Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Trinational innovation network for the Upper Rhine region

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New structures for cooperation, cross-border offers for start-ups and a long-term network for knowledge and technology transfer in the border triangle of Germany, France and Switzerland: This is the successful outcome of the “Knowledge Transfer Upper Rhine” (KTUR) project. The twelve university partners set the course for this under the leadership of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with numerous regional companies and business associations. On Thursday, September 22, 2022, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., the project partners will present their results.

The common goal of the partners is closer cooperation in research and transfer as well as in cross-border start-ups in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the region. The KTUR pilot project started in October 2019 with the mission of reducing existing barriers in order to significantly simplify and strengthen contact and project initiation between universities and companies on the Upper Rhine. To this end, the project team established exchange and get-to-know formats as well as new structures for cooperation for the first time. In addition, the participating universities developed joint trinational offers in the areas of start-ups and foundations as well as for further training and innovation events. In addition, they developed the digital platform “KTUR Innovation X”.

Cross-border network established for trinational knowledge transfer

The EU project KTUR has made the top performances at the Upper Rhine universities more visible on a global level. In the new network, those involved from research and industry can jointly face social challenges such as the energy transition or climate change and initiate corresponding innovation projects. “For sustainable innovations, we have to work together across borders, exchange knowledge and network disciplines and overcome geographical borders,” explains Professor Thomas Hirth, Vice President for Transfer and International Affairs at KIT. “With KTUR we have succeeded in creating a starting point for this exchange of best practice examples between universities and companies,

In the startup area, the project partners introduced numerous further training and networking opportunities, such as the KTUR Startup & Innovation Nights, a trinational summer school on the subject of entrepreneurship or the regular KTUR Startup Talks. Cross-border training courses for representatives of local companies in the border region created new opportunities for exchange. Smaller transfer events were aimed at industry and multipliers with various application-related topics. A trinational innovation day, which took place in Strasbourg in April 2022 with over 1000 participants, developed into a cross-border meeting place for innovation drivers from the entire region.

Professor Michel de Mathelin, Senior Vice-President of the University of Strasbourg and Vice-President for Socio-Economic Relations and Transfer, says: “Our goal for the future is to create new relationships and promising projects between academia, business and society thanks to this type of event support financially. The most important perspective is to ensure the sustainability of these collaborations and create new dialogues that benefit innovation, business and the development of cross-border relations.”

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