The future is moving in: Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld, a project jointly managed by DESY, the University of Hamburg and the City of Hamburg, is the new place for science entrepreneurship on DESY’s research campus. The innovation centre for deep-tech start-ups will also enhance the profile of the future Science City Bahrenfeld. The Start-up Labs were officially opened on 20 September.
Young companies and start-ups in the field of physics and biophysics have found a new home in western Hamburg: "The future Science City Bahrenfeld offers ideal conditions for scientific institutes, start-ups and innovative companies," says Hamburg's First Mayor Dr. Peter Tschentscher at the official opening. "With the Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld, we are creating a place in the neighbourhood of DESY where basic research and smart ideas can be turned into innovative products and applications."
Katharina Fegebank, the Senator for Science and Research, added: “It is exciting to see how, in collaboration between DESY and the University of Hamburg, new space for cutting-edge research and new forms of exchange for innovations will be created in the new Start-Up Labs in the future. Clever minds will be able to work out their ideas, implement them and later turn them into spin-offs and innovative products. This is crucial for scientific transfer and also for economic growth with innovation as a driver of progress and answers to the most pressing questions of the future: Thus, here in the future Science City Hamburg-Bahrenfeld, through forward-looking research in the field of lasers and photonics, concrete products and services will also be developed in the coming years that we will all encounter in the future in our everyday lives or improve our lives.
Laboratories and workshops, offices and meeting rooms have been created covering an area of 2700 square metres. There is a strong need and a high level of demand for these; the first tenants have already moved in – and leases have been signed for almost all the premises at the Start-up Labs. The diversity of different fields covered by the budding companies is huge, ranging from synchronisation systems to individualised tests for diagnosing cancer. The age of the companies also ranges from absolute start-ups to those that are already established on the market. They all have one thing in common, though: they originate in complex, science-driven products or services. Helmut Dosch, Chairman of DESY’s Board of Directors, points out a major advantage: “This way, the founders can also exchange ideas among themselves, across disciplinary boundaries, and achieve numerous synergies.”
The Start-up Labs are operated by Innovationszentrum Forschungscampus Hamburg-Bahrenfeld GmbH, whose managing director, Arik Willner, is Chief Technology Officer of DESY. He says: “Particularly in times of a pandemic, young company founders need active support from experienced colleagues working in research and industry if they want to be successful in the long term in economically challenging times.” The DESY campus in Bahrenfeld provides ideal conditions for this, he says, also thanks to the research network that exists there with scientific institutions such as the University of Hamburg and the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter. “The Start-up Labs Bahrenfeld supports innovative breakthroughs on the long road from fundamental research to successful market entry,” says Jetta Frost, Vice President of the University of Hamburg. And Michael Westhagemann, the Senator for Economic Affairs, also sees it as confirmation of his strategy: “The Start-up Labs are an excellent link in the chain of innovation stretching from the DESY ecosystem to the Innovation Park on Vorhornweg. Thanks to the excellent new infrastructure it offers, start-ups can receive optimal support as they develop and network with others. In the future, the Start-up Labs will be flanked by two other important projects: the ‘tecHHub’ and the ‘DESY Innovation Factory’ in the Innovation Park.”
This is confirmed by the companies in the new innovation centre, for whom the Start-up Labs are the right infrastructure in the right place: “Being able to move in here was a real stroke of luck for us,” says Julian Becker, CEO of X-Spectrum GmbH, which builds high-end detectors for research applications. “We can draw on competent contacts for support at all times. Being connected to DESY’s campus infrastructure is a real bonus for us.”