Research Campus – Public-Private Partnership for Innovation

The “Research Campus” funding initiative supports universities, research institutions and companies which seek to enter into long-term partnerships to collaborate on a research topic.

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The BMBF's "Research Campus – Public-Private Partnership for Innovation" funding initiative supports large-scale and long-term cooperation between science and industry. This enables the exploration of complex and multi-faceted research areas which involve high research risks and hold particular potential for quantum leap innovations. The topics range from new methods of infectious disease diagnosis and the transformation of the energy system to materials development and innovative production technologies.

Research factories for new technologies

Each of the nine funded research campuses encourages researchers from universities, research establishments and companies to work “under one roof”. Some of the research campuses set up research factories for this purpose in which new technologies and processes can immediately be put to the practical test. This leads to cutting-edge technological solutions for the benefit of our health, mobility and environment.

The physical proximity of the individual partners on a research campus helps to strike a balance between their different interests and to unite them in a joint research and transfer approach. In this way future applications can be already taken into account when research projects are being planned. This facilitates the future translation of research results into new products, processes and services. In addition, research campuses are also involved in university teaching or the education of young scientists, thereby ensuring the supply of skilled professionals for our economy.

The BMBF is supporting the research campuses, which were selected by an independent jury, with up to €2 million per year for a period of up to 15 years. On top of that, partners from science and industry provide a great deal of their own funding for the research campus. Binding agreements govern the cooperation among partners and intellectual property in particular. These agreements are the basis on which the research campuses are founded. They allow the research campuses to develop long-term research agendas and work on sustainable solutions to problems. The research campuses represent a new type of research structure.

Accompanying project “Research campus – proactive”

The BMBF funding initiative provided funding for the “Research campus – proactive” accompanying project from 2012 to 2016. The project increased the knowledge base on public-private partnerships and successfully supported continuous exchange between all the partners.

Under the "Research Campus – Public-Private Partnership for Innovation" funding initiative, research campuses can receive funding for periods of up to five years in each of the three funding phases. This multi-phase model provides them with a long-term perspective of up to fifteen years in which they can adapt their research strategy to current developments. Each funding phase is concluded with an evaluation by an independent jury. In summer 2018, the first research campus was evaluated by the jury and approved for the second funding phase. A further seven research campuses will follow between early 2019 and the beginning of 2020. The ninth research campus will present itself to the jury in early 2021.

Accompanying evaluation

An accompanying evaluation will now be carried out on the basis of supporting research.
The main objectives of this evaluation include studying the impact of the research campus funding instrument in terms of its support for long-term strategic partnerships between science and industry. Furthermore, an analysis will be made of the influence of research campuses on strengthening Germany's attractiveness as a business and innovation hub with a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
A Europe-wide tendering procedure was carried out and Ramboll Management GmbH was selected as contracting partner. The evaluation study will cover a period of three years. It started in February 2019.

German Forschungscampi