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Industry Clusters in Eastern Germany

Supraregional Cluster

Eastern Germany is also home to a small group of industry clusters with a presence in more than one state. Showcasing the diversity of industry in the new federal states, they range from the region’s thriving clean technology sector and its resurgent automotive industry to new chemicals synthetics technologies.

Automotive Cluster Ostdeutschland (ACOD)

The Automotive Cluster of East Germany (ACOD) is an initiative of the new federal states for the sustainable development of the automobile industry in Eastern Germany. Established in 2004 by the automobile manufacturers who had newly located to the region, the cluster platform now counts suppliers, service providers, research institutes, and trade associations responsible for revenue in the EUR 38 billion region and a workforce of more than 180 thousand among its members. ACOD strives to pool regional activities, promote synergies and establish a competitive automotive supplier industry within the automotive sector in the new federal states. Working within a number of competence areas (from lightweight design to energy-efficient production), ACOD members benefit from access to research institutions and associations not typically available to SMEs, allowing them to provide services to both OEMs and other direct suppliers. Four state initiatives – automotive BerlinBrandenburg e. V., automotive Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, MAHREG Automotive, and Saxony Automotive Supplier Network (AMZ) - directly interact with ACOD through the Cluster Hub coordination platform.

CeChemNet – Central European Chemical Network

Five of Eastern Germany’s chemical site operators – BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, ChemiePark Bitterfeld- Wolfen GmbH, DOW Olefinverbund GmbH, InfraLeuna GmbH and Infra-Zeitz Servicegesellschaft mbH – have joined forces to create CeChemNet (Central European Chemical Network). The partnership is complemented by the participation of the north-east regional association of the Verband der Chemischen Industrie e. V. (“German chemical industry association”). The different chemical sites are characterized by specific areas of expertise that have arisen from the different privatization models and the transformation process in the chemical industry in Eastern Germany. All operating companies are distinguished by a special professional competence in dealing with complex restructuring processes as well as highly individualized performance spectra and site conditions. Also of particular note is the interlinking of the different sites and companies through a complex feedstock integration of pipelines and logistics networks. Within the framework of CeChemNet the partners follow an objective of developing the existing chemical sites further and to increase their competitiveness while safeguarding and creating jobs. Existing value chains are optimized together in terms of downstream industries. Chemical site networking is intensified within the feedstock networks. CeChemNet provides a basis for mutual experience exchange and contact management in the region and with national and international partners.

Cleantech Initiative Ostdeutschland –CIO (Cleantech Initiative Eastern Germany)

Set up by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in February 2011, the Cleantech Initiative Ostdeutschland (CIO) was created in order to bundle the significant potential in the “clean technology” sector within a sustainable network of companies, research institutes and other actors that transcends industry and federal state boundaries; and to implement environmentally friendly, energyefficient, and resource-efficient management in all areas. According to the Ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, cleantech potential, measured as a share of the overall economy, is higher in the new federal states than in the west of the country. Building on these strengths – by integrating these competences in a meaningful and sustainable way – is the goal of the Cleantech Initiative Ostdeutschland. The significant economic potential available in the cleantech sector in the region was most recently underpinned by a KPMG study (2013) putting turnover among the three thousand-plus companies active in the sector’s six lead markets in the EUR 31 billion region. The initiative is currently made up of around 80 active members from the manufacturing and service sectors. By providing a platform for cleantech activity in Eastern Germany, the Cleantech Initiative Ostdeutschland brings together different industry actors to strengthen the region’s position as an international center of clean technology excellence. Committed to establishing Eastern Germany as a major cleantech hub, the CIO network is represented in the states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Thuringia, and Saxony-Anhalt.

Leading-Edge Clusters

Fifteen Leading-Edge Clusters have been identified within the framework of Germany’s High-Tech Strategy in Germany. Science and industry work in tandem in industry-specific clusters that enjoy substantial publicprivate partnership R&D funding. Those clusters identified as “Leading-Edge Clusters” receive public funding of up to EUR 40 million over a five-year period. Of the three Leading-Edge Clusters located in Eastern Germany (Cool Silicon, Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland, and BioEconomy), two (Cool Silicon and Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland) have completed their competition-supported projects and are continuing their strategy by working with other clusters and already service as highly visible anchorage sites in their respective regions. BioEconomy, the third Leading-Edge Cluster in Eastern Germany, successfully completed a preliminary evaluation in 2014 and will continue to receive funding through to 2017.

BioEconomy (Halle)

The vision of the BioEconomy cluster is to establish the world’s first bioeconomy on a regional scale (“The future of the bio-based economy begins in Central Germany.”). Activities focus on the development, upscaling and application of innovative technological processes for the sustainable use of non-food biomass, especially beech wood, to generate materials, chemicals, products made from new materials, and energy sources. The cluster combines the expertise of over 100 research and industry partners conducting research in 45 joint and about 145 sub-projects along the wood and chemical value chains. The promotion of close interworking between the core wood, chemicals and plastics industry sectors for the first time allows a cross-industry value chain to be created. Cluster participation is open to all companies and organizations seeking to create new value chains and market potential. Cluster partners include the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical Biotechnological Processes (CBP), the German Biomass Research Center (DBFZ), and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig – UFZ (Leipzig) as well as companies including Linde Engineering, Ante-Holz, Homatherm, ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions and Global Bioenergies.

Cool Silicon (Dresden)

Located in the state of Saxony, the Cool Silicon cluster in Dresden was set up to develop energy-efficient – and even zero energy – solutions in the three ICT focus areas of computing, broadband wireless and sensor networks. Key competences in the region’s “Silicon Saxony” network are micro- and nanotechnologies and their related fields of application. Saxony has established itself as a major semiconductor technology force and enjoys far-reaching competences in broadband wireless systems and sensor networks technologies. More than 100 companies and research facilities are hard at work developing climate friendly ICT solutions as the cluster seeks to establish itself as one of the world’s leading locations for energy-efficient ICT solutions.

Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland (“Solar Valley Central Germany”)

Providing a platform for interdisciplinary, cross-sector cooperation, Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland brings actors from business, science and education together for the development and creation of sustainable energy solutions. The new federal states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia enjoy the highest density of photovoltaics (PV) companies in Europe. Science and industry partners are working together to optimize PV products and production technologies. Milestones already recorded to date include grid parity of PV-generated power in 2012. Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland is made up of 35 companies, nine research facilities and four universities.Since 2009, more than 100 projects endowed with a budget of EUR 120 million have been concluded within the cluster. New PV activities are being conducted on four levels (research and development; science and education; extension of cross-state network; and evaluation of the innovation process) within the framework of the SMART ENERGY Eastern Germany strategy concept. Internationalization is also high on the cluster agenda, with framework conditions and innovations for the European PV sector agreed and put in place with 15 partners from nine European countries as part of the EU SOLARROK (“Solar Regions of Knowledge”)initiative.

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