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Construction work started on the new "lab2fab" start-up center


In addition to the support provided by the Service Center for Research and Transfer (SFT), there is now another concrete spatial perspective for start-ups at Friedrich Schiller University Jena: construction work has just begun on the new "lab2fab" start-up center on the university's Landgrafen Campus. Here, the Technology and Innovation Park (TIP) Jena is constructing a building with 4,680 square meters by the end of 2025, which will provide young high-tech companies ready for the market.

"Transfer and start-up centers connect university research with regional, sometimes even supra-regional industrial companies. They accelerate the transfer of scientific findings into the economy, thus creating new products and jobs," says Beate Wachenbrunner, Plant Managerof the municipal enterprise Kommunale Immobilien Jena (KIJ) and acting Managing Director of TIP Jena.

"With the university and the natural science institutes, above all the Center for Energy and Environmental Chemistry (CEEC Jena) and the Jena Center for Soft Matter (JCSM), we have great potential in Jena, especially in the field of polymer science, which undoubtedly justifiesan investment of 21 million euros. This will further enhance our city as a science location," says Mayor Dr. Thomas Nitzsche.

Turning environmentally relevant research into sustainable products

The new start-up center rounds off the construction projects at CEEC Jena, where an application center has been built in addition to three research buildings. Research into energy storage/batteries of the future, clean water for all, recycling and many other (environmentally) relevant topics as well as medical and pharmaceutical-related projects is running at full speed. The first prototypes or small series of products are being created in the application center, proving that the ideas can be put into practice.

"In future, the new start-up center will enable interested parties in close proximity to research to set up companies that transfer these research products into commercial practice; from the laboratory directly into production," says University Director Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert, alluding to the building's title "lab2fab".

Examples of this are the companies "Next Generation Pharma Polymers" (NGP Polymers GmbH), which develops new pharmaceutical polymers for future drug formulations, and linkdlab GmbH, a chemical AI start-up. Both are still housed in university premises.

In addition to the spin-offs, lab2fab will also provide space for the new Helmholtz Institute HIPOLE Jena. This joint institute of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) and the University of Jena is researching new polymer materials for energy applications. In addition, premises for a proposed transfer center for sustainable polymers are planned.

"Even if the current founders still have to be accommodated in other buildings, there is a concrete perspective for the future. And I am sure that this will also encourage other researchers to transfer their inventions to industry," says Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert.

The fact that productive companies have already emerged from the scientific environment in the Landgrafen region is demonstrated, for example, by the GmbHs Polytives and SmartDyeLivery. They develop polymer additives and active pharmaceutical ingredients with polymer materials respectively.

Dr. Thomas Nitzsche, Beate Wachenbrunner, Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert und Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert (v.l.) beim ersten Spatenstich des neue Gründerzentrums „lab2fab“
Dr. Thomas Nitzsche, Beate Wachenbrunner, Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert und Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert (v.l.) beim ersten Spatenstich des neue Gründerzentrums „lab2fab“