With the German BioRegio competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in 1996, many cluster initiatives have been established in the field of biotechnology. In the first years the cluster managers met at various events as competitors for public funding. However, it soon became clear that beyond regional and political constraints the clusters were facing the same challenges and could learn from each others by sharing best practice examples. In 2004, the cluster managers met for the first time in Leipzig to share their experiences, to discuss important issues like founding and supporting biotech companies.
Today, the AK BioRegio is an established institution for the regional cluster initiatives and promotes the economic use of modern biotechnology throughout Germany. It shares its office with BIO Deutschland in Berlin, where it can speak with one voice for all regional clusters and this way strengthens the biotechnology industry in Germany. Today the AK BioRegio consists of 30 members joining forces to coordinate and optimize their regional activities.
„Over the past ten years, we were able to make a significant contribution to the promotion of the German biotechnology scene with various initiatives,“ explains Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, spokesman of the AK BioRegio. Since 2007, the AK BioRegio initiates the annual Innovation Award of the German BioRegions, a national competition for application-oriented ideas from universities. Since 2010, the AK BioRegio is co-founder and co-organizer of the German Biotechnology Days, the central annual summit of biotechnology in Germany. In 2011 the AK BioRegio started the information campaign „biotech>inside“ in order to organize small regional meetings with regional representatives of the government and the federal states as well as journalists and to inform about application possibilities of modern biotechnology and their broad social and economic impact.
„The AK BioRegio is now recognized as an independent and competent network partner,“ says Dr. Thomas Diefenthal, deputy spokesman. Through the continuous and open exchange of experiences and opinions, a common denominator could be found in the form of a mission statement and rules of procedure for cooperations have been developed. Today, the German bioregions can be represented as a whole. Here, the AK BioRegio is working together with key partners such as the industry association BIO Deutschland e. V., EY or Germany Trade & Invest.
„With regular, two-day conferences, we intensively discuss the future development of biotechnology in order to stay on the pulse of time, to exchange experiences from the regions and to strengthen the young life sciences industry,“ says Dr. Heinrich Cuypers, second deputy spokesman. The bioregions are the source of new topics and their implementation in Germany such as bio-economy, interdisciplinarity, personalized medicine and bioethics.
Dr. Klaus Eichenberg
Spokesman, Arbeitskreis der BioRegionen
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH
Tel. +49 711 870 354 23
Dr. Thomas Diefenthal, BioPark Regensburg GmbH (http://www.bioregio-regensburg.de)
Dr. Heinrich Cuypers, BioCon Valley GmbH Greifswald (http://www.bioconvalley.org)