15. May 2024 | Press releases:

State funds a joint Wolfsburg Campus with 11.5 million euros Objective: Research into the circular economy in the automotive industry

Joint press release | Technische Universität Braunschweig, Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture, Volkswagen, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Open Hybrid LabFactory Research Campus, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the City of Wolfsburg

Together with the Open Hybrid LabFactory, the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as scientific partners, Technische Universität Braunschweig will develop a joint Campus Wolfsburg. The Campus is to become a regional and international flagship location in the automotive circular economy – with strong research expertise as well as study, further education and transfer programmes. The corresponding funding decision was presented at the international “Circularity Days” conference in Wolfsburg on 15 May 2024.

With the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF) in Wolfsburg as a research centre, a joint Wolfsburg Campus is to be created as a fully-fledged university location and established as one of the leading engineering research and education facilities in Germany and Europe. Strong partners have been found for the project: Technische Universität Braunschweig, Volkswagen, the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

The city of Wolfsburg and the state of Lower Saxony are supporting the joint Wolfsburg Campus, to promote high-tech research in the field of the circular economy for the automotive industry. The city of Wolfsburg is providing up to one million euros per year over a period of ten years to ensure the long-term stability of the Campus activities and a permanent interdisciplinary research network. This will make Wolfsburg even more attractive for students and young talent.

Task: Making vehicle production sustainable

The Campus focuses its research on sustainable mobility solutions and circular economy technologies for new approaches in industrial vehicle production in the sense of a circular economy. The existing facilities offer the best conditions for this – both through the expertise gathered under one roof and through the cooperation concept of a close partnership with public and private stakeholders.

Elements: Research, teaching, further education and entrepreneurship

The cornerstones of the planned Campus are high-level research projects that are closely linked to industry. In the research element, the fields of action for the circular economy in mobility will be defined by interdisciplinary research groups, so-called “Joint Research Groups” (JRG). These will address topics such as “Automated complete vehicle disassembly”, “Sustainable material and surface systems”, “Adaptive processing of bio-based materials” and “AI-based product development and optimisation”.

The Campus, with its existing research infrastructure, also provides a suitable environment for courses and further education programmes for students and external specialists. With a strong international focus, the Campus aims to attract talent from around the world to Wolfsburg.

An outstanding feature of the Campus is that it is already characterised by intensive collaboration between university, higher education and non-university research institutes and companies. The Campus brings together the innovation potential for young companies and founders in the region and thus offers an optimal ecosystem for start-ups. The close networking enables students and researchers to realise their ideas in collaboration with industry and place them on the market. The joint Wolfsburg Campus is also embedded in the city of Wolfsburg’s regional strategy.

Comments on the promotion of the joint Campus Wolfsburg:

Prof. Dr. Joachim Schachtner, State Secretary at the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK): “The joint Wolfsburg Campus is of great importance for Lower Saxony. The Open Hybrid LabFactory brings together research, teaching and transfer in order to realise the idea of a circular economy. Together, this will enable the further innovative and sustainable development of the local automotive industry.”

Prof. Dr. Angela Ittel, President of TU Braunschweig: “The circular economy is an important focus for our university, one that shapes our profile. Our aim is to establish our region as a leading location for international research into the circular economy in mobility. This is why the new joint Campus Wolfsburg is so important to us. It brings together top-level research, first-class research infrastructure and partners from industry and politics to make a significant contribution to forward-looking innovations. On behalf of TU Braunschweig and all the project partners, I would like to thank the Ministry for funding the Campus and the City of Wolfsburg for its support.“

Prof. Dr. Peter Hecker, Vice President for Research, TU Braunschweig: “The establishment of the joint Wolfsburg Campus is a great opportunity to take excellent research with our partners in the field of the automotive circular economy to a new level. We are very pleased to be able to establish teaching, further education and transfer on the Campus in addition to research in the future.”

Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Technology Division: “In the Open Hybrid LabFactory, we are already working very successfully with TU Braunschweig and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on the topic of the circular economy. The joint Wolfsburg Campus offers an exciting opportunity to further expand this cooperation and also increase the attractiveness of Wolfsburg as a location.”

Prof. Dr. Klaus Dilger, First Chairman of the OHLF e.V.: “The establishment of the joint Wolfsburg Campus is a logical further development of collaborations from our research campus, which emerged from the competition in 2013 as part of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s strategy for the future in a public-private partnership.”

Prof. Dr. Heinz-Dieter Quack, Vice President for Research, Development and Technology Transfer at Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences: “Resource-conserving and climate-neutral circular production is a key topic of our time, one with high innovation potential for the industrial vehicle production of the future. We are looking forward to further expanding the valuable cooperation between us as Ostfalia and our partners here in Wolfsburg in this field and to tackling important research projects on the joint campus.”

Dennis Weilmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Wolfsburg: “I am delighted that we are getting a joint Campus Wolfsburg. This TU Braunschweig institution complements our city as a holistic and sustainable location and place to live. Thanks to the funding, the Open Hybrid LabFactory will take a firm place in the university landscape and develop Wolfsburg into a leading engineering research and education centre in Germany.”

Prof. Christoph Herrmann, Institute Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, on behalf of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: “Supporting the joint Wolfsburg Campus is an important step towards sustainable and future-proof mobility solutions. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with its Centre Circular Economy for Mobility CCEM is part of the Public Private Partnership and is pleased to contribute to the environment, industry and society through applied research and technology development in close cooperation with all partners. At the Fraunhofer CCEM, we are working together with our partners to research and develop automated production systems and future interior concepts for automotive production that meet the requirements of a Circular Economy.”