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Hohenstein receives top marks for industry focused research
22
Nov '08
BÖNNIGHEIM (hm) using an independent evaluation process the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Economics has once again reviewed the expertise and benefits of Baden-Württemberg's industry focused research institutes, following on from previous evaluations in 2000 and 2003.

In their final report, the panel of experts once again rated the Bekleidungs physiologisches Institute Hohenstein (BPI) as especially successful, because it had mastered “the balancing act between scientific development and close relations with industry” to the particular benefit of SMEs located in Baden-Württemberg.

In the experts' opinion, the BPI has, in spite of limited basic funding, been able to open up future important markets because “market requirements are rapidly recognized and acted on”. For instance, the development of innovative products to the advantage of local industry has been enhanced by the Institute's studies into the use of synergies in other areas relating to the development of medical functions for textiles.

Particularly worth mentioning in the panel's view is the “BPI's diversified range of clients which covers a variety of industries. The Institute not only serves the classic textile market but also associated branches of industry and industry suppliers.” These widely-diversified areas and the interdisciplinary expertise of the Institute are also based on “increasingly internationally-focused research cooperation's”, the extent of which “positively impressed” the experts. In all, this positions the BPI so that – not least due to its close involvement in the Hohenstein Institute as a whole – “there are no comparable competitors or rivals.”

The scope of commissions involving a high proportion of SMEs in joint projects and numerous direct commissions from industry leads the Ministry of Economics' panel of experts to conclude that knowledge transfer “is realized successfully” at the BPI.

The “impressive spectrum” of “high-profile events and publications” that contribute to raising awareness of the activities and capacities of the Institute “amongst potential customers and the public” mean that the BPI together with the Hohenstein Institutes make a “valuable contribution to the development of the culture of innovation in the region.”

The experts also regarded the BPI's cooperation on standards committees as indispensable. As industry has in many cases due to their expense withdrawn from these activities, the panel says it is even more important to maintain this area at the Institute. The “very successful” industry focus of the BPI forms the basis for the development of suitable quality criteria and independent methods of evaluation, without which it is impossible to launch innovative products successfully.

In their summary, the panel of experts declared that they were impressed “by the high quality and clear focus of the work of the BPI”. In particular the Institute had “very successfully takenup sustainable topics.” For these reasons, the panel recommended “a clear increase in the basic financing of the BPI”, in order for example “to enable the necessary expansion of initial research and moreover to be able to continue the necessary and important activities in the field of standards”.

In addition the Institute's objective in expanding contract research was commended, as well as its systematic opening up of new areas through the use of available resources, the flow of information from customer contacts, and its involvement in existing networks.

Hohenstein Institute

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