Helmholtz Innovation Labs

Helmholtz Innovation Labs are physical locations where scientific expertise and the needs of industry and its customers are iteratively matched. Long-term "enabling spaces" emerge here for ideas to be tested out. Their aim is to integrate entrepreneurial partners in joint development projects over the long term. This notion of commercialization distinguishes Helmholtz Innovation Labs, as "Think and Do Tanks", setting them apart from pure research laboratories.

The call for the first round of "Helmholtz Innovation Labs" took place in September 2015. The first cohort of seven Innovation Labs now reaches the halfway point. Due to the success of the program in many ways, a second call is now being launched to build on this success.

The central goal of the Helmholtz Innovation Labs funding instrument is to establish the concept of Innovation Labs at the centers and adapt these accordingly. These physical "enabling spaces" will be an interface between industry research and non-university research that is embedded in a long-term strategy, going beyond pure contract research and existing transfer instruments.

In Innovation Labs, scientists will perform research and development with partners from private industry. The scope ranges from Innovation Labs to establishing long-term strategic pre-competition collaboration on specific subjects with one or more companies, to User Labs for application- and user-oriented technological and product development, such as application labs for checking with users and customers, or user platforms for facilitating access to large instruments, research infrastructures and Helmholtz Center data.

Close and iterative interaction between science, industry (SMEs and large corporations) and users/customers will contribute not only to helping to improve technology, but also involving the perspectives of other market participants early in the process, which can be critical for the successful development, from the invention to innovation.

The selection for 2019 has been completed.

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  • Photo of Arne Meyer-Haake