Areas of innovation

Forward-looking and innovative: Berlin offers optimal conditions for business in these twelve fields thanks to the excellence of its research facilities.

Energy and the Environment

The research capacity in the field of energy is enormous: In Berlin, 500 experts are involved in conducting research on a broad spectrum of energy-related issues. The scientific environment is comprised of three universities in Berlin: TU Berlin, HU Berlin and FU Berlin as well as two universities in Brandenburg: BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the University of Potsdam. The energy technology-related university courses alone currently have 5,400 students.

Graduates with Specialized Training
Many of Berlin’s engineering graduates have specialized in energy technology – a decisive location advantage for the city. Around 35,000 people in more than 3,100 companies in the energy sector are currently employed in Berlin. In addition, there are at least 250 companies in the Sustainable Water Management as well as more than 400 companies in the creative industries.
Berlin has made a name for itself internationally, especially in the fields of energy grids, integration of renewable energies, gas turbine engineering of all performance categories and energy efficiency solutions for buildings and industry. There is also excellent expertise in sewage sludge treatment and recycling, rainwater management, measurement and control technology, trenchless channel and pipe construction as well as the energy recovery of waste and innovative waste sorting technology.
Regional research and training facilities in energy technology and environmental engineering also have a promising future.

Research on behalf of the climate
One leading example for Berlin’s climate research is the Climate-KIC which was founded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology in 2010. Solutions for the innovation challenges to mitigate and adapt to the climate change are supported together with partners from the areas education, research and science. The goal of the community is to fuel and accelerate innovations with high potential.

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Society, language and culture – the humanities cover many topics that affect our daily lives. In Germany, the humanities comprise 96 subjects in 17 fields of study ranging from African Studies to Central Asian languages and cultures. Indeed, a special feature of Berlin universities is their expertise in an extraordinary spectrum of these so-called “small subjects.”

Excellency and Diversity
At the head of the list is Berlin’s largest university, the Freie Universität or “FU,” which offers a unique level of excellence and diversity particularly in the field of the humanities. The Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, the Graduate School of North American Studies and the Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies are graduate schools that have been recognized as part of the so-called “Excellence Initiative” launched by Germany’s federal and state governments. Three graduate schools and two “clusters of excellence” in the humanities have received distinction as part of the initiative – a status that is unique throughout Germany.

Flagship: Modern Islamic Studies
In the field of non-university research, the Centers for Advanced Study in the Humanities Berlin (GWZ) – which comprises the Center for General Linguistics (ZAS), the Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZFL) and the Center for Modern Oriental Studies (ZMO) – is one of the capital city’s foremost showpieces. The Center for Modern Oriental Studies, which operates in cooperation with Berlin universities, is considered a flagship in the field of modern Islamic Studies. It is the only research facility in Germany devoted to an interdisciplinary and comparative study of the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia form an historical perspective.

Urban Development and Construction Engineering

Cities are in a process of constant development and Berlin is a particular example for an ever-changing city. Old buildings can be found here next to modern structures made of glass and chrome and more and more people move to the city every year.

In order to keep the capital a place worth living for the many new coming Berliners and the long-time residents likewise, one has to consider and adjust the necessary infrastructure. Housing and social infrastructure are particularly required. Therefore, existing space should be offered for creating cost-efficient real estate and the construction of new affordable homes should be promoted with the help of housing cooperatives. In terms of infrastructure, new daycare centers, schools, museums etc. are currently planned.

To ensure that all relevant concerns are taken into consideration when a decision about necessary construction projects is being made, Berlin maintains integrated urban development which means interdisciplinary and cross-departmental action, involvement of all actors in the city and attention to the overall appearance of the city.

Subject areas of the domain include:

•           Urban planning and building culture

•           Residing and renting

•           Mobility

•           Environmental and climate protection and cultural heritage management

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Basic Research in Physics and Chemistry

New technologies require new procedures and materials – in medicine, in solar technology and in many other fields. The applied sciences in Berlin benefit from a wide range of basic research in physics and chemistry carried out in numerous.

Experiments with Neutrons and Synchrotron
Radiation The Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy is one of the few centers in the world that conducts experiments with both neutrons and synchrotron radiation. This is made possible by two pieces of large-scale research equipment: the research reactor BER II for experiments with neutrons and the synchrotron radiation source BESSY II, which produces ultra-bright photon beams ranging from the terahertz to the X-ray frequency.
Other institutions worthy of special mention are the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces which carries out research in the fields of biomaterials, biomolecular systems, colloid chemistry as well as theory and biosystems.

Training and Research Opportunities Found Nowhere Else in the World
The Process Sciences faculty at the Technische Universität Berlin brings together experts in the fields of biotechnology, energy and process engineering, food chemistry and technology, technical environ-mental protection and materials science. In doing so, it offers a training and research program in the field of the process-oriented science disciples that is unique in the entire world.

Separate institute for analytical chemistry
In the Analytic City Adlershof, research institutes and large companies cooperate for the future to optimize current procedures in material analysis and develop new methods as an interface between fundamental research and use. Moreover, the Humboldt University Berlin is one of the few universities in Germany in which analytical chemistry is taught in its own institute.
The Berlin Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society is known worldwide for its research on general physical chemistry, specifically the examination of physical-chemical processes on solid surfaces and surface structures. Professor Gerhard Ertl, from the Fritz Haber Institute, won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work in 2007.

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Creative Industries and Culture

As home to Germany’s federal government, Berlin is the country’s key city when it comes to political news and journalism. At the same time, Berlin is also one of Germany’s most important big cities in terms of culture. For example, music-sector companies based in Berlin bring in over a billion euros a year. Likewise, the capital city is also in much demand as a venue for various events. For example, Berlin hosts the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale), the award ceremonies for the German Film Award and the Echo music prizes, Berlin Music Week and Berlin Fashion Week.
Cooperation between Industry and Science
Berlin’s media sector is particularly good at routinely generating innovative start-up companies. Like-wise, some of the giants in the sector are also based in Berlin, including Axel Springer, DW-TV, MTV, N24, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb), Universal Music Deutschland and VIVA. Moreover, Berlin is also home to 22 technology and start-up centers. Science and industry collaborate in many research establishments, and the Berlin Senate supports the numerous regional initiatives, networks and platforms, such as those of the  TSB Technology Foundation Berlin.

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Photonics and Microsystems Technologies

Photonics have had a long tradition in Berlin. The German capital has become known as “City of Lights“. Today, optics, photonics and microsystems technologies from Berlin-Brandenburg are key technologies of the 21st century and represent innovation and growth. Particularly the diversified scientific excellence in this field makes the capital region a globally attractive high-tech location.
Proximity and the Combined Power of the Cluster as Location Advantages
Optics, photonics and microsystem technologies in Berlin-Brandenburg are particularly characterized by a high density and diversification of sector players. This provides ideal conditions for the exchange between science and industry, being the driving force for innovations in other sectors at the same time. The proximity to each other helps players to get the developments in both fields ready for the marketplace more quickly.
One important partner for researchers and companies in the fields of photonics and microsystems technologies is the cluster Photonics Berlin-Brandenburg. It consists of the three partners Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, Optec-Berlin-Brandenburg (OpTecBB) as well as the Brandenburg Economic Development Board ZAB and pursues the goal of facilitating the access to resources such as knowledge and assets for companies and research facilities.
The international comparison shows that the capital region has a very dynamic development and is one of the leading locations of photonics:
•    more than 4,000 new highly qualified jobs in science and industry were created in the past ten years
•    the turnovers of the companies have increased by an annual average of 7%
•    export ratio of the total revenue: 68%
•    share of R&D expenditure measured by the total revenue: 17%
Versatile in Application
With a diverse range of skills, photonics and microsystems technologies serve as an interface between different types of technology and are often the basis for innovative products and services in such fields as medicine, biotechnology or information and communications technology. Berlin gives particular support to national and international flagship projects that are expected to give potential boosts to the regional economy at some point in the future. Six so-called focal areas have been identified to promote these developments:
•    Biomedical optics and ophthalmic optics
•    Laser technology
•    Lighting
•    Microsystems technologies
•    Optics for communication and sensors
•    Optical analysis

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Economics, Law and Social Sciences

Future studies and innovation play an important role in the development of our society. In Berlin, in particular, these fields form an essential part of studies into economics and social sciences. In a diverse range of departments at universities, colleges and private business schools, students are taught modern and innovative marketing and management concepts. In turn, a number of projects and activities, such as the Laboratory for Entrepreneurship, help to support and promote the practical implementation of these cutting-edge business models.
The degree courses at private universities with a focus on economics are characterized by internationality and practical relevance. The ESMT European School of Management and Technology, which was founded by leading companies and associations in 2002, offers English-language degree courses in Berlin and Cologne as well as various advanced training programs in management. In 2013, the ESMT received the right to award doctorates. The international programs at the world’s oldest business school ESCP Europe are accessible cross-campus in Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid and Turin.

Research and Consulting
Yet another unique strength of Berlin’s science community in the field of economics and social studies are its non-university institutions. The Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) is the largest economic research center in the country. It performs applied economic research and also provides economic policy advice.
The Social Science Research Center (WZB) concentrates on basic, problem-oriented research. Here, historians, economists, political scientists, lawyers and sociologists investigate development trends, adjustment problems and innovation opportunities in modern societies while also providing consulting services to social and state institutions.  

Main research areas of the WZB:
•    Education, work and Life Chances
•    Markets and Choice
•    Society and Economic Dynamics
•    International Politics and Law
•    Dynamics of Political Systems
•    Migration and Diversity

Mathematics and its applications

As a basic science, mathematics is essential for innovations. It also allows many products and services to become possible. Since June 1, 2014, Berlin’s mathematics combines three successful institutions – the German Research Foundation’s MATHEON research center, the Berlin Mathematical School and the German Center for Teacher Training Mathematics (DZLM) – and pools its activities in the Einstein Centre for Mathematics Berlin (ECMath). Mathematics is the foundation for Key Technologies.
The basic research of ECMath is aimed at applications in the fields of preventive healthcare, renewable energies and optical technologies. Thus, scientists lay the foundation for a close collaboration with partners drawn from industry and business.

Their research focuses on the mathematical foundations of the following fields:

  • Clinical studies
  • Healthcare industry
  • Renewable energies
  • Infrastructure
  • Optical technologies

The Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), a joint graduate school of the mathematics institutes of Berlin’s universities Freie Universität, Humboldt University and Technische Universität, has been part of the Excellence Initiative since 2006 and offers students a challenging program, from the Bachelor’s degree to the doctorate degree level.

Health and life sciences

The capital region is one of Europe’s most important locations for life sciences and healthcare indus-tries. Thanks to its unique networking of science and clinical users, the region numbers among the leading science-based health regions beyond Germany.

A Successful Mix of Science and Industry   
Berlin is home to more than 280 medical engineering companies, over 230 biotechnology companies and around 30 pharmaceutical companies, including B. Braun Melsungen, Bausch & Lomb, Bayer Healthcare, Berlin-Chemie, Biotronik and Sanofi. More than 30 university-affiliated and non-academic research establishments are conducting educational and research activities in the life sciences field.

The leading institutions in the fields of life sciences and healthcareare:

  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB) (one of the world’s most prestigious and high-performance transplant centers)
  • Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum Berlin (DRFZ)
  • Institut für Konstruktion, Mikro- und Medizintechnik of the Technische Universität Berlin
  • Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch

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Information and Communication Technologies

Without advances in the information and communication industry, innovative technologies cannot be realized and societal development would hardly be imaginable. The more than 250 technology-oriented research facilities in Berlin create an optimal environment for innovative companies. 85 scientific institutes carry out research and teach in the fields IT and software development.
Setting the Course for the Future
Berlin has recognized the sector’s importance for industry and science: The region boasts Europe’s largest fiber optics network and set a decisive precedent by introducing digital terrestrial television. In doing so, it has become a test market for developments in the IT and communications sector.
A Center of the Information and Communications Technology Sector
Alongside Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, Berlin is among the leading locations for information and communications technology. Almost 72,000 employees in ca. 6,500 companies work here representing the largest pool of professionals in information technologies nationwide. Most of these companies are providers specializing in multimedia applications or high-performing companies in the Internet sector. They concentrate their activities on the following fields:
•    Wireless technologies (voice and data for business and private users)
•    Communication services (for data, voice and video)
•    Mobile services (e.g., public, multimedia and telematic services)
•    Network technologies (e.g., access, broadband networks, hosting and housing)

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Transport and Mobility

Berlin is a hub between East and West. Thanks to its position in the heart of Europe, Germany’s capital city offers the best conditions for companies engaged in modern transport technologies.

Berlin as Transport Hub
The capital region is home to a European transport hub with six autobahns, ten arterial railway lines, two high-speed railway lines and three waterways. With the new airport BER, the region will get the opportunity to improve its international network and to become an important hub on the continent between East and West.

A Leader in Europe
Roughly 191,000 people work in the railway, automotive, aerospace, logistics and intelligent transportation systems sectors. Some of the major employers in these sectors include Bombardier, BMW Motorrad, Rolls Royce and large operating companies such as Deutsche Bahn and the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. Numerous networks and collaborative arrangements strengthen this sector even further. Examples include the Berlin-Brandenburg Aerospace Alliance (BBAA), which is made up of 80 aerospace companies and research establishments, and the network Kompetenznetz Rail Berlin-Brandenburg (KNRBB), in which companies in the field of rolling stock engineering are organized.
Five technical universities in the capital region teach and perform research in the field of transport and logistics – this makes Berlin the European leader in research and teaching.

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Materials and Production Engineering

Having excellent research infrastructure in the fields of material sciences and manufacturing engineering, Berlin provides best conditions for science and economy.
The high quality and competitiveness of German products is secured by innovative measurement and testing technologies. The Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) makes an important contribution to this under the guideline “Safety in technology and chemistry”. The BAM has great expertise in such fields as materials engineering, material protection and surface technology, chemical safety engineering and non-destructive testing.
It is also worth highlighting the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB), the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth (IKZ), which deals with the growth of crystalline materials from basic research to technical maturity, and the different institutes based in Adlershof with key subjects such as molecular materials, nanomaterials or semiconductors and semiconductor devices.  
With the Produktionstechnisches Zentrum PTZ, a double institute consisting of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK) and the TU Berlin with the Institute for Machine Tools and Factory Operation (IWF), Berlin is home to a top-class scientific institution with a global reputation in manufacturing science. The research activities in industrial factory operation include the development of process technologies and manufacturing facilities as well as their modeling in terms of information technology and simulation. Other key subjects are surface and joining technology, automation as well as machine tools and manufacturing engineering.
Berlin’s universities of applied sciences such as the Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin and the HTW Berlin are also well positioned in manufacturing science.
With the Center for Welding-Related Instruction and Experimentation SLV Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin hosts a renowned research facility for modern lightweight materials and innovative welding procedures.

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