster "QSens - Quantum Sensors of the Future" and "Innovation Campus Mobility of the Future" were also introducing themselves as successful examples of a combination of research and transfer.

Following this, the Minister met with the founders of the spin-off "Perosol", which specializes in producing flexible perovskite solar cells using an innovative and efficient printing process, thereby making an important contribution to the energy transition.

At the "Generator", the HdM Stuttgart's start-up center, the Minister exchanged ideas with the founders of the start-up "Cosonify", among others. The Cosonify team has developed a collaborative platform on which artists and musicians can develop cross-border music projects. The "Greenpact" project, funded by the European Union, has developed a certification scheme that allows start-ups and creative companies to check the sustainability of their ideas even during the start-up phase.

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