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Promoting cooperative business ventures: Achieving innovation with the right partner

Freie Universität Berlin partners with businesses in a variety of ways. This benefits everyone involved: Researchers gain access to interesting topics, partners, research designs, and external funding, while companies value the scientific expertise and infrastructure supplied by the university. Cooperative initiatives lay the groundwork for successes on the market and bring more of real-world practice to education.

Together with other colleagues from the research division at Freie Universität Berlin, we help to bring the right partners together, monitor and support the joint innovation process and assist with drafting funding applications. We also utilize our contacts with networks, associations, and institutions involved in business development in Berlin and Brandenburg in the process. The Netzwerk Unternehmertum entrepreneurship network, in which alumni and businesspeople are involved in support of Freie Universität Berlin, is another catalyst for cooperative initiatives. The Berlin InnoBridge project also forms a connection with the market: With support from the Berlin business community, researchers, students, and representatives of companies work together to further develop ideas for innovations from various fields of application.

Projects in the area of contract research have been implemented based on full cost accounting at Freie Universität Berlin since 2013. The Research Funding and Information team is responsible for drafting the contracts.

Within the scope of cooperation with companies, scientists and scholars work closely with companies, but retain the rights to their results, unlike in the case of contract research. Cooperation in research and development is eligible for funding from support programs such as the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM) operated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) or the KMU innovativ program run by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which is geared toward innovative SMEs. Together with the Research Funding and Information team and the External Funding Administration, Profund Innovation helps scholars, scientists, and researchers to draft applications for funding.

To ensure that the parties to the contract have a clear understanding of performance and consideration, using and exploiting intellectual property rights right from the start, the Legal Counsel in Research and Transfer team drafts cooperation agreements.

In the future, the connections between academia and the business sector will be even closer. The FUBIC technology and start-up center is slated for construction on the grounds of the former U.S. military hospital on Fabeckstraße. It is intended as a home for 60 to 80 young, technology-based companies with 1,000 employees in all, located right next to the campus of Freie Universität Berlin.

For an overview of the options available to support cooperative business initiatives at Freie Universität Berlin, please see the following subpages: