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Room for innovation and cutting-edge research in NRW

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NRW has more academic institutions than Île-de-France or Greater London, and countless top research institutes act as accelerators for innovations from NRW. Here, many thousands of researchers advance know-how in their fields on a daily basis. In this way, they create the best conditions for innovation, technology and knowledge transfer – and a productive basis for the most vibrant startup scene in Europe.

New innovation is created every day in Europe's densest research network

Nowhere in Europe are there as many prestigious research institutions in such a small area as in NRW: In addition to the approximately 70 universities, more than 60 technology and startup centers and more than 50 non-university research institutions form the densest research network in Europe. They offer ideal conditions for new innovations in NRW – this is how research , development and knowledge and technology transfer succeed.

01 Forschungszentrum Jülich

Forschungszentrum Jülich

Forschungszentrum Jülich is part of the Helmholtz Association and, with 6,800 employees, one of the largest research centers in Europe. They develop innovative solutions for the fields of energy, environment, health and information technology. Not only is the powerful, highly flexible supercomputer Jewels located here, but also the world's most powerful quantum computer.

02 German Aerospace Center (DLR)

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Aviation, aerospace, transport, energy and security are the research fields addressed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne. The backbone is formed by large-scale test facilities, for example wind tunnels, engine and material test stands and a high-flux density solar furnace. As part of the Helmholtz Association, DLR employs around 1,400 people in Cologne.

03 German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)

The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn conducts research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's under the umbrella of the Helmholtz Association.

04 center of advanced european studies and research (caesar)

center of advanced european studies and research (caesar)

The center of advanced european studies and research (caesar) in Bonn conducts its research in the field of neuroscience using modern photonic, molecular biological, chemical and microtechnological methods.

05 14 Max Planck Institutes

14 Max Planck Institutes

14 Max Planck Institutes in North Rhine-Westphalia focus on, for example, bioinorganic chemistry, iron and coal research, social research, molecular biomedicine and radio astronomy.

06 16 Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Research

16 Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Research

16 Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Research work in fields that include information technology, laser technology, logistics, microelectronics, molecular biology, production technology, software and environmental technology.

07 15 Institutes of the Johannes Rau Research Association

15 Institutes of the Johannes Rau Research Association

The institutes of the Johannes Rau Research Foundation (JRF), funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, unite 15 legally independent, non-university and non-profit research institutes in NRW as an umbrella organization. The task of the JRF is research cooperation, the promotion of young scientists, public relations and the regular evaluation of the member institutes.

08 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association (WGL)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association (WGL)

In the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association (WGL), ten institutes in NRW conduct research in a variety of disciplines, including adult education, interactive materials, diabetes research, economic research or zoology.

09 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

In North Rhine-Westphalia, there are also 67 collaborative research centers at universities in the state, which are funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation).

Research in NRW: This is what the digital future looks like

Researchers in NRW are focusing on all the key issues of tomorrow's digital world – such as big data, smart industry and quantum technology. Scientists from various disciplines work together in university networks to advance their research projects. 14 clusters of excellence guarantee that internationally competitive projects receive research funding. From CPS, smart city, IT security, IoT, logistics and energy to robotics and AI.

NRW is home to cutting-edge research for the world of tomorrow:

Lively and constantly growing: NRW's startup scene

Although many still think first of Berlin when it comes to startups in Germany, NRW is actually considered one of the top locations for domestic and international startups throughout Europe. With its large market, broad university and research landscape, and outstanding talent, the state offers the best conditions for innovative business models and forward-looking projects – from startups, spin-offs, or even unicorns.

According to the German Startup Monitor 2023, around 19 percent of all German startups are based in NRW. Every day, 1.3 companies are founded here – which means that NRW is more synonymous with innovation than almost any other federal state. Young companies benefit in particular from the strong networking structures and entrepreneurial concentration when developing their business model: Today, around 65 percent of all startups in NRW already generate more than 50 percent of their sales in the B2B sector. 

The state of NRW places a strong focus on promoting a dynamic startup landscape, because innovative ideas are of enormous importance for the future viability of the location, for example in the energy transition or in the conversion to a climate-neutral industry.   

From regional digital hubs to numerous accelerator programs and financing and funding opportunities to lively networking events, matchmaking and communities – NRW's startup ecosystem offers a close-knit support system for all eventualities. Find out more here!

Photo credits

© German Aerospace Center (DLR)
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