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Productive networks


Of all the places in Germany where researchers and businesses work together, Jena is consistently the busiest and most effective, says a new study by Cologne Institute for Economic Research.

They’re small, but they pack a punch: It’s not in Germany’s biggest cities but in medium-sized centers with populations of 50,000 to 150,000 that businesses and researchers are maximizing their cooperation. These centers are small enough for people to know each other and be aware of what others are doing commercially and research-wise. So it’s not surprising that Jena scored very highly in a national survey that covered 5,500 companies in 110 cities. The Institute’s results show that 90 per cent of those surveyed who work in Jena work with tertiary education and research institutes – more than in any other German city.
Nobody gets lost in the crowd in a medium-sized center, and word quickly gets around when a research association successfully produces marketable products.

Close links between business and science are a tradition in Jena: Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott were the forerunners and shaped modern microscopy and optics with their close cooperation in the second half of the 19th century. Today, researchers at Jena’s two universities and eight independent research institutes work with the city’s businesses to convert the results of their research to market-ready products.

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