The Tuttlingen Innovation and Research Centre (IFC), which is located in the direct vicinity of the Tuttlingen Campus of Furtwangen University (HFU), officially opened on 25 July 2018. "This wonderful building, which was built in record time, will now be handed over to science and research," said Tuttlingen's mayor Michael Beck.
Ortwin Guhl was awarded the title of honorary citizen of the University during the ceremony which was attended by 200 guests. With this special award, HFU honours Guhl's outstanding efforts on behalf of the Tuttlingen Campus. "We only have one kind of raw material, our brains, and these we have to challenge and support," stressed Guhl.
Stefan Bär, Tuttlingen Regional counsellor expressed his good wishes thus: "May it be the door and the key to success for many." Friedlinde Gurr-Hirsch, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Rural Areas and Consumer Protection stressed, "We need young people with drive to establish start-ups. We hope the IFC will be the answer to the lack of skilled employees." And Guido Wolf, Baden-Württemberg Minister of Justice, in his capacity as chairman of the Tuttlingen Campus Development Association, pointed out, "The IFC is an institution for the engineers of the future. I hope the project will give birth to many exciting ideas."
Dr. Klaus Irion, Head of Research and Technology at Karl Storz, mentioned in his speech, "Digitalization or no digitalization - that is no longer the question because we're talking about the future of our economy." And referring to George Orwell's book "1984", he added, " We don't want Big Brother, but Smart Brother is already on the way."
The newly appointed Director of the IFC, Prof. Dr. Martin Haimerl, said, "We want to support and drive innovations. Networking is part of that and the IFC provides the opportunities." He invited both his academic colleagues and industry to work together to achieve this.
The Town of Tuttlingen, as owner of the building, has been renting the building to Furtwangen University since 1 July, 2018. The approximately 2,700²m building located on the corner of Katharinenstraße and Stockacher Straße offers space for both labs and offices. The building costs in the region of €11.37m were covered by the European Union (€4.55m), the State of Baden-Württemberg (€1.82m) and the Town and Region of Tuttlingen (€2.5m each). The Development Association has supported the setting up of the IFC with around €300,000. The design and planning of the 5-storey building was carried out by the RSE Planungsgesellschaft in Kassel. The construction period was very short: from January, 2017 to June, 2018; the foundation stone was laid on 22 March, 2017 and the roofing ceremony took place on 27 October, 2017.
The IFC offers scientists, companies and start-ups access to the research and development institutions of the University, thus supporting technology and knowledge transfer. The largest part of the area will be assigned to applied research. The rest will be shared between the cluster organization Medical Mountains and start-up companies. Research is currently being carried out in the areas of health and medical technology, production engineering and e-mobility. The IFC employs 58 people in total.
With the Innovation and transfer partnership CoHMed (Connected Health in Medical Mountains), whose management will be located in the building, the IFC will be focusing on the core growth area of medical technology. The Institute for Precision Grinding (KSF), with a two-storey high machine hall, a warehouse, measuring room and office, is located on the ground floor. On the upper floors, there are offices, meeting rooms, training room and labs. The roof terrace can be reached from the third floor. This can later be built upon to extend the building if additional space is required.