DESY & Innovation

Thomas Sattelberger takes a close look at DESY's innovation ecosystem

Talks and campus tour with the State Secretary at the Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) revolve around promotion of young scientists and innovation activities of the research center

Thomas Sattelberger, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), also acts as Commissioner for Transfer and Spin-offs from Science. Especially this aspect as well as the questions concerning the entire innovation ecosystem, which is formed on and around the DESY research campus in Hamburg, were his focus during his visit to the research center on April 22nd. Another focus was the education and training of young scientific personnel at DESY.

In the innovation center on the research campus, the Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld, which was inaugurated only last year, Thomas Sattelberger gained insights into development projects of two very different start-ups, that have emerged from the scientific context: Class 5 Photonics, a spin-off of DESY and the Helmholtz Institute Jena, develops and manufactures laser systems for flashes in the femtosecond range. The company now supplies laboratories and research institutes worldwide with their bespoke products. Provirex, a start-up in the field of biotechnology and a spin-off of the Heinrich-Pette-Institute, has only recently settled on the campus and is working on a cure for HIV/AIDS.

"On the DESY campus, we see exactly what we want to promote much more strongly in the future, namely spin-offs and an exemplary transfer of scientific findings into application. This is exactly what we will continue to promote with the German Agency for Transfer and Innovation DATI. DESY is already a hub where deeptech companies with potential and forward-looking technology developments can be found. We see an innovation ecosystem in growth here, whose overall potential is already impressive and which we are providing with a further beacon with federal funding of 95 million euros for the Integrated Technology and Start-up Center. I am excited to see what other ideas, spin-offs and technologies will find their origin here in the coming years," says Thomas Sattelberger.

Other topics covered during the visit included:
- An overview of developments in compact accelerator technology, which DESY is leading the world in advancing. A technology development that can help science and industry make rapid leaps in development in the long term: These compact radiation sources make state-of-the-art analysis methods easily accessible to a broad user community.
- Discussions with young scientists, in particular on opportunities for further career planning in science or in the private sector. This was accompanied by the question of how interest in training and studying STEM subjects can be further strengthened.
- Discussions with employees from the Innovation & Technology Transfer department at DESY, whose work includes the innovation ecosystem on campus, collaboration with industry and promotion of new technologies.

"A key objective of DESY is that the research we advance here also has a direct positive impact on important challenges facing society. With our X-ray light sources, to technology developments: DESY makes important contributions from drug development to the design of new, sustainable materials. Through our activities, we are shaping an innovation ecosystem in which DESY acts as a platform and brings together a wide variety of players to transform precisely these solutions into market-ready products and services," explains Arik Willner, Chief Technology Officer at DESY and responsible for the research center's Innovation Division.

In addition to the discussions with the employees of the start-ups and the research center, Thomas Sattelberger also gained an insight into the research being conducted at the synchrotron radiation source PETRA III, in future also PETRA IV. The research fields, from health to energy, materials to earth and environment, address relevant issues where solutions to societal challenges are essential for sustainable living.


  • 2022/04/22

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