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Research & Development

»Silicon Saxony«

»Silicon Saxony«
(© SK)

The centres for scientific research in Saxony are the colleges and so-called non-university research institutes. In recent years, the colleges - that is, universities and polytechnics - have been able to extend their research capacity vigorously, and have placed themselves among the elite. This enables them not only to have the best preconditions for leading research, but also to contribute innovation for the small and medium enterprises in Saxony that do not already have sufficient research and development capacity of their own.

An indicator of the capacity of colleges to succeed, is the volume of funding they can attract from non-government sources. The Saxon colleges have attracted more and more public and private funding in the past few years. The successes of the German Research Association (DFG) deserve special mention. In 2007, they supported Saxon colleges with 16 special research areas, 15 graduate colleges, and 10 research groups.

Non-university research centres carry particular weight. With 14 institutes of the Fraunhofer Society, a Helmholtz Centre, six Max Planck Institutes, and seven institutes belonging to the Leibniz Association, Saxony today offers a non-university research spectrum which is exciting both in scientific and in economic terms.

In recent years, Saxony was able to developed its non-university based humanities research, and now has seven renowned research institutes, including the Saxon Academy of Science in Leipzig, the Institute for Saxon History and Follore in Dresden, the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture in Leipzig University, the Sorb Institute of Bautzen, and the Hannah Arendt Institute for the study of totalitarianism in the Technical University of Dresden. Leipzig is also the home of the Centre for History and Culture of Eastern Central Europe (Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentrum für die Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas): Since 2005, these activities have been supplemented by the Central and Eastern Central European Centre for Science, Economy and Culture (Mittel- und Osteuropazentrum für Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Kultur) in Leipzig, which is funded by the Fraunhofer Society.

Overall, Saxony offers a traditional, but at the same time modern research landscape. Its traditional strengths include engineering and material sciences. It is not for nothing that Saxony is seen as the land of the engineers. Biotechnology is one of her still new, but no less internationally recognised strengths. Dresden and Leipzig have developed centres for biotechnology with notable successes, e.g. in the area of regenerative therapies. Since 2007, the German Research Foundation DFG has been supporting the Centre for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden (CRTD), as one of six research centres in Germany.

The example of biotechnology in Saxony shows clearly that a scientific discipline develops especially well if it is embedded in the region in a mutually supportive university, non-university and business environment. A similar symbiosis exists for science and business. After all, the region around Dresden and Freiberg has already become known as »Silicon Saxony«.

The commercial necessity of translating scienitific discoveries as quickly as possible into innovative products and services should not, however, lead to basic research being treated as less important. Both are nowadays essential: basic research and its rapid commercial application. Saxony focusses on both with equal emphasis.

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