When both sides benefit
CleanTech Marzahn: TransferHUB fosters cooperation between businesses and science
“Clean tech is all about clean and sustainable technologies,” says Marek Wenhöfer. The project manager names further examples, including environmentally-friendly energy production, circular economy, green chemistry, or sustainable mobility. On behalf of WISTA Management GmbH (WISTA), he has been working at TransferHUB Clean Tech Marzahn since February 2021. The 300-hectare industrial area is among Berlin’s eleven “Zukunftsorte”, places creating future innovation that are characterised by businesses and science working closely together.
“The transfer office was set up to foster innovation and to help companies seeking a scientific edge,” explains Wenhöfer. Specifically, it fosters cooperation with the HTW Berlin - University of Applied Sciences, which educates 14,000 students in the fields of business, technology, computer science, and design. For the companies based in Marzahn’s CleanTech Park, TransferHUB facilitates new contacts in science and research, and guides and supports the process until the project with the university is in the bag.
Wenghöfer himself studied European Management at Technische Hochschule Wildau and worked as a student assistant at WISTA for a year and a half before starting at TransferHUB, where he now promotes collaborative projects. He brings together the university with companies, draws up needs analyses, and identifies the common ground between them. Workshops are used to discuss the companies’ issues and possible science-driven solutions for them. These face-to-face encounters facilitate finding suitable experts and developing projects. An additional goal is to support networking among the companies based at the “Zukunftsort” CleanTech Marzahn.
“It’s a diverse and fun job”, says Wenghöfer. His daily tasks also include networking with companies who plan on basing their operations at CleanTech Business Park Marzahn. There is still ample room on the 90-hectare area, which has now been managed and developed by WISTA since April 2021. For small and medium-sized companies, in particular, TransferHUB facilitating access to science and research can be an additional incentive for settling there. By attracting more and more companies, the network is expanding and is also deepened by including science and research. This type of cooperation in the field of clean tech is nothing new for HTW, which is home to extensive research on subjects like renewable energy, sustainable mobility, or green chemistry.
It can look back on several successful projects already, including one with FASTPART Kunststofftechnik GmbH. Founded in 1997, this medium-sized company is specialised on 3D prints and models, producing, for example, prototypes and design patterns using plastics. It also does so in small batches. Customers include sectors like medical technology, telecommunications, and architecture.
“For years we have been offering tours through our company to HTW students,” says Aranka Waßmann, the CEO. In 2020, they hosted a one-week workshop, which focused on sustainable recycling of plastic waste from polyamide and silicone. Students from machine engineering, design, or business management examined how this recycling waste is used elsewhere and, at the final event, presented their proposals to the company. “We were very surprised at the results. They were very helpful,” says Waßmann. Moreover, the workshops participants took a close look at Fastpart’s website and made suggestions for redesigning it, which are now being implemented. Seeing as how good the results were for both students and the company, Waßman’s conclusion does not come as a surprise. “We will host additional workshops,” says the CEO.
By Paul Janositz for Potenzial – The WISTA-Magazine