MST.factory points the way for the future of the Ruhrgebiet

Technology companies are being wooed into a former blast furnace and steelworks site at the heart of the Ruhrgebiet by top notch infrastructure, targeted consultancy and qualified workforces.

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The MST.factory is the first major construction project on the Phoenix site. The MST.factory is the first major construction project on the Phoenix site.

Background

The area to the south of Dortmund is turning into one of the most vital investment locations in North-Rhine Westphalia. In the coming years some 15,000 new jobs will be created at the “PHOENIX location of the future” (Zukunftsstandort Phoenix), an approximately 2 million m² site used by heavy industry for over 150 years. The emphasis is on micro-systems technology (MST) and information and telecommunications technologies (IT), two key industries of the future.

Development of the Phoenix site is a central project in the Objective 2 programme of the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Overall, the project breaks down into three sections. In Phoenix West a technology and services park will focus on microsystems technology and IT, whilst in Phoenix East 1300 new dwellings are being built along with a lake, leisure facilities and local recreation areas. The third section, Phoenix Nature, is an ecological nature park and part of the Emscher landscape park.

New life around micro-systems technology

The MST.factory, a 6,400 m² skills and incubator centre, is the first major construction project on the Phoenix site, offering offices, laboratories and clean rooms to company founders and to microsystems technology suppliers and users, as well as access to equipment, services and know-how for developing microtechnology components and products.

More specifically the centre offers:

- business support: client-specific consulting and skills training in all microtechnology-related areas;

- infrastructure services: MST-specific office, laboratory and clean room equipment, modern machinery, laboratories;

- training: initial and further training in all MST-related areas, further development of extramural training provision.

Microsystems companies find here ideal conditions for reducing the cost and duration of prototype development and shortening the time-to-market. A common pool of equipment offers access to a wide range of differing technologies.

Rapid product development is decisive for economic success in microtechnology. As well as companies’ own know-how, this requires heavy investment in technical infrastructure, which is feasible only with targeted financial support from the public authorities, as in the case of MST.factory.

Results

The MST.factory, opened in April 2005, is the first individual project to be completed on the Phoenix site. Another eight companies with around 70 employees have agreed to move in. In this way the existing first construction stage will be already 80% full.

In the medium term up to 600 new jobs will be created and a further 500 existing jobs made secure at the MST.factory and in the immediately adjacent industrial areas of the Phoenix site.

There are also plans to set up a Microsensor Technology Institute of the Fachhochschule Dortmund on the Phoenix site close to the MST.factory. This development is making a decisive contribution to closer interaction between application-oriented science and research and small and medium-sized technology enterprises.

Draft date

01/03/2006