Bridges vol. 40, June 2014 / Feature Article
By Angelika Weiler and Walter Schneider
The Technopol for Agro- and Environmental Biotechnology
Can you design a successful environment for research? It is not given that every campus and combination of research topics has a vital and prosperous science community. But the so-called “Campus Tulln Technopol” surpasses this in each instance. Starting in 1994 with the creation of a department of Agrobiotechnology, Campus Tulln has developed within 20 years into a hub of cooperation between academia and industry, interdisciplinary research and best-practice example of shared infrastructure on a common campus. At Tulln, leading scientists are engaged in top-level, internationally recognized research into biotechnical processes in the environment as well as in the animal and plant fields.
The campus was initiated in 1994 by the opening of the Department of Agrobiotechnology, IFA-Tulln, one of the arms of the BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna). Since 2002 the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Tulln Campus, has offered biotechnical processes degree programs. TFZ Tulln – Technology and Research Center Tulln now also hosts high-tech start-ups. In 2011 the UFT (University and Research Center Tulln) complemented the current campus infrastructure, where scientists from the AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) and the BOKU became engaged in collaborative research.
Important areas of activity at the campus include modern bio analytics, environmental technology, plant breeding, and the sustainable management of natural resources. The spatial and thematic proximity of institutions at Tulln has given rise to numerous collaborative projects and encourages the close cooperation of industry, research, and educational institutes on site. Developments in the local labor market also confirm the positive effects of the strategy: in the last four years alone, the number of jobs at the campus has more than doubled.
Lower Austria’s Technopol Program
With its technology strategy and support from the Technopol Program, the province of Lower Austria has established locations – the so called Technopols – which guarantee future-oriented economic development. They have the following characteristics:
- A critical mass of R&D facilities carrying out research with one or several areas of high-tech focus and having established the appropriate infrastructure
- the immediate spatial vicinity to university institutions in order to link research to education and instruction
- Professional firms as partners in cooperation for R&D facilities; their task is to exploit and implement the expertise generated at the Technopols in both national and international markets
- Sufficient available space for companies to set up businesses in the immediate vicinity of research facilities and suitable infrastructure for R&D-oriented companies, start-ups and spin-offs.
Since 2004, ecoplus, the business agency of Lower Austria, has implemented Lower Austria’s Technopol Program. The program allowed the Technopol locations Krems, Tulln, Wiener Neustadt, and Wieselburg to become the backbones of it‘s high-tech location development strategy. At Technopol Tulln, the research focus is on agrobiotechnology and environmental biotechnology.
Further information, please also see www.technopol-tulln.at (currently only in german available).Angelika Weiler finished her master degrees in biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna. After working in the field of quality control in the food and pharmaceutical industry she finished her second master degree in biotechnological quality control at the University of Applied Sciences Vienna. Since 2010 Angelika Weiler works for ecoplus.The Business Agency of Lower Austria as manager of the agricultural and biotechnological Technopol in Tulln.