The Innovation Centre at the research campus in Hamburg Bahrenfeld is a joint project of DESY, University of Hamburg and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. In the high-tech environment of DESY and several institutes of the University of Hamburg, the business incubator, which is financed by the City of Hamburg, is expected to provide space for start-ups and established companies by 2018.

The research campus in Hamburg Bahrenfeld with DESY, the University of Hamburg and numerous other science institutions from Hamburg and Northern Germany developed to one of the world’s leading locations in the field of structural research. The top-class knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine and the technical possibilities in combination with the new radiation sources open up completely new perspectives for application-oriented research and its transfer. With the new start-up centre, or business incubator, in close proximity to scientific expertise and infrastructure, an attractive environment is created for young enterprises, in which DESY and the University of Hamburg continue expanding their successful science and innovation transfer activities.

High networking potentials

With the purpose to facilitate enterprise foundations, part of the area will be made available to pre-startups for a specified period of time and rent-free, i.e. only with payment of ancillary costs. With only a minimal rent, the remaining area will be allocated to young enterprises and research projects. Thus, founders of a new business and start-ups get a financial support in the initial phase which is often decisive for their later success. Moreover, a major benefit is generated from the networking potentials: A quick and easy exchange with other founders is made possible and the joint product development within teams is made easy.

On premises of more than 5,000 square metres, a new building will be erected with more than 4,000 square metres gross floor space and about 2,600 square metres usable space, with DESY as the building contractor. A positive outline building permit was granted on the present planning documentation. About half of the building area will accommodate offices, the other half laboratories, conference rooms, a cafeteria and the start-up office. Target groups are spin-off prospects, DESY and University of Hamburg spin-offs, and small technology enterprises already operating on the market. University and DESY research institutions and research projects too may use the start-up centre. This is also possible for all other research institutions on the research campus Bahrenfeld.


Unique global research infrastructure

The unique global research infrastructure on the Bahrenfeld campus is an optimal point of crystallization for innovative enterprise foundations. With PETRA III, DESY currently operates the most powerful synchrotron radiation source in the world. Moreover, the free-electron laser FLASH provides highest radiation brilliance and excellent results of experiments on the molecular and atomic level. The flagship of these radiation sources will be the European XFEL, currently under construction and commissioning expected in 2017. The more than 3-kilometre long X-ray laser will facilitate unique experimental possibilities in the field of structural research and become an unparalleled facility of this kind worldwide.

The University of Hamburg extended the activities in physics and chemistry research and teaching on the Bahrenfeld campus. This brought about the foundation of the Centre for Optical Quantum Technologies (ZOQ) and lately, the foundation of the Center for Hybrid Nanostructures (CHYN).

What makes the research campus Bahrenfeld especially attractive for prominent international scientists is the close cooperation between the University of Hamburg and DESY, and numerous other research institutions. It was the basis for the success of the University of Hamburg with the Cluster of Excellence „CUI – The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging“ in the German Federal Excellence Initiative. Another example of the special relationship between DESY and the University of Hamburg is the strategic partnership „PIER – Partnership for Innovation, Education and Research“ established in 2011, including four research fields: particle and astroparticle physics, nanoscience, photon science and infection and structural biology. In addition, several cooperating research institutions were recently established and located on the campus:

  • the Centre for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), a cooperation of the University of Hamburg, DESY and the Max Planck Society (MPG) to investigate the scientific possibilities of the new radiation sources
  • the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB). Apart from DESY, the University of Hamburg and the University Hospital in Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), other institutes are collaborating in the field of infection research: two Leibniz institutes (Bernhard Nocht Institute and Heinrich Pette Institute), and institutions mainly from Northern Germany (Hannover Medical School, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, the Hamburg institute of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Forschungszentrum Jülich).
  • the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, newly founded in 2013 and currently under construction, which in cooperation with CFEL will investigate dynamic phenomena and electronic structures in various forms of matter.

DESY spin-offs