Basic research in life sciences in Germany is well established in international comparison. A central problem of the life sciences in Germany, however, concerns the transfer of research results into commercial applications. In order to improve the assessment as to which research activities can move to the fringe of commercial application in the years ahead, information on the research situation in important areas of life sciences in Germany are necessary from an international comparative perspective. This research project´s objective is to collect such information. Three questions are central in this respect:

  • How may a research pipeline in the life sciences be defined and which typical stages are to be distinguished?
  • What is the current state of the research pipeline and which research activities will most probably give rise to commercially relevant results in the years ahead?
  • How can the commercial results of basic research be identified and how do they develop over time?

The research combines quantitative methods (bibliometrics, patent statistics, internet research) and qualitative analyses based on the literature and expert assessments. Furthermore, foundation activities in the biotechnology sector are included as a key mechanism regarding the transfer between research and commercial application.

The project is directed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). The contribution of the ZEW consists of the analysis of firm foundations in the identified new research fields in the biotechnology sector. The identification of firms in the new fields draws on several studies in which the descriptions of the business activities of the firm foundations contained in the ZEW Start-Up Panel are processed by text analysis software (e.g. multimedia, electronic data transmission in the traffic sector, medical technology).

Selected Publications

Monographs, Contributions to Edited Volumes

Reiß, Thomas, Ulrich Schmoch, Torben Schubert, Christian Rammer and Oliver Heneric (2007), Aussichtsreiche Zukunftsfelder der Biotechnologie, Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, Stuttgart.