HI-STEM is a member of the Cellular and Molecular Medicine biotechnology cluster of excellence of the "Biotech Region Rhine-Neckar" (BioRN), one of the winners of the Top Cluster Competition of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The BioRN cluster partners received a total of approximately € 40 million in prize money from the Ministry. Roughly € 6 million of these funds went to HI-STEM.
Through this competition, the Ministry is promoting the joint commitment of industry and science to advancing future technologies. The common goal is to secure Germany a top position in the international competition for future markets and jobs.
In order to put these investments in research and development to optimal use, partnerships between science and industry must be further expanded. Clusters in which companies, scientific institutions and various other actors in a region join forces provide excellent conditions for this.
Clusters of excellence bring cooperation partners with different core competencies together at an early stage and offer a unique combination of success factors.
A common strategy that builds on the strengths of each member of the cluster and is focused on the exploitation of still unused development potentials is the basis of support. Inclusion of the entire innovation chain – from the initial concept to its commercial exploitation – is essential. The development potentials of strategies, their creativeness and innovativeness as well as the current state of development of the cluster must factor into the decision-making process during strategy selection.
The Ministry's Top Cluster Competition was launched in 2007 under the slogan "More innovation. More growth. More employment." Providing a total of € 600 million in prize money, its purpose was to enable clusters of excellence to more rapidly translate their ideas into new products, processes and services. There were a total of three rounds of competition, and up to five top clusters were selected per round. The award-winners will receive up to € 200 million in funding over a maximum period of 5 years.
The Ministry's competition has sparked considerable momentum. Thirty-eight national candidates from the information and communication technologies, health, manufacturing and transport sectors participated in the first round of competition.
Research Minister Annette Schavan said: "We are forerunners in supporting clusters of excellence because we want to ensure growth and employment here in Germany. Only when researchers and entrepreneurs join forces can we increase the innovative capacity of our country. Strategic partnerships are needed. That is the basic idea behind the German government's high-tech strategy."
Die Gewinner des Spitzenclusters: