Within the capital of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate there is a remarkable concentration of institutes of higher education, research facilities and research-driven organizations whose activities extend over a wide range of research and technological sectors. Affiliated since 2008 in the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE, these research centers are responsible for the transfer of knowledge and technology that forms the essential driving force behind the dynamism of the City of Science that is Mainz. On 1 October 2011, the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch, will be handing over the office of Coordinator of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE to the President of Mainz University of Applied Sciences, Professor Dr. Gerhard Much.
To quote Minister of Science Doris Ahnen: "To be successful today, it has today become more than ever necessary to provide for good communication and close cooperation given the highly specialized and complex challenges now facing science and business. Within a relatively short period of time, the partnership initiative MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE has managed to bring together local research groups from institutes of higher education, research facilities and businesses to initiate strategic agreements, thus putting in place a basis for the integration of diverse research projects. It is inconceivable that the achievements of the City of Science 2011 program would have happened without the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE." The Minister went on to say that the state government would continue to support the Alliance in its current work and that it was thanks to the activities of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE and the support of the state that the state capital had become a pioneering science hub whose reputation extended outside Rhineland-Palatinate and beyond.
"The two front-runners of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE have always been and remain the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Mainz University of Applied Sciences. Today, as in the case of a relay race, the baton of leadership is being handed over from one athlete to the next as they strive to maintain their team's momentum on the track. I should thus like to take this opportunity to thank the previous bearer of the baton of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch, who has ensured that the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE has got off to a perfect start thanks to his considerable skill and wealth of creative input. I am also convinced that the new coordinator of the Alliance, Professor Dr. Gerhard Muth, has all the right qualifications for the post - not alone because of his extensive experience in the field of knowledge transfer between the university of applied sciences and business - and will ensure that the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE not only stays on track but continues to forge ahead."
Aims of the Alliance
The network that is the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE is a association of members that, as such, has a performance capacity and profile that none of the members could alone hope to attain. Through its network, the Alliance is targeting three main objectives:
- To extend cooperation between the various member organizations and exploit the associated synergies.
- To integrate organizations ever more closely into the network and further extend the links between business and science through focused strategies, thus providing a "substrate" for the generation of new ideas and innovative products.
- To enhance the reputation of the City of Mainz, with all its diversity, ambience and its unique concentration of knowledge-based organizations, beyond the local region in the national and international arenas.
The first palpable success of this strategy of communication was attained within 12 months of the inception of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE. In 2009, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research named Mainz one of only ten "Science Venues" (Treffpunkte der Wissenschaft) in Germany during the "Research Expedition Germany" Science Year. Mainz also came out top in the hard-fought competition instigated by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany, and won for itself in March 2010 the coveted title of "City of Science" for the year 2011. One of the factors determining this outcome was undoubtedly the fact that Mainz had found an effective partner in the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE to help guide it through the competitive application phase, which lasted over one year. And the Alliance is breaking new ground with its knowledge communication strategy and is developing new formats through which it can make the culture of knowledge visible and tangible at unusual locations in the city, using such innovative ideas as its SPEKTRALE exhibition and "zeit.fenster" science exploration venues.
Another objective in addition to communication is to ensure exploitation of the innovation potential resulting from the research conducted on the spot for knowledge-based development of the city. It was with this purpose in mind that the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE collaborated with municipal partners to initially put in place the necessary structures and to establish networking and transfer axes for the sectors of education and business; the related projects and studies provide for knowledge exchange and access to expertise.
In the words of the former Coordinator of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE and President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch: "The model of knowledge transfer that has been developed in Mainz has the potential to be a model of success (...) This approach will enable us to jointly establish a sustainable culture of knowledge in Mainz, to work creatively on the development of pathways for knowledge communication, open up new thematic areas of knowledge transfer and convert the theoretical knowledge generated in our research organizations into practical applications that will benefit our city and its citizens through sustainable, knowledge-based improvements to the infrastructure."
As far as the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE is concerned, knowledge transfer is an important element within any political system that provides for citizen participation. "We in the Alliance have made an initial move in the right direction by establishing our networking and transfer sites," states the new Coordinator of the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE and President of Mainz University of Applied Sciences, Professor Dr. Gerhard Muth. "But before knowledge transfer can become a permanent element within our city, the various stakeholders need to extend their cooperation and work towards forming more closely interwoven connections. The subjects of how we can provide our network with greater impact or a suitable organizational form will be at the core of the discussions between our now 21 members in the coming months. At the same time, the Alliance will need dedicated contact partners over the long term within the municipal administration."
Knowledge hub Mainz
It is the objective of the City of Mainz to become a competitive center with a high performing research environment and excellent knowledge-promoting infrastructure. Already located in the immediate area are a concentration of relevant organizations, including one of Germany's ten largest universities - the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - two universities of applied sciences, two Max Planck Institutes, the Helmholtz Institute Mainz, the Mainz University Medical Center, internationally renowned research institutes, such as the Academy of Science and Literature Mainz, the Institute of Molecular Biology, the Institute of European History, the Institute of Historical Regional Studies, the Institute of Microtechnology Mainz, the Roman-Germanic Central Museum, the Natural History Museum and commercial enterprises, such as Schott, IBM and Boehringer Ingelheim, together with numerous spin-off companies. In March 2008, these research-oriented organizations, with their almost 4,000 personnel, combined to form the MAINZ RESEARCH ALLIANCE partnership initiative.