Posted: 26 October 2018

At rear, from left: President of the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) and Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller; Ambassador to Australia for the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Anna Prinz; South Australian Minister for Trade, South Australian Tourism and Investment David Ridgeway.
In front: Managing Director of WISTA Management Roland Sillmann; Tonsley Innovation District Director Philipp Dautel.

Two leading innovation districts from opposite sides of the world – Tonsley Innovation District in southern Adelaide and Adlershof Science City in Berlin – have joined forces to exchange knowledge and talent and share business and research opportunities.

Tonsley Innovation District, located at the premises of the former Mitsubishi car plant in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, is being developed by Renewal SA on behalf of the State Government.

Tonsley is Australia’s most awarded innovation district, winning awards globally for innovation, sustainability architecture and urban design. The precinct is home to around 1,400 workers and 6,500 students across co-working spaces, small to medium businesses, TAFE College and Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering. The development of a residential community, Tonsley Village, is well underway and will house about 1,200 people in 850 homes when complete.

A memorandum of understanding between Tonsley and Adlershof was signed at a ceremony in Canberra on October 15, attended by South Australia’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, David Ridgway; President of the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) Michael Müller, who is also Governing Mayor of Berlin; and Germany’s Ambassador to Australia, Dr Anna Prinz.

Adlershof is one of the most successful high-technology sites in Germany. It is home to 1,041 companies and scientific institutions, with more than 16,000 employed and 6,700 students.

Some of the focus sectors are renewable energy and photovoltaics, photonics and optics, and biotechnology and environment.  Adlershof is also home to six scientific institutes of the Humboldt University of Berlin.

These sectors strategically align with those targeted by Tonsley – cleantech and renewable energy; automation, software and simulation; health, medical devices and assistive technologies; and mining and energy services.

Tonsley Director Mr Philipp Dautel said Adlershof was an ideal strategic partner for Tonsley in its quest to connect with other precincts globally to drive business, research partnerships and international investment to the district.

“Not only does Adlershof Science City align with our vision and goals, Germany itself is known as a global leader in manufacturing and an early adopter in Industry 4.0 practices – the use of cyber-physical systems and a leader in sustainability and renewable energy technologies,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to driving joint business-to-business and business-to-research opportunities and taking part in accelerator programs for promising start-ups at Adlershof and here at Tonsley.

“We can also help German entrepreneurs to get established at Tonsley and vice-versa. South Australian companies keen to set up in Berlin, Europe’s entrepreneurial hot spot, will get access to help on the ground at Adlershof.”

Mr Dautel said Tonsley Innovation District already had strong representation from Germany, including Siemens, one of the world’s largest engineering and advanced technology firms; international optical and opto-electronics firm, ZEISS; and multinational electrical engineering and automation specialists Phoenix Contact.