An unusual container
Customized laboratory for start-ups / Ground-breaking ceremony for “Inkulab”
The ground-breaking ceremony for “Inkulab” was celebrated on the Charlottenburg campus of Technische Universität Berlin on August 26, 2016. By October of this year, a laboratory container, fully equipped with a ventilation system and laboratory and safety facilities, will be installed and begin operation. “Inkulab” wants to support those in the area of chemistry who have achieved commercially exploitable research results at Berlin’s universities and who wish to establish start-ups.
“Inkulab” closes a gap in technology transfer between research and development of marketable products and services in the early founding stages of companies. “In contrast to start-ups in the IT sector, companies that emerge from research require complex infrastructure,” explains “Inkulab” project leader Ralph Langanke. “The laboratory container provides a customized infrastructure and an incubation program for scientists that are involved in life sciences, green chemistry, or nanotechnology. Research infrastructure at universities is working to capacity with little or no time and space for founders, which is why the idea of ‘Inkulab’ emerged,” says Langanke.
“Inkulab” was founded by Innovationszentrum Berlin Management GmbH (a WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH subsidiary), the Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Cluster of Excellence UniCat at TU Berlin as well as DexLeChem GmbH, a start-up of the Charlottenburg Innovation-Centre (CHIC). Berlin’s business sector supports the initiative with around one million euro. On this, Dr. Marion Hass, Managing Director for innovation and environment at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) Berlin, states: “The project, funded by Berlin’s business sector, supports spin-offs especially from the Cluster of Excellence UniCat that promote the city as a business location, and the provision of laboratory working spaces for founders during the pre-start-up phase closes an existing gap in current start-up infrastructure. These are additionally valuable advantages for the start-up capital and Berlin’s economy”.
Sonja Jost, Founder and Managing Director of DexLeChem GmbH and one of the initiators of “Inkulab” explains: “I welcome the decision of the Berlin business sector to focus on green chemistry and related technologies as this bears the highest innovative potential in order to allow a second age of promoterism to arise, which chemistry is in such dire need of”.
“Inkulab” is offering something entirely new. “It provides a customized infrastructure for chemistry start-ups,” comments UniCat Professor Reinhard Schomäcker from the Institute of Chemistry at TU Berlin, „In addition to laboratory facilities, the added-value of the work spaces is provided by their proximity to the Institute of Chemistry. Having their ‘own building’ especially contributes to the visibility of start-ups”.
According to “Inkulab” project leader Langanke, a dozen interested parties have come forward including university alumni who aim to develop impenetrable gloves for surgeons made of self-healing material or others who are working on a braille solution for smartphones or tablet displays. “We are currently determining whether they fit the concept”.
The laboratory manufacturing company THIEMT GmbH was contracted to create a customized laboratory container in accordance with laboratory regulations and the special laboratory requirements for “Inkulab”.
UniCat stands for “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” and is a worldwide leading research consortium in the field of catalysis research. UniCat unites 250 researchers at four universities and two Max Planck Institutes in Berlin and Potsdam. The Technische Universität Berlin is UniCat’s host University.
Joint press release of the WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH, TU Berlin and IHK Berlin
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