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Additional millions in funding for two WIR! projects at Chemnitz University of Technology

Chemnitz University of Technology is involved in two alliances that have now been successfully evaluated and will continue to be funded with a total of 12.8 million euros until 2025 in the WIR! - Change through Innovation in the Region program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Chemnitz University of Technology continues to be significantly involved in the two collaborative projects Smart Rail Connectivity Campus (SRCC) and Smart Composites ERZgebirge (Ore Mountains) (SmartERZ), which are part of the WIR! - Change through Innovation in the Region program of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This is the result of a successfully completed interim review, in which the strategy concepts convinced the judges. The SRCC will receive 6.8 million euros for further research, development and innovation projects in the implementation phase until 2025, bringing the total funding to 15 million euros. A further 6 million euros can flow into the WIR! alliance SmartERZ during this period, bringing the total funding for implementation projects to around 13.8 million euros. Chemnitz University of Technology has been contributing the expertise of several professorships to the two alliances since 2019, which are very strongly linked to the Erzgebirge region and are intended to contribute to structural change there.

"We are very pleased about the positive evaluation of our two WIR projects, which represent successful transfer to the region as well as successful transfer to the economy and society. I congratulate the colleagues involved sincerely on their great success and at the same time thank all network partners and of course the BMBF for their important support," says Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, Rector of Chemnitz University of Technology.

Positive effects for the Erzgebirge

During the assessment, the jury praised the commitment of the WIR! alliance SRCC to date: "The alliance can credibly demonstrate its competitiveness in the internationally relevant field of innovation. In this context, the Smart Rail Connectivity Campus (SRCC) acts convincingly as a platform that brings together the competencies of many players in the WIR! region and catalyzes innovations." SmartERZ was also rated very positively by the judges: "The alliance is business-driven and strongly rooted in the region, which leads us to expect a high level of application orientation and subsequent usability of the results as well as concrete effects in the region."

WIR! alliance Smart Rail Connectivity Campus focuses on intelligent rail transport

With the overall SRCC project, Chemnitz University of Technology and the city of Annaberg-Buchholz want to permanently establish a globally visible center for research, development and testing in the innovative field of intelligent rail transport (Smart Rail) at the Annaberg-Buchholz location. At this center, Chemnitz University of Technology, in cooperation with many other partners from science and industry, will carry out research and development work on digitized, networked, automated and sustainable mobility on the one hand and on the promotion of innovations and successful regional change on the other. The SRCC network now includes more than 150 partners, including the two Fraunhofer Institutes in Chemnitz, professorships at Dresden University of Technology, leading companies in the rail industry, and many small and medium-sized enterprises in the Chemnitz-Erzgebirge region. The Smart Rail Connectivity Campus is also a so-called location cluster of the German Center for Future Mobility, which was founded in 2021.

WIR! alliance Smart Composites ERZgebirge focuses on smart composites

The innovative field of the SmartERZ alliance comprises the dynamic growth market of functionally integrated composites known as smart composites. These are textile-reinforced plastics into which functional structures - i.e. sensors, actuators and electronic components - are integrated. In this way, passive textiles combined with plastics become intelligent semi-finished products that are used, for example, in the automotive and aerospace sectors, in medical technology and in the construction industry. As part of SmartERZ, these diverse components are also intended to bring about structural change in the Erzgebirge region and transform this region into a leading high-tech location for novel, functionalized composite materials. A cross-sector network of 197 partners from business, science and society is working to achieve this, led by Wirtschaftsförderung Erzgebirge GmbH as the network coordinator and the Professorship of Lightweight Structures and Polymer Technology (SLK) at Chemnitz University of Technology. The focus on smart composites helps the Erzgebirge region and the concentrated technological expertise of the local companies to achieve supra-regional visibility, which in turn should contribute to larger-volume orders.

Further information on the WIR! alliances: https://www.smart-rail.cc and https://www.smarterz.de

Mario Steinebach

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