According to a study conducted by Dr. Anja Ranscht and Dr. Dennis Alexander Ostwald of Prof. Dr. Bert Rürup’s chair at the Darmstadt University of Technology on behalf of our network HealthCapital, the Berlin-Brandenburg region of health is already today an extraordinarily important economic factor. In 2008, 351,000 people were working in the health sector and generated a gross value of 14.25 billion euros. The study predicts that this industry will continue to develop favourably until 2030. By then there will be 368,000 employees generating a gross value of 20.19 billion euros in the region. These encouraging numbers show that health care industry is an interesting sector, combining science, economy and health care. This way it offers great potential for innovations as well as for vocational and further training of specialized staff. About 180 companies in biotechnology and biomedicine, 250 companies in medical engineering, 24 pharmaceutical companies, 120 hospitals, 17 public universities with programmes of study regarding health issue numerous companies offering vocational training, and last but not least, the high number of public and private research facilities place the region on the top of the German and European health clusters.
It is clearly evident that this people-intensive area with staff both from universities and with vocational training has a high need for further education.
The high standards of the universities and of the companies providing vocational training have a very high reputation worldwide. Both parts of Berlin were already renowned science locations before the Wall came down: The Humboldt University, the Charité and academy institutes on one side, the Technical University of Berlin and the Free University of Berlin as well as non-university research institutes on the other side, had already been increasing Berlin’s scientific reputation for many years and they were the logical result of Berlin’s history as an extraordinary city of sciences.
Considering this expertise, it was but logical to further and significantly increase the development of research in life sciences after the Wall came down. The development of the biotech-industry and the medical engineering industry in the pharmaceutical companies Schering, Berlin-Chemie and others became an important basis for the reindustrialization of the Metropolitan Region of Berlin-Brandenburg. A process which, thankfully, is continuing, as the recent opening of Pfizer’s German head office as well as the Science Center Medizintechnik of the company Otto Bock impressively show. Today it is no longer unrealistic to imagine that Berlin will become an important place of the biomedical industry with not only German but even European head offices of important pharmaceutical and medical engineering companies in the next few years. Already now 18 per cent of all German biotechnology companies are based in the wider area of Berlin-Brandenburg.
There are many incentives: the proximity to science and politics, the high quality in the perhaps most vivid metropolitan region of Europe and the opportunity to create unorthodox innovations in co-operation with the creative and media industries, which are growing fast and becoming increasingly important in Berlin-Brandenburg.
Berlin-Brandenburg has an extraordinarily efficient health care system consisting of the Charité, Vivantes, the Carl-Thiem clinical centre and many other public and private hospitals. Rehabilitation centres with high standards complement this chain of services.
“Wellness” is gaining in importance due to our increasing understanding of how to avoid diseases and of the influence of a healthy way of living on our wellbeing. In this area, too, the metropolitan region has facilities that live up particularly well to the modern ideas of prevention, early and late rehabilitation.
In addition to increasing the quality of living and securing our standards of living, the above-mentioned facilities are of course also economic factors. They create and secure jobs, thereby contributing significantly to the region’s economic growth.
One factor will play a special role in future: Due to the demographic development, we have to expect an increase in chronic, degenerative diseases – for example of the heart, the brain or the locomotor system.
The modern molecular medicine on the one hand and our new understanding of the prevention and rehabilitation on the other, together with the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, prepare the health industry for this challenge and secure the investments into a sustainable growth sector – future-proof, devoted to people and economically interesting.
If we succeed in bringing this complete offer even more to bear on a supraregional, national and international level, if we succeed in bringing Berlin even closer to being Europe’s convention capital for medical conventions and if we succeed in putting all the potentials we have into reality, then we will not only be a European metropolis of highest urbanity and highest scholarliness but also a region that bases its economic wellbeing on a reindustrialization which has developed first of all from science.
The author was born in 1944 and studied medicine in Heidelberg, where he then obtained his postdoctoral lecture qualification. In 2006 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit; in 2007 he received the Order of Merit of the State Berlin. He is the president of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Berlin-Brandenburg and, since 2007, has been the spokesman of HealthCapital, the network of health management in Berlin-Brandenburg.