University Summit in Kyushu 2007
Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, 27-28 October
Session 1(Part2): The "Science City" of the Future and the Environment

Prof. Dr. Bernd F. HUBER
President, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich

 

gScience Citiesh - a European Perspective

 
   

Accelerated progress and innovation in new technologies such as nanosciences and protein sciences have strengthened the demand for modern environments that are needed for conducting research and thus advancing development. This also applies to those universities, which have a long tradition - they are mostly located in city centres, under restricted spatial conditions. This type of university can be found quite often within Europe.

The need for innovative academic habitats has fostered the development of a new type of campuses, envisaging the combination of science and economy, instruction and profession as well as cultural life and habitation. Examples for such concepts of science cities are numerous and can be found in Zurich (ETH Honggerberg), Frankfurt (University Campus Riedberg), Cambridge (Cambridge Cluster) and Munich (High-Tech Campus Groshadern/Martinsried), to name a few.
The main idea behind these research hubs is to generate agglomeration benefits such as an effective knowledge transfer, a stimulation of the interaction between business and universities and a better training in skills demanded by the companies. This is a win-win situation for the development of science as well as economic performance. This kind of campus formation can lead to creation of major knowledge-based business clusters around universities, with enormous benefits for the region, as can be seen in Cambridge. Furthermore, the development of research platforms which are large enough to allow for competitive equipment, is a requisite to be successful in competition for funding within national (gExcellence Initiativesh) and international (European framework programs) funding programs.

Nevertheless, already existing Science Cities have to face specific challenges. In general, these new research hubs are mainly reserved to new technologies or natural sciences and do not include the humanities and social sciences. An integration of these academic fields could lead to a rewarding knowledge transfer and interdisciplinary approaches in research.

Above all, in competing for the best scientists and students, universities and cities that want to establish new research campuses should take into account that they have to provide services that go beyond the academic attractiveness. In order to create lively city quarters, facilities for daily living (housing, child care, schools, shopping), leisure time (sports and culture facilities, parks) and good public transport connections should be added to the campus.