In conjunction with the 7th Annual Conference of the Technopolicy Network, delegates had the opportunity to tour many of the key installations that make up the Heidelberg bioscience cluster. The tour was facilitated by conference partner BioRN, the dynamic cluster organization that is driving this world class biotechnology cluster, the leading bioscience cluster in Germany and recognized as one of the best overall clusters in the country.
The tour started with an excellent overview presentation of the cluster by managing director Christian Tidona and his team. BioRN stands for the Rhine-Neckar region where the cluster is situated and the goal is to become Europe’s leading health economy. Not only is the cluster home to global industry leaders such as Roche, Merck Serono and Abbott, the cluster benefits from an impressive array of research and learning institutions located in the Heidelberg Technology Park.
There are more than 12,000 employess in the research institutions, including 2,500 in DKFZ, the German cancer research institute which was one of the highlights of the Technopolicy innovation tour. DKFZ is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute and is focused on investigating mechanisms of cancer development and risk factors and is home to the 2008 Nobel prize winner for medicine, Dr. Harald zur Hausen, whose research made it possible to develop a vaccine against cervical cancer. Another highlight of the tour was a visit to the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Centre (HIT), the world’s first heavy ion therapy facility with a moveable radiation source. One of the largest research projects ever implementted in Germany, HIT cost 119 million Euros and occupies an are the size of a football field. And like so many of the exciting activities taking place in the BioRN cluster, HIT is very much a collaborative initiative with a number of key partner organizations.
Other sites covered on this most stimulating innovation tour included the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine, the Centre of Molecular Biology (ZMBH), and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research. More information on BioRN and this world class cluster can be found at www.biorn.org . Following the innovation tour, the Technopolicy delegates were treated to a guided tour of the old city of Heidelberg, truly one of Europe’s most beatiful and historic cities, setting the stage for a most interesting annual conference.
This was an extremely impressive tour of a Bio Science Cluster that you don't hear much of , but is definitely a real Global Player......Rich Bendis