Creating Dynamics in Research and Transfer with the Innovation Campus

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Baden-Württemberg’s Science Minister learned about the ongoing projects of the Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim

Wissenschaftsministerin besucht Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannhe
Wissenschaftsministerin besucht Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim

On its way to becoming a world-leading region in life sciences and medicine - this is how Wolfgang Wick, one of the two Scientific Directors of the Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim, described the development and object of this unique research alliance that brings together seven university and non-university partners from the Rhine-Neckar region. This was prompted by a visit from Baden-Württemberg’s Science Minister, Petra Olschowski, who came to Heidelberg University to learn more about the current projects of the Alliance, which is funded by the state as an Innovation Campus.

The focus of the successful Innovation Campus model is on creating density and generating dynamics in particularly strong places, explained the Minister, outlining challenges in the field of health and disease, such as new approaches in personalised medicine, the cooperation between science and industry, or the handling of data for research and medicine from the perspective of data protection. Research into pressing scientific issues is being conducted at the Innovation Campus in order to quickly bring new products, drugs or procedures for prevention, diagnostics and therapy into use, said Petra Olschowski. Prof. Michael Boutros, the Alliance’s second Scientific Director, also highlighted the transfer and translation of research findings into application as a central area of responsibility. In his words, there are "many very strong partners" for this in the region.

The Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim was founded by leading university and non-university research institutions in Heidelberg and Mannheim with a view to expand the Rhine-Neckar region into an internationally renowned biomedical-technological hub focusing on the life sciences, the health economy and medical technology. The Alliance is a cooperation between Heidelberg University, a University of Excellence, with its two Medical Faculties, the University Hospitals in Heidelberg and Mannheim, the German Cancer Research Center, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim. It is being funded as an Innovation Campus by the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The Alliance forms the core of a unique research and development network, integrated into a strong economic environment in the Rhine-Neckar region, which consists of large international companies and over 400 small and medium-sized companies in the healthcare industry. The Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim acts as a pacemaker and catalyst for innovation and is set to be highly attractive to top talent and world-class researchers. In order to accelerate the translation and transfer of scientific knowledge into industry, the Alliance is initiating inter-institutional research programmes and operating joint high-tech platforms. As a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH), it has now also received an institutional framework.

Three short public lectures were scheduled for the Minister’s visit, in which scientists provided information about current issues in the life sciences and medicine that the Health + Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim is seeking to address. Dr Sophie Heuer and Thomas Kuner spoke about the innovative research field of cancer neuroscience. Dr Lautaro Gandara, Dr Juliane Hartke and Dr Victoria Ingham covered new methods for protection against disease-carrying insects. This was followed by a lecture by associate professor Dr Tianzuo Zhan, Dr Michael Zimmermann and Dr Maria Zimmermann-Kogadeeva, which focused on how the individual microbiome influences the effect of drugs. The Science Minister then visited a so-called Multi-Space Platform at the BioQuant Center at Heidelberg University - a technology platform featuring state-of-the-art equipment.