Level IV "Creation and Integration at the Organizational Level"

At level IV, the activities of NEU are primarily visible in two roles: “Common resource creation platform” and “Organization integrator”, concentrated around three strategic areas, which describe a holistic approach to innovation and the issue of sustainable growth: development and professionalization of innovative structures, cross-sectoral cooperation and securing funds, and internationalization. The aim of NEU’s activities within the first area (development and professionalization of innovative structures) is the development of innovations (product-based and process-based), which will strengthen regional competitiveness. NEU e.V. is a central element of a cluster-based innovative strategy for the Leipzig region in the field of energy technologies and environmental protection. It operates as a catalyst institution by creating networks of relationships by connecting entities with specific skills in the area of energy transformation along the value chain. NEU e.V. develops two value chains, namely intelligent mobility and intelligent infrastructure. The design of such a value chain and establishing cooperation among its particular links (entities representing different stages of the chain) requires NEU e.V. organize regular meetings in cluster teams. The meetings enable their participants to get to know one another, identify existing skills, and establish common developmental goals. The meetings are also attended by representatives of R&D institutions, who take part in the designed networks. In the Lipsk region, there are seven large R&D institutions of national and international significance (DBFZ - Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum, UFZ - Umweltforschungszentrum del Helmholtzgesellschaft, Fraunhofer MOEZ, Universitat Leipzig, Institut fiir Energie, HTWK - Hochschule fur Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig), which together with the cluster teams create the organizational framework for joint innovative projects undertaken together with SMEs. In this way, science-business cooperation is strengthened, which in turn translates to the higher innovativeness of the joint solutions. One example of the institutionalization of the innovative structures is The Innovation Center for Bioenergy, which was created in 2013 by NEU e.V. in cooperation with i.a. DBFZ and Fraunhofer MOEZ. The center operates as a business incubator by offering services significant for the development of entrepreneurship in SMEs (such as consulting). Beside raising the pace of innovative processes, it provides a platform for the development of spinoff companies from R&D objects in Leipzig. Apart from the function of an incubator, the Center is a clearing house for companies from the energy and bioenergy sectors. NEU e.V. engages in activities tied to innovation and technology transfer, mediating between science and industry both through the Innovation Center for Bioenergy, as well as through various events, such as the aforementioned Energy Cluster meets Science [Energiecluster trifft Wissenschaft]. Because most of the members of NEU e.V. come from the Leipzig region, in order to supplement resources, competences and specialist knowledge, NEU e.V. strives to develop cooperation with other COs. These include German networks and COs specializing in energy, such as CEF-NRW - Cluster Energy Research, OLEC Oldenburg, ZAB Brandenburg and ReNEWable Energies Hamburg. NEU e.V. also participates in joint activities with energy clusters from Central Europe and South-Eastern Europe (e.g. OREEC Oslo, COSMENERG clusters). NEU e.V. is also engaged in large subject-specific research clusters (e.g. BioEconomy and HYPOS).

Within the second area (cross-sectoral cooperation and securing funds), the CO promotes cross-sectoral cooperation, which sparks large innovative potential. In order to initiate and develop cross-sectoral cooperation, NEU e.V. organizes meetings in the form of workshops, knowledge exchange fora, and conferences centered around the exchange of information pertaining to energy transformation, which have the function of a platform of making contacts among representatives from different fields. In this way, NEU e.V. becomes a broad and actively operating network of cross- sectoral contacts in the scope of, e.g. energy supply, systems integration, energy distribution, energy efficiency, and electromobility. Due to challenges in financing initiatives of innovative nature, which carry a high risk, NEU e.V. supports SMEs in the scope of securing access to sources of funding. This support encompasses the creation of project consortia comprising representatives from the worlds of business and science, securing funds, and presenting developed innovative solutions.

The third area - internationalization - is based on cooperation with foreign partners. Value is often generated on the basis of cross-regional differences. For this reason, as a network of cooperation focused on innovation and export, NEU e.V. develops a strategy of internationalization, which is supported by the location of the cluster itself. As a trade fair city, Leipzig attracts potential foreign partners, particularly from Central Europe and South-East Europe. On the basis of the developed contacts, joint project activity is undertaken within international cooperation networks. Furthermore, in its role of a “Common resource creation platform”, NEU e.V. supports project-based cooperation throughout the entire project lifecycle: starting with the identification and securing of funding, through initiating projects and engaging cluster members therein, to project management itself.

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