When it came to presenting the future “Heidelberg Mannheim Health & Life Science Alliance” on Monday, Baden-Württemberg did not skimp on superlatives.

After the defeat of the Heidelberg life sciences in the Excellence Strategy, they are now being strengthened in a completely different way.

An internationally competitive science and business location is to be created in the Rhine-Neckar region that uses the life sciences as a technology driver.

Baden-Württemberg's Science Minister Theresia Bauer (Greens) spoke of an innovation campus for the health industry and medical technology that the state is promoting with start-up funding of 40 million euros.

Heike Schmoll

Political correspondent in Berlin, responsible for “Bildungswelten”.

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The starting point in Heidelberg and Mannheim is favorable. There are not only two university clinics and two medical faculties on site, but also non-university partners such as the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research as well as the Central Institute for Mental health (ZI). They have formed a research alliance to accelerate the transfer of knowledge and technology, as the rector of Heidelberg University, Bernhard Eitel, said. “Medicine and the life sciences are the technology drivers of the 21st century; Health economy, life sciences, medicine and biotechnology form the backbone of a new lead industry for the whole of Baden-Württemberg and beyond. "

Cooperation has been tried and tested in the region

The research alliance is not just about new medical technology developments such as the production of an artificial retina, artificial organs developed using the 3-D process and similar future projects, the development of which is then to be transferred directly to the Rhine-Necker economic region.

There are more than 950 companies in biotechnology, medical technology and medical development.

These include large international companies as well as start-ups.

The latest research findings should also be tested and used directly in the university clinics, pointed out the chairman of the DKFZ, Michael Baumann. Patients should benefit from this, not only in therapy, but also in diagnostics and prevention. The use of artificial intelligence cannot be tested theoretically in laboratories; scientists would have to be placed in intensive care units. A merged large hospital with a campus in Heidelberg and Mannheim and a total of 3300 beds is therefore to become a supporting pillar of the new research and economic area.

Medical technology and biotechnology in the Rhine-Neckar region are already among the European hotspots, said Baden-Württemberg's Minister of Economic Affairs, Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut (CDU). The advantage of cooperation on site and not just on a virtual platform is that everyone involved can develop ideas together and that at least the cooperation between universities and non-university institutions in the region has been tried and tested. The decision-making mechanisms and work structures were laid down in a “Memorandum of Understanding”.