The kick-off event of the future cluster nanodiag BW with more than a hundred participants
On 19th and 20th July 2023, the auditorium of the Freiburg University provided the setting for an extremely successful kick-off event for the nanodiag BW future cluster, covering discussion rounds across disciplinary boundaries. Intensive discussions on technological and organisational challenges as well as valuable input from experienced cluster managers, company founders and know-how providers helped the interdisciplinary team of 36 research institutions and industrial companies to get off to an ideal start in their ambitious project. This platform hopes to achieve rapid technology transfer to improve direct medical applications.
The 14 German clusters of the future are funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). They bring together top academic research in different fields in order to transfer the resulting innovations into applications over a period of nine years. In this way, research and developmental results should reach people's everyday lives more quickly and, at the same time, Germany's role as an innovation leader in global competition will be secured. The name nanodiag BW is composed of the terms nanopores, diagnostics and Baden-Württemberg. Nanopores are channels with molecular dimensions present in cell membranes. These can be modified as biosensors, to characterise and distinguish individual molecules. nanodiagBW will use this technology to analyse modified proteins that are associated with diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's disease or cancer. As a result, patients, together with diagnosing medical staff and treatment hospitals should benefit.
A deeper understanding of nanopores themselves must first be understood. Naturally occurring biological nanopores can be specifically produced for diagnostic application. The resulting data must be validated for reproducibility whereby the informative value and medical applications must always be kept in mind. In many cases, these still have to be recognised and investigated in detail. One of the cluster projects is pursuing the idea of rebuilding biological nanopores with the help of the latest semiconductor technology and process engineering. Ideally, it should even be possible to produce synthetic nanopores optimised for diagnostic or therapeutic tasks on miniaturised semiconductor chips in a way that cannot be realised by nature itself.
Congratulations and developmental funding
At the kick-off event, numerous guests of honour and speakers from politics and science expressed their solidarity with the innovation network and wished the project every success. In the first implementation phase, 15 million euros from the federal government's Clusters4Future initiative (BMBF) and seven-figure funds from the Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Science of the State of Baden-Württemberg are available. After three years, the results will be evaluated by an external jury. The scientific, technological and economic progress achieved by then will be evaluated, as will the further development of the cluster strategy and the project ideas before continuation and funding of the following three-year period.
"Steering Committee" report forwarded by Dr. John Thompson, Board of Directors of BioValley Deutschland e.V. and member of the advisory board of the nanodiag BW future cluster.