Over the past 30 years the Biotech region Rhine-Neckar has developed into one of Germany´s strongest biotechnology clusters:
1984: Foundation of Heidelberg Technology Park
The Heidelberg Technology Park, as a pioneer of life sciences, has developed steadily into one of the leading biotechnology sites in Germany.
Today over 80 high-tech companies and National Research Centers employ around 1,600 employees over the three sites in Heidelberg.
1996: BioRegio Competition
1997-2001: 35 Projects / 26.1m € Public Funding
Focus: Start-up of Companies
Founding of BioRegion Rhine-Neckar-Triangle association
(today „BioRN Network„)
In October 1995, on the initiative of Heidelberg University, about 40 companies and organizations in the Rhine-Neckar region got together in a committee to work on the participation in the BioRegio Competition. This process resulted in the foundation of BioRN Network Association – and in winning the competition in 1996. Federal grants amounting to approximately 26 million euros were received at that time for the further development of biotechnology in the Rhine-Neckar region.
2008: Leading-edge Cluster Competition
In 2007, under the aegis of the BioRN Network association, the region submitted an application to take part in the Leading-edge Cluster Competition („Spitzencluster-Wettbewerb“) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
With the title „BioRN – Cell-based & Molecular Medicine in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region“ the BioRN Cluster, as the only life-science cluster, won the competition in the first round in September 2008 and may call itself a „Spitzencluster“. This distinction carried with it financial support in the amount of 40 million euros up to the year 2013. The same amount was provided by the private enterprise sector.
About 40 projects from 25 private-sector enterprises in the BioRN Leading-edge Cluster were promoted with these funds.
2011: Foundation of the Health Axis Europe with Leuven and Cambridge
In 2011 the three biomedical clusters in Cambridge (UK), Leuven (Belgium) and Heidelberg (Germany) formed a strategic alliance called „Health Axis Europe“ (HAE).
The purpose of the Health Axis Europe initiative is to cross-leverage the innovation resources and thus jointly increase the international competitiveness of the clusters. The partners agreed on the initiation and coordination of cross-border cooperation in research and development and on the support of start-ups.The alliance is managed and coordinated by the Health Axis Europe Committee, comprised of key individuals from each cluster representing local industry, science, politics, and venture capital.
2012: ECEI Bronze Label Certificate
The BioRN cluster has been benchmarked in 2012 according to a benchmarking approach developed and performed by the „European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis“ of VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.
By participating in this benchmarking the cluster organisation has expressed its interest in striving for cluster excellence and is awarded with the European Cluster Management Excellence label in BRONZE. This benchmarking exercise was performed in the context of the ECEI (European Cluster Excellence Initiative), a project co-financed by the DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission.
Until now the Bronze Label is the first and only label which has been awarded by ECEI.
BioRN Cluster is member of the “Go-cluster” program of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).
Membership criteria follow the requirements for excellent cluster management at European level.
More information about go-cluster: www.go-cluster.de
2013: Foundation of the BioMed X Innovation Center
The BioMed X Innovation Center is an exciting new collaboration model at the interface between academia and industry. Distinguished early-career scientists recruited from all over the world work jointly on novel pre-clinical research projects in the fields of biomedicine, molecular biology, cell biology, diagnostics and consumer care. Each research project is typically sponsored by a corporate pharmaceutical or biotech partner of BioMed X and run in the biomedical research lab in Heidelberg operated by BioMed X.
2013 – 2015: Cluster Excellence Baden-Württemberg and Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence
For its outstanding cluster management the BioRN Network e.V. was awarded the „Cluster Excellence Baden-Württemberg“ seal of quality from the state of Baden-Württemberg. BioRN had previously undergone an audit of its cluster management structure and processes for several days. With this award, the organization also receives the „Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence“ from the European Office of Cluster Analysis in the context of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative.
The seal of quality was presented on December 3, 2013, by the representative of the small and medium-sized companies and trades of the state government of Baden-Württemberg, Peter Hofelich, in the Ministry of Finance and Economics. The „Cluster Excellence Baden-Württemberg“ seal and the EU Gold Label are awarded for a two-year period.
2014: EIT Health – KIC “Active Ageing and Healthy Living”
BioRN is a member of the consortium InnoLife, which has won the call for the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) Healthy Living and Active Ageing (EIT Health) of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). With a grant volume of up to 700 million euros and a total project volume of more than 2 billion euros, this is one of the largest publicly funded initiatives in the health sector worldwide.
2015: Expansion of the Health Axis Europe: Joining of the new members Maastricht and Copenhagen
In 2015 , first the Brightlands Consortium in Maastricht and then the Copenhagen University join the Health Axis Europe. The Brightlands Consortium in Maastricht consists of the Maastricht University, the Maastricht Health Campus and the Chemelot Campus. The Health Axis Europe alliance now consists of the biomedical clusters Cambridge (UK), Leuven (Belgium), Maastricht (Netherlands) and Heidelberg (Germany). This new strong alliance will facilitate pan-European projects that significantly contribute to the advancement of health research and innovation in Europe.
2017: Cluster Excellence Baden-Württemberg and Bronze Label of Cluster Management Excellence
The cluster management Biotech-Cluster Rhine-Neckar was benchmarked approach developed and performed by the „European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis“ of VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (www.cluster-analysis.org).
By participating in this benchmarking the Biotech-Cluster Rhine-Neckar has expressed its interest in striving for cluster excellence and is awarded with the European Cluster Management label in Bronze.