The development and use of new materials are the key to product and process innovations in many sectors, including the automotive sector, mechanical engineering and medical technology. As an interdisciplinary technology, the production of new materials therefore has links to a large number of industries, in which possible customers are waiting for actors from the sector. In Bavaria, these industries with high-tech companies in which new materials are processed are concentrated in material sciences, as is a high level of research expertise.
Bavaria's New Materials cluster initiates joint research projects, gets regional partners involved, networks business and research in the sector and offers targeted cooperation across different technologies and sectors. This allows fundamental principles emerging from research to be implemented in the production of new materials quickly and the materials which result to be used in further production just as fast. New companies in the sector are supported through a large number of initiatives. The Start-up Center of Bayreuth for New Materials (BGZ), for example, offers good-value premises with the latest equipment for start-ups in the sector.
Many universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutions in Bavaria maintain institutes, faculties, chairs and research groups in material sciences. Research is conducted on a wide range of materials. For example, the Institutes of Material Sciences at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg work on semiconductors, metals, polymers, ceramics, glass and composite materials, while the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research works on materials for photovoltaics, heat insulation and heat transfer.
Bavarian research into new materials includes the entire spectrum of this field of research. Its focuses include nano and bio-materials, construction materials, electrical engineering and electronics. At the same time, Bavaria's research structures are also important structures for training specialist staff in the sector. The training of specialist staff in the new materials field is based both on the many options for university education relevant to the sector and to the dual educational structures used to qualify young engineers. These two pillars ensure that there are plenty of qualified specialist staff in new materials.
Bavaria's New Materials cluster offers the state's companies many attractive services which contribute to the success of their business. Companies can gain fast, practical access to research, trends and markets. They can build on greater competitiveness gained through joint appearances with other associated companies in the cluster, allowing them to present their expertise and offers transparently. For new project ideas, the cluster offers fast access to partners for implementation.
According to its own information, the New Materials cluster comprises “around 500 cluster actors, 36 cluster partners, 23 projects with 97 project partners and over 100 events”.
There is also a wide range of regional networks with closely-defined topic areas, such as Kunststoff-Netzwerk Franken e.V., the Cluster for Lightweight Design Landshut and Carbon Composites e.V. (CCeV) in Augsburg. With over 100 companies, the competence network includes all value creation chains in fibre-reinforced material technology. Together, the networks ensure that even new companies in the new materials field in Bavaria quickly become successful.