Generating positive headlines the region of Kaiserslautern has attracted the attention of political and economic decision makers. Future technologies are found in close proximity here in laboratories and in application. Kaiserslautern is both, the smallest metropolis in Germany with slightly more than 100,000 residents and a Western Palatinate Centre with a population of 500,000. People from 140 nations work and live in the Kaiserslautern area, including many US citizens. The region hosts the largest American community outside the United States.
Kaiserslautern is a young, dynamic and cosmopolitan city: 19,000 students from 80 countries receive a top-class education at the University of Kaiserslautern and at the University of Applied Sciences. The University’s top position in research and teaching is constantly reemphasised again and again by excellent results in university ranking lists. In the framework of support programmes funding means amounting to millions of euros are invested in projects continuously promoting quality improvement in teaching strategies.
The university is the key engine of development in the region. Business start-ups and company set-ups, international conferences and the foundation of top level research institutes generate a wide range of synergy effects. Companies from various sectors are benefiting from the smooth and tailored transfer of knowledge and technology.
Kaiserslautern is in the vanguard of software development thanks to internationally recognised research institutes such as the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE), the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) and the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS). Kaiserslautern also excels in other areas of research. A number of research groups are at the front line for the foundation of research institutes. Many products and software applications that are used around the world are “made in Kaiserslautern”. There are laboratories where businesses can have individually tailored solutions developed while saving resources. Kaiserslautern is participating in Europe’s most important software cluster “Softwareinnovationen für das Digitale Unternehmen” (software innovations for digital enterprise). The cluster is considered Europe’s silicon valley and spans the centres Darmstadt, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, Saarbrücken and Walldorf. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research is supporting the cluster partner’s projects with more than 80 million euros. We are doing our utmost to recruit the world’s best minds and make available a constantly rising number of highly attractive positions.
More than 180 companies with some 5,000 staff are represented in the high-tech sector. The logistics for the apparel of armed forces worldwide, the weighing system that accurately weighs the smallest goods at top speed on the production line, the creation of websites for mobile devices for names such as eBay, BILD, Kicker, Die Welt and Der Spiegel – all of these technologies were developed in Kaiserslautern. Even the software that is used to archive millions of audio and visual documents at television and radio stations or for securities trading and management at banks around the world comes from Kaiserslautern. The leap from the think tank to implementation is increasingly creating jobs in the sector of production, for example in the plants of Celstran/Ticona and Circomp, where high-tech composite materials are produced for the automobile industry, or at Wipotec: the high-speed weighing systems are not only developed but also manufactured at the Kaiserslautern plant.
Sectors that have high potential for expansion include those already represented by a large concentration of companies maintaining active networks. Traditional industries which have evolved over time are being revitalised and existing potential is serving to establish strong, competitive companies. In the field of commercial vehicles, the powerful Commercial Vehicle Alliance has emerged from three initiatives. It brings together the stakeholders and goals of the Center for Commercial Vehicle Technology of the University of Kaiserslautern (ZNT), the Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster “Digital Engineering for Commercial Vehicles“ (DNT) and the Commercial Vehicle Cluster (CVC). The planned connection to the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region will also be a major step forward: it will intensify cooperation in research and development with stakeholders from this region.
PRE-Park is responsible for a big push in this direction – PRE stands for Pfälzische Regionalentwicklung (regional development in Palatinate). The site of a former military garrison has been transformed into a technology and industrial park that combines research, work, living and leisure. The park has become one of the most successful conversion projects in Germany in the past nine years. Some 2,500 jobs have been created and over 200 million euros invested. Highlights of the leisure activities include a spectacular water park, a multiplex cinema, an entertainment centre and fitness centre. The park has 70,000 square metres of office space and 160 residential units. The site is located directly at the Kaiserslautern East motorway junction. The expansion project Gewerbepark Europahöhe is creating new space. The model for success served as the inspiration for the PRE Uni-Park, located in direct proximity to the University. The industrial park, which focuses on science and research with core competencies in IT and business mathematics, is the liaison between teaching and research to complement application-oriented IT companies.
It practically goes without saying: Kaiserslautern has been successful from the start of the “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” initiative, which is an overwhelming confirmation of the power of innovation and combined competence in future technologies.
The doctor of biology was the head of the department of environment and forestry in Kaiserslautern from 1990 to 1995. He was the head of the department of environment, health, youth, social welfare and sports from 1995 to 1999. From 2000 to 2007, he was the president of the Struktur- und Genehmigungsdirektion Süd in Neustadt/Weinstraße. He has been the Lord Mayor of Kaiserslautern since 2007.