The launch of the second project phase of the "Innovation Campus Electronics and Microsensors - iCampµs Cottbus" was celebrated at a festive event on June 15, 2022 in the presence of Brandenburg's Science Minister Dr. Manja Schüle and the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Matthias Kleiner. Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger delivered her digital greeting for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). A panel discussion with representatives from science and industry provided insights into the upcoming transformation process in Lusatia.
Application fields of microsensors and digitalization are wide-ranging and it is impossible to imagine our time and our society without them. With their differentiated properties, microsensors permit very diverse, individual and precisely tailored approaches to solutions. This makes microsensor technology a technology of the future that offers enormous potential for the sustainable shaping of our society and, in particular, of the Lusatian region after the phase-out of lignite.
Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said of the importance of the project: "We in Germany and the European Union must ourselves be in a position to understand, develop and produce key technologies. This reduces dependencies and creates valuable jobs in our country. That's why the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing a total of around 4.4 billion euros for research projects as part of the structural change program. Our focus here is on transfer. This is also the case with the successful project Innovation Campus Electronics and Microsensorics Cottbus. The iCampus2 is growing exactly what our funding is aimed at: a strong ecosystem for innovation. This opens up new prospects for the future for local people and companies."
Dr. Manja Schüle, Brandenburg's Minister of Science, added: "The iCampus has a pioneering role: it was the first project in the state of Brandenburg to receive funding from the German government's emergency program for structural change in coal regions. What is special about the project is that it deals with microelectronic and nanoelectronic sensors and systems - key technologies for the future. And the iCampus links the university, research laboratories and SMEs from the region. And it does so transnationally - between Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony - and across the boundaries of scientific organizations. The interest of SMEs in cooperating with iCampus is huge. This shows that the potential is there! This is what successful structural change 'Made by future' looks like."
"The Innovation Campus combines the expertise of the university and five non-university research institutions and uses the innovative solutions to position SMEs well for the digital future," emphasized BTU President Prof. Gesine Grande. "Together, we are creating innovative and pioneering center for microsensors and digitalization at the Cottbus campus, which not only stands for excellent research, but also offers an important perspective for skilled workers and for the development of economic power in the region. The iCampµs strengthens our profile line Artificial Intelligence and Sensor Technology and transdisciplinary networking."
Prof. Harald Schenk, project leader and head of the Department of Micro and Nano Systems and the Fraunhofer IPMS, concretized: "At the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, a regional focal point with national appeal in the fields of electronics and microsensorics was already created in the first project phase. Now we will significantly expand our range of application-specific solutions to enable sustainable innovations for our partners and all future interested parties."
Project partners are BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg (consortium leader), Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, Ferdinand-Braun-Institut gGmbH, Leibniz Institute for Highest Frequency Technology (FBH), Leibniz Institute for Innovative Microelectronics (IHP) and Thiem-Research GmbH. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the second phase of the Cottbus Electronics and Microsensors Innovation Campus - iCampμs for a period of five years with 20 million euros.
In the two-year first phase of the project (11/2019-12/2021), the focus was on identifying innovation potential, transferring knowledge to industry, and accelerating the transition from research and development to the product, including prototyping. The second phase (01/2022-12/2026) builds on the research results achieved, in which the results are further developed for commercial exploitation in cooperation with companies from Lusatia. The project scope amounts to a total of nine technical work packages with 12 sub-projects.
Germany's political decision to phase out lignite-based energy production means the fundamental transformation of an entire region for the Lausitz region. At the same time, sustainable structures have to be created to increase the innovation and competitiveness of the economy and the labor market in Lusatia. The "Innovation Campus Electronics and Microsensorics Cottbus - iCampμs" was selected as part of the German government's immediate action program to support these political and economic goals. Overarching goals of the project range from a local bundling of competencies in the field of microsensorics to the implementation of R&D work with high transfer and spin-off potential.