50+2 years of technology transfer for the Max Planck Society

The technology transfer organization of the MPG celebrates its anniversary in Berlin

On December 14th, the celebration »50+2 years Max Planck Innovation, 50+2 years of technology transfer for the Max Planck Society« took place in The Villa Elisabeth & St. Elisabeth Church in Berlin.

On December 14th in Berlin, the focus was on the results of more than 50 years of technology transfer and the benefits of technological innovations for society. In addition to the President of the Max Planck Society (MPG), Martin Stratmann, speakers were also the Member of Parliament and Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Mario Brandenburg, and the Managing Director of Max Planck Innovation, Jörn Erselius. In a panel discussion with high-ranking representatives from science, interesting insights into research and the transfer of results into practice were granted. In addition, numerous successful start-ups were presented that originated at one of the 86 Max Planck Institutes.

The Villa Elisabeth & St. Elisabeth Church in Berlin provided the framework for the celebration »50+2 years Max Planck Innovation, 50+2 years of technology transfer for the Max Planck Society«, which was postponed by 2 years due to the corona pandemic. Martin Stratmann opened the celebrations by recognizing the achievements of Max Planck Innovation (MI) in front of around 200 participants.

When Max Planck once said: insight must precede application, we live according to this vision and bring both together: insight and application. And so it is more than appropriate that we take an evening to honor the application of our scientists, but above all the platform without which nothing would work: Max Planck Innovation. I would like to offer my warmest congratulations on the anniversary and I would like to say a big thank you to all employees, those people who are and were part of MI today or in the past. MI was a pioneer of German technology transfer 50 years ago, today we are a pioneer in the creation of innovation campuses together with partners from industry and academia. And I promise: We will not let up and will continue to do our part to create an even better culture of innovation in the next 50 years. Congratulations MI – and many thanks from all of us.

Martin Stratmann
President of the Max Planck Society

Mario Brandenburg addressed the importance of technological innovations in his subsequent speech.

This (the track record) makes clear the outstanding pioneering achievement that Max Planck Innovation, or MI affectionately called in technology transfer, has brought about in the last 50 years which supports our researchers in bringing ideas to the market. Through its outstanding commitment, MI has contributed to transferring numerous research approaches into products and services that improve people's lives worldwide. What MI does is more than creating jobs or securing the economic basis in Germany, because especially in times of multiple crises, good transfer is also part of the services of general interest and the cohesion of a society. It is precisely these products and solutions that bind us together and that is why the BMBF has been supporting in this aspect for years. I have dedicated myself to technology transfer and in this role in the BMBF I try to bundle the initiatives and break down hurdles, because the application of new knowledge and new technologies in business, politics and society and culture has actually developed into a core task.

Mario Brandenburg
Member of the Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Another highlight of the event was a panel discussion devoted to the topic of transferring scientific results into commercial practice. Represented were Nobel Prize winner and company founder Stefan Hell, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen and at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Peter H. Seeberger, company founder and Director at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, and Christian Theobalt, director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken and also a company founder. The deputy general secretary and member of the board of directors of the Stifterverband Andrea Frank completed the round.

As part of an exhibition, 15 MPG spin-offs supported by Max Planck Innovation and founded on the basis of Max Planck technologies presented themselves: abberior instruments, Batene, Cardior Pharmaceuticals, Dewpoint Therapeutics, Lead Discovery Center, Lipotype, Menlo Systems, Meshcapade, MODAG, QLi5, Scienion, Tacalyx, Targenomix, terraplasma und Thermosome.

Successful track record

Since 1970, Max Planck Innovation has been the central technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society, Germany's most successful research organization with around 24,000 employees and 30 Nobel Prize winners. As a link between science and business, MI, at that time still under the name Garching-Instruments, is dedicated to the licensing of Max Planck technologies to industry. Since then, more than 4,800 inventions have been supported in this way and more than 2,900 exploitation agreements have been concluded. MI's patent portfolio is as diverse as the Max Planck Institutes themselves and includes inventions from a wide range of research fields from astronomy to cell biology. One of the most successful patents is the "FLASH" patent from 1985. Thanks to the FLASH technology (Fast Low Angle Shot) invented by Jens Frahm and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, magnetic nuclear spin tomography (MRI) is today the most important imaging procedure in clinical diagnostics. In 1990, another extremely successful business field was added with the support and advice of spin-off companies. Sugen was the first spin-off with MPG participation in 1991, and Evotec, the first German spin-off with MPG participation, was founded in 1993. Since then, around 180 other company spin-offs have emerged from the Max Planck Society, the vast majority of which were managed by Max Planck Innovation.

These science-based MPG spin-offs have created over 9,250 qualified jobs and made a significant contribution to innovation and prosperity with products and services. It fills us with pride to have supported and accompanied many of these successful spin-offs in the pre-seed and start-up phase.

Ulrich Mahr
Head of the Start-up & Portfolio Management department and member of the management board at Max Planck Innovation

The technology transfer organization, which has been operating under the name Max Planck Innovation since 2006, has so far generated around 540 million euros from licenses and company participations for the inventors, the Max Planck Institutes and the Max Planck Society. On average, 130 new invention disclosures and 80 patent applications are added each year. With this record, Max Planck Innovation is one of the leading technology transfer institutions worldwide.

Since it was founded, Max Planck Innovation has not only shaped the knowledge and technology transfer of the Max Planck Society, but has also been a pioneer in many areas for the whole of Germany. We want to continue to play this outstanding role in the future with new initiatives and models and strengthen the transfer from academic research to commercial application for a competitive Germany. My special thanks go to all inventors, which build the basis for our work and all employees of Max Planck Innovation who are committed to this mission every day.

Jörn Erselius
Managing Director of Max Planck Innovation

Pictures: © David Ausserhofer

About Max Planck Society

The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. With 30 Nobel Laureates among the ranks of its scientists, it is on equal footing with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field.



About Max Planck Innovation

As the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society, Max Planck Innovation is the link between industry and basic research. With our interdisciplinary team, we advise and support scientists at the Max Planck Institutes in evaluating inventions, filing patents and starting businesses. We offer industry central access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. We are therefore fulfilling an important task: The transfer of results from basic research into commercially and socially useful products.

More information under www.max-planck-innovation.com.

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