The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Württemberg has commissioned the global real estate service provider CBRE with a feasibility study for the development of a large artificial intelligence (AI) innovation park.
"AI - Made in Baden-Württemberg. This is a seal of quality and we want to make it internationally known. We are already excellently positioned in the field of AI research, so now, the main task must be to test AI-based products and services even faster and put them on the market," said Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden Württemberg in Stuttgart. "An innovation park could give an enormous boost to the AI location Baden-Württemberg. It is a great opportunity for our region to diversify our economy in a future-oriented way and open up new fields of employment."
Requirements for an AI Innovation Park
"We want to create an effective and visible magnet for companies, national and international start-ups, research institutions, AI investors, business angels, venture capitalists and, especially, for AI talent. These players are decisive drivers for Baden-Württemberg as an AI location," said the Minister. In the AI Innovation Park, companies would be able to develop, test and market AI-based products and services in optimal conditions and at high speed. In order to create the optimal framework for this, it is to set standards for the infrastructure of innovation centers, for example concerning appropriate computing capacities, test and experimental facilities, climate protection, conservation of resources and in cooperation for innovations (open innovation). The AI Innovation Park is intended to contribute both to the expansion of existing strengths of the Baden-Württemberg economy as well as to the development of new strengths in important innovative future fields. It is intended to complement institutions in the state and thus enrich and expand the innovation landscape. The project should also be seen as a lighthouse project in the sense of the Green Deal of the new EU Commission. "KI-made in BW" stands for the highest ethical standards and makes an active contribution to mastering global social challenges, such as climate protection, health, energy supply and nutrition, said Hoffmeister-Kraut.
"If Baden-Württemberg has the ambition to play in the world league of AI hotspots, we have to act now and create suitable structures to make our state even more visible as a global centre for AI value creation," said Hoffmeister-Kraut, referring to large-scale innovation parks in other regions in Germany, Europe and the world. These include the LabCampus at Munich Airport, the Science City Adlershof in Berlin, but also the Innovation Park Zurich or, as recently announced at CES, the "Woven City" in Japan. "Completely new innovation ecosystems are being created in large areas, which, as powerhouses, additionally promote the corresponding regions in terms of innovation and economic power. Baden-Württemberg has and wants to stay on top of current developments", said the Minister. In financial terms, the AI Innovation Park would be the largest innovation project with public co-financing in Baden-Württemberg since decades.
Objective of the feasibility study
The contract for the feasibility study was preceded by a corresponding cabinet decision of the state government as well as a Europe-wide call for tenders in the form of a negotiated procedure with a preliminary competition. The study is intended to identify potential sites in Baden-Württemberg and provide information on the success factors that must be present for innovation parks in a "world-class format", potentially viable business and financing models for an AI Innovation Park, procedure options for a fair site selection procedure and which thematic priorities are possible and sensible. The state provides 500,000 euros for this purpose.
"In view of the fast pace of fundamental innovation developments worldwide, we must also pick up the pace in innovation policy. We have to become even faster in turning research results into products and services in central future topics, in acquiring funding and in finding the necessary partners," said Hoffmeister-Kraut. The Minister therefore expects CBRE to provide a basis for a decision within one year as to whether the AI Innovation Park should be pursued further by the state. "Projects of this dimension and complexity must be extremely well prepared in order to be economically feasible afterwards", said the Minister.
According to the Minister, the European Union will, as things stand today, support five to ten World-Class AI Testing and Experimentation Facilities with a total of around two billion euros over the next few years. "These massive investments by the EU show that we need such large-scale innovation centres in order to continue to play in the world league of innovation regions in the future. We are thus creating the best possible conditions in Baden-Württemberg for open innovation processes, promoting the establishment of large-scale test environments and real laboratories for value-added future technologies and, last but not least, improving the visibility for investors and the required talent," said Hoffmeister-Kraut. "We are cooperating closely with the representatives of the EU in order to create the best conditions for EU funding with the feasibility study here.”
The location decision for the AI Innovation Park is currently completely open. In all likelihood, a location will be selected after the state government has made a fundamental decision on the realisation of the AI Innovation Park, in 2021 at the earliest. The feasibility study will also determine, in which municipalities or regions there is interest in a large-scale innovation park, how quickly the necessary space can be made available and to what extent there is basic municipal commitment to an innovation park of international scale. If there are concrete expressions of interest from a municipal side within the framework of the feasibility study, it could contribute considerably to speeding up further processes. "We want to implement this project as quickly as possible," said Hoffmeister-Kraut.
Prof. Dr. Alexander von Erdély, CEO of CBRE in Germany, said: "We are very pleased that we can support the state of Baden-Württemberg with our international expertise. This will not only make the project a flagship project with regard to the commercialisation of artificial intelligence in Germany, but the use of existing experience with similar projects in the real estate sector will also create a sustainable basis for further planning".
Further information on the feasibility study for an AI Innovation Park is available on an ongoing basis at www.ai-park-bw.biz.
Business Initiative 4.0
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Württemberg launched the "Initiative Wirtschaft 4.0" in 2017. The aim of the initiative, launched together with 36 partner organisations, is to promote the digitisation of the economy in Baden-Württemberg, especially with regard to SMEs, across all sectors and across the entire state. The "Industry 4.0" initiative acts as an umbrella and communicative bracket for all activities for the digitization of the economy. A central coordination office for the initiative was established in Stuttgart on 1 March 2019.
CBRE is - in terms of turnover in the 2018 financial year - the largest global real estate service provider. With more than 90,000 employees in over 480 offices, CBRE is a partner for investors and real estate users in all real estate matters worldwide. CBRE offers a wide range of integrated services covering the entire life cycle of a property: from strategic and technical/economic advice, such as on buying and selling or renting and leasing, to the management and valuation of real estate, as well as portfolio, transaction, project and facility management. CBRE offers tailor-made advice from a single source across all asset classes. The CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company with headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Since 1973, CBRE Germany has had its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, with further offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Essen, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart. www.cbre.de