The UNIPRENEURS initiative has honored 20 outstanding professors for their commitment to spin-offs and entrepreneurship at universities. Professor Thomas Bauernhansl, the director of the Institute of Industrial Manufacturing and Management (IFF) at the University of Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA), is one of them.
Bauernhansl has accompanied and supported 23 startups over the past eight years, some of them through the Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI GmbH) at the University of Stuttgart as well as the EXIST and AHEAD funding programs. With an average of 3.5 spin-offs per 1000 employees, the Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart holds a top position worldwide in technology transfer through spin-offs from research.
Bringing user and investor perspectives to research
"Our most important success factor is our researchers, their competence and motivation," says Bauernhansl. "The spirit of research and the spirit of entrepreneurship have a lot in common. At the Fraunhofer IPA and the IFF at the University of Stuttgart, we want to utilize this potential and actively pave many paths for personal development. For us, this means in concrete terms: We must think about the perspective of potential users and investors in industry as early as the conception of our research. We must also ask ourselves entrepreneurial questions in research. Spin-offs or industry partnerships are then the logical next step for the institute and for the people who work here."
The awards were presented in Berlin on the afternoon of September 6, 2023 by Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger and Dr. Anna Christmann, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Startups at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. UNIPRENEURS is an initiative to strengthen spin-offs at German universities.