Technology to the power of three
An innovative technology programme aimed at boosting the competitiveness of Austria’s largest state companies has generated more than 50 different projects. Launched in 2004, it centres on three high-tech Technopol sites in Lower Austria, with respective expertise in biomedical technology, agrobiotechnology and environmental biotechnology, and modern industrial technologies.
“The close networking of research activities between research institutions and educational facilities guarantees the creation of expertise on the front lines of the international R&D community.”
Claus Zeppelzauer, Technopols, ecoplus
The Technopol Program of Lower Austria has its roots in a decision by this state earlier this decade to focus on applied research as a means of developing the economy. The four-year programme focused on the towns of Krems, Tulln and Wiener Neustadt – three Technopol locations that combine technology with business centres.
Seeking critical mass
The programme started in April 2004 and was established around recognised educational and research institutes at several Technopol sites. The main goal was to develop a critical mass in the areas of R&D, education and the economy at each site, with a view to finding a new platform for interdisciplinary scientific work and for application-oriented collaboration.
Guided by ecoplus, the Business Agency of Lower Austria, the programme concentrated on five core areas, namely innovation, technology, cooperation, internationalisation and mobilisation of start-ups. The total cost of €2 888 000 was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Austria.
At each of the three sites, a designated manager was responsible for the activities of the R&D facilities, business operations, and the educational and training institutions based there. They were also tasked with management of marketing, business development and key accounts.
Under the programme, international benchmarks have been established and top-level research is being carried out at the three Lower Austrian Technopols. All of these activities provide valuable new stimulus to the state's economy, while enhancing its profile as a centre for world-class applied research.
More than 50 different projects were successfully developed with the support of the Technopol management, including cooperation between local R&D facilities and companies. Among these was the ONLAB project, developed at the Wiener Neustadt site, which offers a state-of-the-art nano-analytics laboratory. This new infrastructure is used in projects shared with industrial companies as well as by masters and doctorate students. A further benefit has been the creation of several new posts for highly qualified employees.