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MicroTEC Südwest convinces in the second round of the BMBF’s Leading Edge Cluster competition

The winners of the second round of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF) Leading Edge Cluster competition have now been selected. On 26th January 2010, the chairman of the jury, Prof. Dr. Andreas Barner (spokesperson for the Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH Management Board), and the German Research Minister, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan, announced in Berlin which of the ten finalists of the highly lucrative Leading Edge Cluster competition will receive funding to implement their cluster strategies. MicroTEC Südwest from Baden-Württemberg is one of the finalists that won over the highly reputed members of the jury and expert reviewers.

The announcement of the winners of the second round of the Leading Edge Cluster competition of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) places MicroTEC Südwest firmly in the top group of the German cluster landscape. MicroTEC Südwest had been among the finalists in the first round of the Leading Edge Cluster competition held in autumn 2008, but on that occasion the cluster narrowly missed out on a podium place. In the second round, the cross-sectoral technology cluster involving scientific and industrial partners was once again given the opportunity to demonstrate its excellent developmental dynamics and win over the jury with its sustainable strategy for future markets and its unique concentration of skills. The funding that comes from winning the competition puts MicroTEC Südwest on the road towards becoming a leader in the field of microsystems technology. The BMBF will contribute 50% of the total project costs of more than 80 million euros. Baden-Württemberg will also contribute a significant sum to the establishment of the infrastructure required to develop the cluster and cluster management structures. The MicroTEC Südwest proposal involves 33 cooperative projects and brings together 116 partners, two thirds of whom are from industry.

The photo shows the Leading Edge Cluster winners together with Research Minister Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan.<br />
German Research Minister Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan and the winners of the German government's Leading Edge Cluster competition. © BMBF

The support given to MicroTEC Südwest not only gives Germany the opportunity to expand its activities in one of the most important global key technologies onto the international level, but also to ensure the successful transfer of this technology into the following key sectors of application:
- automotive
- life science / medical technology
- production / mechanical engineering
- automation /sensor technology

Cluster beacons

The MicroTEC Südwest cluster is an important provider of technologies for other clusters, particularly those that also participated in the BMBF's Leading Edge Cluster competition. It is envisaged that the projects will bring about drastic changes in the lead-market oriented thematic fields of "mobility" and "health" in the medium term and will therefore generate huge market opportunities for intelligent microsystems solutions. With this in mind, MicroTEC Südwest will initially combine its forces in the "Robust and efficient sensor systems" cluster beacon in association with Robert Bosch, a leader in this particular field, and the "In vitro diagnostics" cluster beacon in association with Roche Diagnostics, another leader in its field.

The "Robust and efficient sensor systems" cluster beacon will develop innovative sensor applications for the automotive industry. The high-performance sensors are a prerequisite for the development of clean propulsion techniques that use less resources and for sensors that detect living things by alerting driver assistance systems. These sensor applications will make an essential contribution to the reduction of energy consumption (and hence also of emissions) as well as to increased traffic safety (it is estimated that such systems have an important part to play in halving road traffic fatalities). They will also be suitable for use in future hybrid propulsion systems.

"In vitro diagnostics" (IVD) is becoming more and more important for its considerable contribution to improving patients' quality of life and the medical quality and cost-effectiveness of patient treatment. It is estimated that if in vitro diagnostics expenditure is increased by 1 per cent, this will lead to cost reductions for the health system of 5 per cent. This represents over 10 billion euros/year in Germany.

Findings from these beacon fields will diffuse into other applications and sectors of the cluster. As the most important manufacturing field in Germany, the mechanical industry also offers huge potential for the permanent application of microsystems solutions, in, for example, in situ sensor technologies, in situ actuator technology and in situ processing technology as well as in integrated microsystems systems for a more efficient production that uses less resources.

Winning the German government's Leading Edge Cluster competition confirms the excellent cooperation that MicroTEC Südwest's has fostered between all the partners in the cluster and with the team that has developed the cluster's strategy and prepared the main proposal. The Baden-Württemberg government also actively supported the MicroTEC Südwest cluster during the application phase.

The next steps

The next steps involve focusing on preparing and submitting full proposals on the basis of the initial proposals. This will involve a lot of hard work, but it is work that will eventually pay off. Once the full proposals have been submitted, the most exciting phase will begin: the further development of the MicroTEC Südwest cluster as it seeks to secure a top international position in the field of microsystems technology.

Further information:
Mikrosystemtechnik Baden-Württemberg e.V. (MST BW)
Peter J. Jeuk (Managing Director)
Emmy-Noether-Straße 2
79110 Freiburg
Tel.: +49 (0)761 897598-75
Fax: +49 (0)761 897598-78
E-mail: peter.jeuk(at)mstbw.de

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/microtec-suedwest-convinces-in-the-second-round-of-the-bmbf-s-leading-edge-cluster-competition