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06.04.2018 - 13:59

Groundbreaking for the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT

ZEISS held a groundbreaking ceremony on the north campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to launch the construction of a new site in Germany.

This will be a shared innovation building for KIT and its carve-out Nanoscribe – the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT. Alongside the company and the KIT, both partners plan to let current and future start-ups and carve-outs use the space. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science Theresia Bauer, KIT President Professor Holger Hanselka, and President and CEO of the ZEISS Group, Professor Michael Kaschke.

Closer partnership at one of Germany’s most innovative sites

ZEISS, the global technology and innovation leader in the optical and optoelectronic industry, will move into the new building. Its new site is located next door to prestigious institutes for cutting-edge technology and high-tech start-ups. 

Professor Kaschke had this to say: “We aim to use the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT to expand our more than ten-year partnership with KIT and benefit from the potential of one of Germany’s most innovative sites, here on the north campus. We want to offer creative, bright technologically minded graduates room to develop their ideas and projects and take advantage of career prospects at ZEISS.”

The space to turn innovative ideas into market-ready products

At the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT, the research university in the Helmholtz Association, whose third task – after research and teaching – is innovation, the university has the chance to rent new spaces for its own carve-outs and innovation activities and offer them long-term prospects at the site. 

“The ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT bolsters innovation at KIT and intensifies close collaboration with the business world. The Hub offers our carve-outs the space to quickly turn their innovative ideas and current research findings into market-ready products that benefit both society and businesses. At the same time, it offers our graduates exciting prospects,” says KIT President Professor Hanselka. “The strategic partnership between ZEISS and KIT is the expansion of a longstanding collaboration. The ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT enables us to achieve a milestone from which both partners and the Baden-Württemberg site will benefit over the long term.” 

Minister Theresia Bauer added: “This is a clear signal for the transfer of knowledge and technology in Baden-Württemberg – ZEISS and KIT are addressing the topics of technology transfer and start-up culture. The Karlsruhe region, and KIT in particular, is an excellent site for the new Innovation Hub: with its special start-up culture, established collaborations with the relevant partners in this field, and innovation as a third pillar alongside research and teaching. This is a place where not only keen founders receive support, but also where curious individuals are encouraged to try to make it on their own.”

One of the enterprises that will move into the building is Nanoscribe, a company that focuses on 3D printing and microfabrication. Nanoscribe is a KIT carve-out that was established in 2007. ZEISS was one of its stakeholders virtually from the very beginning. The company will thus be getting the space it so urgently needs for its further expansion.

Plenty of room for maneuver in the resource-conserving new building

The building will cover a total of 12,000 m2 that can be used in many ways – as office space, meeting areas, labs and production facilities. ZEISS is investing approximately €30 million and shall assume the construction and operating costs. While planning the new building, conserving resources was a major consideration.

The new site near Karlsruhe is just one in a series of projects at sites including the USA, the company HQ in Oberkochen and its founding site in Jena. The projects are designed to ensure growth at ZEISS and its innovation and digitalization sites, as well as in emerging markets.


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