Offers to the Private Sector
Technologies and know-how developed at AWI are transferred into commercial applications in different ways.
Research co-operations are usually medium to long-term projects with open outcome. The partners have a common research and publication interest and both partners contribute towards the research aim.
This form of co-operation is very often most suitable in more fundamental research topics, with a longer path towards commercialisation. Research co-operations are an important tool to transfer AWI expertise or technologies into society or business and to get new impulses into the AWI.
The aim of contract research is less broad than in research co-operations; the duration usually is short- to medium-term. AWI is contracted but has a research and publication interest. Contract research is suitable for applications with a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and is a very effective way to directly and quickly transfer research findings into business applications.
The inherent direct communication ensures that tailor-made solutions can be found in close collaboration and that the research is conducted target-oriented.
Expertise and know-how gathered at AWI is also used in consultancy. This comprises direct knowledge transfer, e.g. in political consulting, when experts from the institute give advice to policymakers, but also classical consultancy in the sense of expert advice and reports for businesses.
The AWI holds industrial and intellectual property rights in different technologies and methods, which were developed within AWI's research.
These can be commercialised, e.g. through licensing. The Technology Transfer Office accompanies the licensing process with the interested industry partners.
Patents, for which licensees are sought are e.g.:
In spin-off companies, know-how, technology, and the relevant experts are transferred directly into the private sector. This is applicable when market readiness is reached and commercial viability is given. Potential founders of spin-offs are supported by the Technology Transfer Office. In a transition phase, the spin-offs may be accompanied by the TTO, but are fully exposed to the market and its mechanisms.
Inventions, innovative technologies and services originate, e.g. from the following R&D fields of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute:
Bionic Lightweight Design
The anchor group bionic lightweight design explores the principles that turn the exoskeletons (shells) of diatoms (Unicellular planktonic organisms) into extremely light and stable constructions. It was found that the shells’ highly complex geometries have a large share in these characteristics. Based on these research results, we developed the bionic product creation process ELiSE in 2005, which we have continuously improved ever since. It is the aim to systematically refine fundamental research, applied research, and product development in the field of lightweight design in nature and technical applications, consequentially using strong synergy effects.
Maritime and Polar Technologies
As internationally acknowledged competence centre in polar and marine research, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute is one of the few institutions worldwide that conduct research both in the Arctic and Antarctic. The expertise of AWI with research in polar regions and the operation of the required infrastructure in harsh environments leads to a unique know-how in polar but also in marine technologies.
The Helmholtz Alliance ROBEX brings experience from lunar and deep-sea research together. ROBEX aims at identifying, developing and testing common technologies that allow surveying areas with extreme environmental conditions like the deep-sea, polar regions or other planets. Focus is to establish a modular robotic infrastructure, which works at least partly autonomously.
Fundament of the research work of the Alfred-Wegener-Institute is a multitude of scientific data that are gathered on expeditions or long-term survey stations. Data come (among others) from the fields of oceanography, geophysics, climatology and biology. AWI is part of the MaNIDA network (Marine Network for Integrated Data Access) which aims at improving data accessibility.
Marine Measurement Techniques
Scientific work in marine research always requires inventive talent and innovations to develop new survey technologies or to improve existing ones. Thus, some of the technologies that have been invented at the AWI came into existence. These include, e.g.:
- Underwater sampler
- Dropping Tool
- Unplugging tool