SOURCE: The Scientist

The Scientist

April 07, 2009 06:00 ET

North Rhine-Westphalia: Germany's Biotech Big Name

The Scientist Magazine Uncovers How the Region Between the Rhine and the Ruhr Is One of the 'Hidden Champions' of the Biotechnology Sector

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - April 7, 2009) - In a special supplement to its April issue, The Scientist takes an in-depth look at how North Rhine-Westphalia's (NRW) focus on innovation -- and a concerted regional effort by politicians, businessmen, academics and scientists to forge synergies -- has helped it become a beacon of biotech achievement in Europe, and around the world.

The supplement, titled NRW - Biotechnology in North Rhine-Westphalia emphasizes policy, industry and research, and profiles the key players and the lively panorama of the legacy, status and outlook of biotechnology in the state.

Featured throughout is the progress the region is making in its race to move from a commanding industrial heritage to an innovative model state for a bio-based economy focused on sustainability and white biotechnology, or the "biologization" of chemistry. The Scientist has found that not only does the region have the longest name, but it's also the biggest news in German life science.

The state of NRW is within a day's drive of a third of the population of Europe and is home to one quarter of Germany's direct foreign investment and also the #1 exporter of the country's 16 states, contributing to 21.7% of the country's GDP. It has been a prime location for industry for a century and now a home to over 300 life science companies.

With its unique collaboration among 61 universities and 100 affiliated research centers, 12 Max Planck Institutes, about 60 technology centers and incubators, various funding entities and a strong private-public partnership, NRW has established itself among the elite in life sciences innovation. Minister President Jürgen Rüttgers, a champion of biotechnology growth and a contributor to the supplement says, "My aim is to make this former stronghold of heavy industry into an internationally renowned high-technology location."

The supplement was developed by guest editor Joachim Pietzsch, a noted German science writer, and includes contributions from several German journalists as well as Opinions from industry leaders. Richard Gallagher, Editor and Publisher of The Scientist, says, "Uncovering and telling the story of North Rhine-Westphalia's leadership position in biotechnology was surprising and at times uplifting. Their story proves just how far focused leadership, a strong scientific community and a successful public-private partnership can go delivering great innovation and promise."

BIO.NRW, the umbrella organization for biotechnology clusters in North Rhine-Westphalia, was an integral component in the publishing of the supplement. "We were pleased to network The Scientist team with various key players of the biotechnology scene. Even if it was not possible -- nor the aim of this supplement -- to give a full-fledged description of the North Rhine-Westphalian biotech landscape, it is rather convincing to see the full picture now that the supplement is complete. We appreciate the collaboration with The Scientist very much, for the journalists and contributing authors convey insights, into strengths and opportunities. We are looking forward to many fruitful discussions," says Matthias Nerger, Head of BIO.NRW Office.

The 90 page supplement from The Scientist, which chronicles the story of NRW's success, can be found online at and as a print magazine by special request.

About The Scientist

The Scientist, the magazine of the life sciences, has informed and entertained life science professionals around the world for over 20 years. We provide print and online coverage of the latest developments in the life sciences including trends in research, new technology, news, business and careers. The Scientist reaches the leading researchers in academia and industry that are interested in maintaining a broad view of the life sciences by reading insightful and entertaining articles about current controversies, scientists in the field, the commercialization of innovation and the new discoveries affecting our lives and planet. For more information about The Scientist, visit


BIO.NRW - Cluster Biotechnology North Rhine-Westphalia provides information to entrepreneurs, investors, media and general public. It offers perspectives on the potential of biotechnology in North Rhine-Westphalia. And, since collaboration along the value chain is key to innovation, BIO.NRW develops networks among key players such as academia, industry, politics and media. For more information, visit

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