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Press release: Helmholtz funds new spin-offs

The Helmholtz Association is currently supporting five spin-off projects through its Helmholtz Enterprise programme, awarding each with €100,000 from the Initiative and Networking Fund. Most of the funding is invested in the spin-offs' critical start-up phase. The funding is part of the Helmholtz Association's technology transfer strategy.

"Helmholtz Enterprise funding allows us to support new companies, particularly when it comes to personnel," says Dr Rolf Zettl, Managing Director of the Helmholtz Association. "The funds are intended to help spin-off projects hire new personnel and thus give the founders the freedom they need to work on their business plans. The funds are also designed to fill personnel gaps at the Helmholtz Centres in question, gaps that arise through employees switching to different jobs. The funding measure is an important part of our mission because it helps us promote the effective transfer of research findings into economic use."

An external expert committee selected the following projects for funding:

AeroDesignWorks, German Aerospace Center (DLR) RenEWaSol, German Aerospace Center (DLR) ALION Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). onemicron laser, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf HZDR) SiMoNa, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

One year's planning security The Helmholtz Association uses its Helmholtz Enterprise programme to support spin-off ideas that have the potential for market success. With the maximum sum of €100,000 from the Fund and at least the same amount from the respective Helmholtz Centre, the spin-off projects have additional funding available for one year to enable them to meet personnel costs during the start-up phase.

Helmholtz Enterprise owes its existence to the German government's Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation, which allowed the Helmholtz Association to set up its Initiative and Networking Fund. In addition to financing measures to continually improve research excellence, promote talent and ensure equal opportunities, it also supports company start-ups via the Helmholtz Enterprise programme. The programme financed 58 start-ups in the years 2005 to 2010.

Overview of the projects and the Helmholtz Centre contact persons: AeroDesignWorks - Saving energy with hi-tech ventilators and fans German Aerospace Center (DLR) The founders of AeroDesignWorks GmbH plan to transfer knowledge gained from the hi-tech aircraft engine and power station gas turbine sectors to the mass market for ventilators and fans. These ultra-modern models reduce energy consumption without increasing production costs. Founders: Georg Kröger (Dr.-Ing.), Ulrich Siller (Dipl.-Ing.) For more information contact Cordula Tegen at the press office: <cordula.tegen@dlr.de>; Tel.: +49 2203 601-3876

RenEWaSol - Harnessing the sun's energy to purify water German Aerospace Center (DLR) This is a spin-off from DLR's Institute of Solar Research. The company plans to manufacture and operate water purification plants based on SOWARLA technology. The procedure uses photonic energy from sunlight to convert harmful substances into minerals. SOWARLA technology was developed by DLR and two SMEs in a project funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU). The technology minimises energy use and dramatically reduces the need for chemicals. Founders: Jan Säck, Dr C. Sattler, Dr C. Jung For more information contact Cordula Tegen at the press office: <cordula.tegen@dlr.de>; Tel.: +49 2203 601-3876

ALION - Ion beam expertise for industry Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) The HZDR's Ion Beam Center is one of the leading facilities of its kind in the world. It is thus increasingly being approached by industrial companies and asked to take on production tasks. Since no other external providers on the market are able to provide services of the scope required, the spin-off is being set up to perform ion implantations. Ion implantations improve the performance of power semiconductor devices by allowing targeted manipulation of the material properties of surfaces. Founders: Prof. Andreas Kolitsch and team For more information contact Christine Bohnet at the press office: <c.bohnet@hzdr.de>; Tel.: +49 351 260-2450

onemicron laser - high-pulse-power diode-pumped ultrashort pulse laser Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) The goal of this spin-off project is to develop and market high-performance laser systems, in particular ultrashort pulse lasers (USP lasers). For clients in science and industry it will produce innovative diode-pumped solid-state disc lasers that can efficiently emit ultrashort pulses and amplify them to very high pulse energies. Conventional disc lasers can currently only emit medium pulse energies. Founders: Dr Mathias Siebold, Markus Löser (Dipl. Phys.) For more information contact Christine Bohnet at the press office: <c.bohnet@hzdr.de>; Tel.: +49 351 260-2450

SiMoNa - extensive materials analysis at molecular level Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) KIT spin-off SiMoNa provides adapted simulator solutions in the form of services and licences for clients in the chemicals and organic electronics industries. The key element of this is the modelling of complex material systems at molecular level. By providing a molecular image of the material, SiMoNa makes a decisive contribution towards shortening and optimising the innovation cycle that develops new materials into marketable products. Founders: Dr Robert Maul, Simon Windmaier (Dipl.-Ing.) For more information contact Monika Landgraf at the press office, <monika.landgraf@kit.edu>; Tel.: +49 721 608-48126

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With over 31,000 employees in 17 research centres and an annual budget of approximately €3.3 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Contacts for the Media:

Thomas Gazlig Head of Communications and Media Relations Berlin Office Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße 2 10178 Berlin Tel./Fax: 030 206 329-57/60 <presse@helmholtz.de>

Janine Tychsen Press Officer Tel.: 030 206329-24 <janine.tychsen@helmholtz.de>

idw :: 07.07.2011