News overview

Approval by the Berlin House of Representatives: Chemical Invention Factory to be built

Logo of the Chemical Invention Factory
The Chemical Invention Factory will be an incubation center for chemistry.
New building of the chemical invention factory
Visualization of the Chemical Invention Factory (CIF) on the TU Berlin campus.

The final planning stage for the construction of the “Chemical Invention Factory – John Warner Center for Start-ups in Green Chemistry” (CIF) is underway at TU Berlin following the decision of the Berlin House of Representatives on 24 January 2024 to co-finance the project. Of the total investment of 20.6 million euros, 7 million euros are being provided by SIWANA III, the Berlin Senate’s program for financing the sustainable growth of the city, and with TU Berlin contributing the remaining 13.6 million euros. Construction will begin in 2025 on the Charlottenburg campus of TU Berlin.

The CIF will be an incubation center for chemistry and facilitate the transfer of research results into useful applications for both the environment and the economy. As such, the CIF is unique, the first of its kind in Germany. With its focus on green chemistry, the CIF stands out in the established chemical industry. The sustainable approaches of green chemistry shall be transformed into business success. The CIF campus will be an open space where students can pursue their own projects with the aid of an excellent research infrastructure. The new building will host offices, labs, and analytical equipment.

“The CIF will establish the laboratory infrastructure necessary for effective technology transfer in chemistry. Scientific spin-offs are becoming increasingly important as pillars for innovation in the chemical industry,” says Martin Rahmel, managing director of the CIF. The center will pave the way for disruptive innovations, which usually only find their way onto the market via new companies – in other words start-ups. “These disruptive innovations will be instrumental in revolutionizing the chemical industry to achieve carbon neutrality, circularity, and environmental stewardship in the material-based products we use in our day-to-day lives,” he adds.

Berlin has played a pioneering role in green chemistry over the last ten years. Professor Dr. John C. Warner, one of the co-founders of green chemistry and honorary professor at TU Berlin, gave his name to the CIF building and describes Berlin as the “Silicon Valley of green chemistry.” The cluster of excellence UniSysCat is part of the green chemistry ecosystem of Berlin and sees itself as an engine for actively bringing ideas from science into application: The CIF was initiated by UniSysCat. Taking into account the specific needs and potential in chemistry, UniSysCat early worked to maximize the added value of results from basic research through successful transfer.

The upcoming CIF building is also part of the “greenCHEM” transfer project, which pools the transfer activities in green chemistry at the three Berlin universities, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin. The project is backed by 28 partners and is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for up to nine years with 10 million euros as part of the “T!Raum” program, which promotes transfer spaces in regions to leverage future potential.