Plans for a university and innovation campus in Wolfsburg Expansion of the Open Hybrid LabFactory cooperation boosts teaching and research
Joint press release by Technische Universität Braunschweig, Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, City of Wolfsburg and Wolfsburg AG
Wolfsburg offers the best conditions for a new type of university and innovation campus for Technische Universität Braunschweig. Building on the successes of the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF), the beacon is being further developed into a fully-fledged campus with research, teaching and transfer in collaboration with the Volkswagen Group, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.
Founded in 2013 as a public-private partnership, the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF) in Wolfsburg is to be developed into a university and innovation campus and one of the leading engineering research and education locations in Germany and Europe. The main partners are Technische Universität Braunschweig, Volkswagen AG, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. At a press conference in Wolfsburg, representatives explained that the OHLF has already established a beacon for high-tech-oriented research, which is now to be expanded. Science and industry, the city of Wolfsburg and the state of Lower Saxony are thus pulling together to strengthen the location.
The new facility will be dedicated to the societal challenge of how industrial vehicle production can be made sustainable and in the sense of a circular economy. The existing research campus offers the best conditions for this—both through the competences on site and the cooperation concept in a close partnership with private and public actors as well as through the research infrastructure. The topics of circular economy, sustainable production, lightweight construction and material development are already in focus in Wolfsburg.
Since the Open Hybrid LabFactory was established in Wolfsburg, more than 350 third-party funded projects with a funding volume of more than 80 million euros have already been acquired. It has established itself as a cooperation platform through the growing collaboration between science and industry. On this basis, the location, which has so far been funded on a project-oriented basis, is to be further developed into a university and innovation campus of TU Braunschweig in close cooperation with Volkswagen AG, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.
“Over the last few years, the Open Hybrid Lab Factory (OHLF) has developed into an additional innovative and high-performance research campus of TU Braunschweig in Wolfsburg, which has been able to establish itself in the important field of mobility research. With the further development into a university and innovation campus for ‘Circular Economy Technologies’, the location is to be further expanded into a leading research centre for sustainable vehicle production in the sense of circular production. Together with TU Braunschweig, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, the City of Wolfsburg and Volkswagen AG, we plan to quickly implement this concept and thus create another outstanding space for science in Lower Saxony,” says Falko Mohrs, Lower Saxony’s Minister for Science and Culture.
“The new TU Braunschweig campus in Wolfsburg embodies our vision of a university of the future. All the important players come together at this location to develop sustainable solutions for global challenges. Because this can only be done together and only through close interlinking. We are striving to create a model for innovative research, teaching and transfer formats of cooperation with the new campus. I would like to thank all our partners for their great support on this path,” says Prof. Angela Ittel, President of TU Braunschweig.
“We are delighted that the valuable collaboration with TU Braunschweig and the other partners will be further intensified. The Open Hybrid LabFactory’s new focus on circular economy fits perfectly with our goal of closing the cycle of battery metals in our cell factories in the future and preparing for scaling up recycling. The expansion of the cooperation will help to further strengthen the region and make it more attractive—in order to attract the best talent to the battery triangle of Wolfsburg, Braunschweig and Salzgitter,” says Thomas Schmall, Board Member for Technology at Volkswagen AG.
“In keeping with the mission of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the research campus in Wolfsburg offers excellent conditions for turning ideas into innovations. In close cooperation with the university, the university of applied sciences, industrial companies and local stakeholders, we develop holistic solutions with sustainability in mind at our Fraunhofer Center Circular Economy for Mobility CCEM in Wolfsburg. Our goal is to implement innovations for sustainable mobility for the benefit of society and to strengthen the German and European economy,” explains Prof. Dr Raoul Klingner, Director of Research at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
“As a university location, we underline our standing as a holistic, future-oriented place to live. Here we combine research and science with the know-how of Volkswagen, an excellent infrastructure, short distances and enormous creative power. This is a clear sign of a competitive Wolfsburg in international competition. Wolfsburg’s advantages as an economically strong city—which is also family-friendly and has a high quality of leisure time—are now complemented by a facet of the highest quality of education and research,” says Dennis Weilmann, Mayor of the City of Wolfsburg.
“Sustainability and climate protection are firmly anchored in the self-image of our university. Ostfalia is practically oriented in the field of automotive engineering with its faculty at the Wolfsburg campus in teaching, research and transfer and has a very well-connected regional network. I am pleased that we can bring these strengths to bear as part of this cooperation and thus advance the further development of the Circular Economy with combined innovative strength,” says Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Karger, President of Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences.
“The confirmation of TU Braunschweig at the location is an honest confirmation of the entire research campus and its cooperation in the public-private partnership,” says Dr.-Ing. Stefan Schmitt, Managing Director of the Open Hybrid LabFactory.
Role model for integrated cooperation between industry and science
The outstanding feature of the OHLF campus is that it is characterised by intensive cooperation between university and non-university research institutes as well as companies. The campus thus also offers an optimal ecosystem for start-ups.
“The University and Innovation Campus of TU Braunschweig in Wolfsburg will quickly become a showcase location in Germany and attract attention throughout Europe. This is because it is here that application-oriented teaching and research can be carried out and the potential for transfer services to industry and society can be bundled and the regional transfer and innovation ecosystem can be significantly strengthened,” says Prof. Dr. Arno Kwade, Vice President for Technology Transfer and Innovation at TU Braunschweig.
The exceptionally close networking enables students and researchers to realise their ideas simultaneously in cooperation with industry and to place them on the market. The campus is also embedded in the area and regional strategy of the city of Wolfsburg and the “Circular Region Südostniedersachsen” (South-East Lower Saxony Circular Region) and cooperates closely with stakeholders from TU Clausthal in Clausthal and Goslar as well as stakeholders from TU Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Braunschweig and Salzgitter (Hydrogen Campus).
“Combining innovative technology, the latest findings from research and application, and testing at industry level: since 2016, this approach has turned the Open Hybrid LabFactory into a highlight of Wolfsburg’s science location that radiates far beyond. For us as the owner of the building and a player at the interface between the private and public sectors, this is also a success of the continuous and trusting cooperation between the partners involved and a symbol of their innovative strength,” says Wendelin Göbel, spokesperson for the executive board of Wolfsburg AG.