In terms of spin-offs, 2022 was a particularly successful year for the German Research Centre for Geosciences and especially for the scientists involved. They became founders and now offer their technological innovations and expertise on the market. The Transfer & Innovation team at the GFZ supports the entire spin-off process: from patent applications and the development of an initial business model to the provision of external expertise and consulting services and the acquisition of funding from programmes such as Helmholtz Enterprise. The start-up-friendly framework conditions at the GFZ have contributed to the creation of at least one new company per year on average in recent years.
These are our spin-off companies of 2022:
Geological 3D models: conventional and virtual (VR /AR)
VFG-Lab GmbH is a joint spin-off of the GFZ and the University of Potsdam. VFG translates geoscientific content into high-quality visualised models. The name VFG is derived from "Visualisations for Geoscience". The start-up develops geological 3D models with a focus on reservoir characterisation and simulation. This enables rapid and cost-efficient site exploration and evaluation of geo-energy projects. Furthermore, innovative 3D models are offered that can be displayed and interactively presented in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). Such models are used in project communication and planning for uncertainty analyses and risk assessments. The 3D visualisations of geological storage and energy projects, which are both very graphic and comprehensible, make these projects more transparent overall: If non-specialists can quickly and precisely understand a certain project, this contributes decisively to increasing its acceptance. This is particularly useful at investor meetings and in public relations work.
More information at: www.vfg-lab.com
Consulting in applied fields of geomagnetism and space weather
Leomagnetics GmbH offers consulting for all aspects related to geomagnetism and space weather. Whether radio communication, ensuring reliable operation of drones or autonomous driving vehicles, or even forecasting satellite orbits, the consultancy covers, among other things, all activities that may be affected by the impact of solar storms. In addition to consulting services, the company's services also include customised software solutions and data analyses. For this purpose, Leomagnetics' specialists evaluate ground- and satellite-based data of the ionosphere and the upper atmosphere. Producers and users of geomagnetic, ionospheric and thermospheric data and models are addressed. The cooperation partners and customers increasingly include "New Space", i.e. private companies working in the space sector. The company Leomagnetics GmbH was founded in summer 2022.
More information at: www.leomagnetics.com
Customised Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) sensors: design, manufacture and services
Monitoring dams and volcanoes or base station for drones - these are possible fields of application for the GNSS data logger tinyBlack. It is suitable for the highly accurate determination of coordinates and as a reference station in post-processing as well as for determining the water vapour content of the atmosphere. tinyBlack is manufactured and distributed by maRam UG on the basis of a licence agreement with the GFZ. The entrepreneurial company was founded in summer 2022 as a spin-off of the GFZ. The GNSS data logger tinyBlack not only measures very accurately, but is also robust and very flexible: for example, the integration of additional sensors such as weather stations and tilt sensors is possible. The new spin-off is able to produce larger quantities and implement individual modifications to meet the needs of customers from science, public authorities as well as service companies.
More information at: www.maram-ug.de
Outlook: Start-up and innovation floor (GITA)
Since 2004, 19 companies have emerged as spin-offs from the GFZ; only three of them are no longer active. The start-ups are both spin-offs (with licensing or utilisation agreements) and start-ups (based on competences and without utilisation of IP (Intellectual Property) of the GFZ).
In the future, even more GFZ employees should be encouraged to bring their research results and competences to the market as new products or services within the framework of a spin-off. To this end, the existing training and networking activities will be expanded. In the course of the year, a start-up and innovation floor (GITA) will be created at Telegrafenberg to facilitate the exchange between founders and innovators.
(Edited on 15 June 2023 | UD)