The University of Konstanz has set up its Transfer Platform programme to facilitate the utilisation, valorisation, or further development of research findings in joint projects with industry or the public sector. The funding instrument also supports the preparation of innovative start-up projects, such as “ChemUp”.
The University of Konstanz’s Transfer Platforms are part of the university’s internal, performance-based funding. Professors and early career researchers with a doctorate can apply for funding for intersectoral cooperation projects. Funding for innovative spin-off activities is available for doctoral researchers as well as for the former groups. Transfer Platforms receive two years of funding and must subsequently be turned into externally-funded projects or spin-offs.
Chemical building blocks from plastic waste
One such project is the Transfer Platform ChemUp, headed by Konstanz chemists Manuel Häußler and Lukas Odenwald. Their aim is to produce dicarboxylic acids (DCAs) – chemical building blocks with high importance for industry – from plastic waste. To date, in Germany DCAs have been made exclusively from imported resources, primarily petroleum. Plastic waste, on the other hand, is a resource-saving raw material that is abundantly available locally. What is more, the methods developed by Häußler and Odenwald make it possible to produce particularly long DCAs, which are in high demand but were not previously available.
In 2021, ChemUp won the Science Innovation Award from Kilometer1, the joint start-up initiative of the universities in Konstanz. In 2022, the underlying research on recycling plastics was presented the German Thesis Award from the Körber-Stiftung and the Exzellenzpreis (excellence prize) from the VAA Stiftung. In the same year, Häußler and Odenwald also received prototype funding from the European Regional Development Fund for their related transfer project “Waste2DCA”. They will use this new funding to scale up their processes and to develop product samples for a potentially wide range of customers.
About the programme
The Transfer Platform programme was established in 2012 as part of the University of Konstanz’s institutional strategy within the German Excellence Initiative. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg (MWK).
Contact: Lisa Kuner, University Development, Research and Transfer, University of Konstanz
Figure caption: Hallway at the University of Konstanz. Photo by Inka Reiter; © University of Konstanz