Annual Report

Enabling Innovators to Grow

01 Welcome

Welcome from the Executive Board

A word from the Executive Board
Fit for a sustainable future

A word from the Executive Board
Fit for a sustainable future

In 2023, we focused intensively on climate protection and sustainability in connection with innovation. To ensure that these topics are firmly anchored at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, a dedicated team was set up to drive forward the development and implementation of specific internal measures.

The first important milestone was our participation in the KLIMAfit programme of the Ministry of Environment Baden-Württemberg. The certificate as a KLIMAfit company was awarded to us in Freiburg in November 2023. We don't just want to contribute to greater sustainability and climate protection in our project activities, though, but we also want to set a good example with actions in our own company. In 2024, we will be pursuing the goals of the WIN-Charta and want to become even more committed.

For companies in Baden-Württemberg, we have established the Sustainability Check service in cooperation with the Enterprise Europe Network and the Ministry of Economic Affairs Baden-Württemberg. The "Green Deal - Fit for the Future" website also provides an overview of support and funding programmes and facilitates the participation in events.

“Enabling Innovators to Grow” – European innovations for a sustainable society and responsible industrial change - we fulfil this vision on behalf of our customers and partners. In response to the demand for innovation financing, we offer our clients a team that provides personalised support in the selection of financing instruments and the submission of EU project proposals.

In 2023, together with European partners, we succeeded in acquiring 150 million euros in EU funding for innovation projects for the coming years. 17.5 million euros returned from the EU to Baden-Württemberg in 2023 through our more than 80 ongoing projects to the benefit of our customers and partners.

Find out more about the success stories of our customers in this report and be inspired by great examples!

Thank you for your trust and the good cooperation in new and inspiring projects and innovations that we are realising together.

We look forward to continuing our strong European cooperation in 2024.

Get in touch and tell us about your ideas!

Dr. Petra Püchner

CEO Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

Dr. Jonathan Loeffler

CEO Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

Dr. Jonathan Loeffler and Dr Petra Püchner, Foto: Uli Regenscheit
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02 Figures & Projects 2023

Figures at a glance



Enabling Innovators to Grow

European innovations for a sustainable society and ­ responsible industrial transition

We continued to be committed to this mission statement in 2023 and implemented it through the following services for our clients:

231 clients
were provided with advice on innovation financing
184 clients
were provided with advice on internationalisation and market access
40 organisations
were provided with advice on European innovation policy
150 million € in EU funding for international consortia
were acquired through our involvement in applications for the coming years
17.5 million €
of funds returned from the EU to Baden-Württemberg for us and our clients
48 proposals
were submitted to the European Commission (45% approved)
4.2 million €
in EU funding go to SMEs from Baden-Württemberg
1.3 million €
go to universities of applied sciences in Baden-Württemberg

Our turnover in 2023 is made up of three sources: the largest part - 69% of project funds - comes from funding measures of the European Commission, 19% results from services we provide on behalf of clients, 12% of the funding came from the federal and state ministries.

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At a glance

At a glance

In 2023, we were involved in 84 projects with a total of 815 partners from 49 countries. Most of the funding came from the EU's Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programme.

3 projects are funded by INTERREG programmes. 5 projects received regional funding from the state of Baden-Württemberg. 3 projects received national funding.

84 Projects
49 Countries
815 Partners

In addition to content-related tasks and research support, we take on a variety of tasks and play different roles in our projects.

Find interesting projects - Steinbeis EN (

Learn from clients and their successs stories how they manage technological trends, for example hydrogen mobility, renewable energy, sustainable solutions or artificial intelligence.

Do you have an idea for a research or innovation project?

Contact us or do the idea check on innocheck-bw.

or look for funding programmes in our topics:

Tackling future issues together | Steinbeis - Steinbeis EN (

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03 Success Stories - Shaping a sustainable transformation

Client Journey Baden-Württemberg

Client Journey EIFER
Climate-neutral with hydrogen

Client Journey EIFER
Climate-neutral with hydrogen

Hydrogen is a great chance for a clean future for our mobility. As an emission-free energy carrier, it is very versatile and can be used in transport infrastructure as well as in other industrial applications.

For over ten years, we have been supporting EIFER in Karlsruhe in EU research projects which contribute to climate-neutral mobility and the implementation of the European Green Deal.

Researchers at the European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER) in Karlsruhe are working on new ground-breaking solutions in hydrogen mobility and transport. EIFER and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum together have been working on European research projects since 2010 and have secured around € 25.5 million in EU funding for different consortia in six funded projects. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum has supported the proposal preparations and assisted EIFER with the implementation of the project and the communication, dissemination and exploitation of project results. Together with other European partners, EIFER and Steinbeis are promoting the market entry of hydrogen technologies.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, the Commissioner for Europe Dr. Petra Püchner and EIFER, video production, hydrogen week 2022
€ 25.5 million
for EU-projects with EIFER

Fuel-cell-powered postal vehicles

The successful collaboration began in 2010 when Steinbeis Europa Zentrum introduced EIFER to the EU project MobyPost[1] in the frame of the "Fuel Cells and Hydrogen" Joint Undertaking. As part of the project, ten eco-friendly fuel-cell electric vehicles were built, which were all powered by green hydrogen generated from solar energy.

[1] MobyPost – Mobility with carbon-free hydrogen for postal delivery

Mobypost mail cart © Francis Reinoso

Hydrogen compression solutions - COSMHYC [2] project series

Building on this cooperation, EIFER took on the coordinator role of the COSMHYC series (a series of three EU projects that successfully started in 2017) with the support of Steinbeis Europa Zentrum . This represents over € 8 million of EU funding overall. The technical focus of the project is on the development and demonstration of an innovative compression solution to improve the reliability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the compression step in the hydrogen value chain. The COSMHYC solution is a hybrid concept that combines an optimised mechanical compressor with an innovative metal hydride compressor.

During the first COSMHYC project (2017 - 2020), the consortium of 5 partners successfully developed, built and tested the first prototype of the metal hydride compressor. In the follow-up project COSMHYC XL (2019 - 2023), the same consortium scaled up the innovative solution and adapted it for heavy-duty and high-performance applications.

After the technology was validated in the first two COSMHYC projects, it is now being demonstrated at a public refuelling station in Sorigny, France. To achieve the transition from a research prototype to a market product, the start-up EIFHYTEC was founded. Within the COSMHYC DEMO project, EIFHYTEC is responsible for the production, certification and demonstration of the metal hydride compressor. The new refuelling station with the innovative compressor will be commissioned in 2024. This will be the first commercial application of the innovative COSMHYC solution, which promises to be a breakthrough for reliable and cost-efficient hydrogen infrastructures.

[2] COSMHYC - COmbined hybrid Solution of Multiple HYdrogen Compressors for decentralised energy storage and refuelling stations

The COSMHYC XL metal hydride compressor

Hydrogen as a fuel for shipping

In the H2SHIPS project (2019-2023), EIFER, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum and ten other partners demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen refuelling systems and hydrogen propulsion systems for shipping. In the Netherlands, a hydrogen-port vessel was built and in Belgium a hydrogen refuelling station for ships was constructed. A third case study was dedicated to inland shipping in Paris. H2SHIPS partners analysed the technical feasibility of a hydrogen value chain on the Seine by conducting detailed studies such as the analysis of the legal framework for the use of hydrogen as a fuel and the development of an action plan for future value chain implementation. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum elaborated the conditions for a successful market entry of hydrogen technology together with the international consortium partners. H2SHIPS was granted € 3.47 million in funding from the EU.

"A successful team for almost 15 years!

Even in view of the wide range of research topics, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum provides valuable support in identifying suitable cooperation partners and integrating us into European networks.

The experts at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum have shown in-depth knowledge of the funding landscape, their understanding of complex project requirements and their ability to plan projects effectively. Their advice and active involvement make a decisive contribution to sharpening our ideas and ensuring the success of our projects.

We look forward to future collaboration and the realisation of further successful projects."
Dr. Julian Dailly, EIFER, Coordinator of POSEIDON

Using synthetic methanol

H2SHPS work was continued in the Horizon Europe project POSEIDON[3] (2023-2027) which focuses on the use of synthetic methanol (e-methanol) as a fuel in shipping. Under the leadership of EIFER, the project partners develop technologies such as e-methanol production plants and marine engines to mainstream synthetic methanol as a fuel in EU ports. POSEIDON lasts four years and is funded by the EU with nearly € 10 million.

In both projects, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is supporting EIFER in project management, communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project results. Steinbeis thus makes a contribution to the transformation in the area of mobility.

[3] POSEIDON - Propulsion Of Ships with E-methanol In favour of the Decarbonisation Of Naval transport

Project partners POSEIDON, September 2023
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Digitalisation & Industry 4.0 - Artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry

Success Stories
Digitalisation & Industry 4.0

Success Stories
Digitalisation & Industry 4.0

The digital transformation of industry is in full swing. However, small and medium-sized enterprises face particular challenges. We connect them with competence networks.
As a "Digital Transformation Accelerator" we play a key role in the European cooperation between European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIH) on behalf of the EU. As a partner in the EDIH AICS, we provide access to technical expertise and test labs in Europe and help companies to improve their business and production processes. As part of the project InterOpera, we have advanced the development of the digital twin.

Artificial intelligence in the manufacturing industry

With the EU project AI REGIO, we have created incentives for European SMEs from the manufacturing industry in cooperation with 14 regional digital competence centres (Digital Innovation Hubs). SMEs were able to apply in two calls and secure funding for user projects. A total of 21 projects received funding of between € 60,00 and € 100,000 per project.

Robotextile GmbH, a start-up from Dormettingen, successfully participated in the tender and was awarded 100,000 euros for its application project "AI for sensitive gripping of non-rigid parts and textiles". It was working together with Fraunhofer IPA and Schmalz, the market leader in automation with vacuum and ergonomic handling systems, to develop a solution. The application project focused on previously unproductive tasks in textile production. Automation is necessary to optimise the supply chain, deploy skilled workers in a more value-adding way and comply with the new laws on due diligence in the supply chain.

Copyright Robotextile, Foto Michael Richter
€ 9.2 million
10/2020 – 09/2023
EU-Funding for AI REGIO
"As a young start-up, we only have limited time and sources to apply for possible funding. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum provided us with advice and informed us about the second open call for proposals in the AI REGIO project.

In fact, the call for proposals was a perfect match for our research projects, so we successfully applied to take part. The project is currently being realised and we expect good and usable results. We thank Steinbeis for their helpful and active support."
Michael Fraede, Robotextile GmbH
Our Role in AI REGIO
Communication & Technology Transfer

ARCULUS - Jungheinrich also benefited. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum brought the company into the AI REGIO project as a partner. It took part in the implementation of an application pilot in robotics and predictive analytics.

You are looking for funding for your project? We support you thanks to our project AI REDGIO 5.0.

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Digital interoperability for Industry 4.0

Digital interoperability for Industry 4.0

Within the InterOpera project, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, Fraunhofer IPA and SCI 4.0 have created solutions for a digital, open data space. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum was responsible for project coordination and network building for Industrie 4.0 value networks. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and is in line with the 2030 vision of Industry 4.0. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum was responsible for project coordination as well as network building for Industry 4.0 value networks.

Method consultants have created 28 submodels for the Asset Administration Shell that can be implemented interoperably by companies. Interoperability requires that different systems or devices can communicate and work together, regardless of their manufacturer or underlying technology.

In collaboration with the Industrial Digital Twin Organisation (IDTA), a targeted exploitation and a standardisation process was developed for Germany. The results are available to companies in all sectors worldwide and an international standardisation is now possible.

InterOpera has enabled academia, large companies and SMEs to collaborate closely. Over 100 institutions, including around 35% SMEs, have supported the project with their expertise and advanced the asset administration shell as the basic structure for an interoperable data network.

"InterOpera makes an important contribution to industry by eliminating barriers and system breaks caused by data exchange between different instances. It enables seamless networking across different sectors of the value chain and facilitates collaboration between different systems in production and the supply chain."
Dr. Philipp Liedl, Steinbeis-Beratungszentrum Technologische Transformation
€ 4.4 million
03/2021 - 08/2023
Funding for InterOpera
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Hochschule Pforzheim - Circular economy for rare earth permanent magnets

Success Stories
Circular Economy

Success Stories
Circular Economy

Resource scarcity and climate change require a transformation towards a carbon-neutral, ecologically sustainable and pollution-free circular economy. To achieve this, companies need to consider all phases of the value chain, from design to production to the consumer.

Two of our projects show how we contribute to the recycling of rare earths and the utilisation of sewage sludge as a raw material in the sense of the circular economy.

A Circular Economy for Rare Earth Permanent Magnets

Permanent magnets based on rare earths (RE) are critical components in many technological products, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. To date, only a fraction of EU demand is also covered by EU production and the supply is at risk. Recycling can be part of the solution and alleviate supply pressure, as the EU project SUSMAGPRO shows. Other follow-up projects we are implementing together with Prof. Dr. Carlo Burkhardt from Pforzheim University are pursuing complementary approaches to reduce dependence on imports and make the magnet value chain more sustainable and resilient.

In SUSMAGPRO, 18 European project partners along the entire value chain have developed solutions on a pilot scale to identify rare earth magnets more easily, separate them from waste and recycle them in a short-loop process. New materials and magnets have been produced in sustainable processes, which were subsequently tested in two demonstrator applications with manufacturers in 2023: loudspeakers and electric motors.

Based on the successful project results the HyProMag GmbH was founded in 2021. The start-up is responsible for setting up a production facility for recycled rare earths as a secondary, high-quality material for magnet production for high-tech applications.

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€ 13 million
06/2019 – 11/2023
EU-Funding for SUSMAGPRO
"Our colleagues at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum are strong partners for us in terms of communication, exploitation and project management.

They enable us to focus on research and development work and also make an excellent contribution to the development of commercialisation strategies for the new technologies and pilot plants."
Prof. Dr. Carlo Burkhardt, Institute for Precious and Technology Metals, Pforzheim University
Project & Knowledge management, Technology Transfer, Communication

Follow-up projects

To further advance the circular economy, we are supporting the development of a resilient supply chain for rare earth magnets as a partner in the follow-up project REEsilience.

The success story continues with two further research projects that were approved by the EU in 2023. With support from Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, HARMONY project partners will establish a recycling loop for permanent magnets on a pilot scale in Europe. In the GREENE project, partners are conducting pioneering magnet research using innovative methods to re-design the magnet microstructure in such a way that rare earth content can be reduced.

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University of Stuttgart- Circular economy through the recovery of sewage sludge

Circular economy through the recovery of sewage sludge

Elemental white phosphorus (P4) is essential for key industries such as electronics, food and pharmaceuticals. Despite sufficient phosphorus reserves in European sewage sludge, the EU is largely dependent on imports. In the EU project FlashPhos, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is supporting the University of Stuttgart and 15 other partners in the recovery of high-quality white phosphorus and other valuable raw materials from sewage sludge. In doing so, they are contributing to the establishment of a circular economy in Europe.

The project was awarded the "Global Slag Technical Innovation" prize in 2023 for its innovative approach. In 2025, the FlashPhos process will be demonstrated in a pilot plant with a sewage sludge throughput of up to 250 kg/h in Leoben, Austria. Subsequently, production on an industrial scale is planned.

€ 12 million
05/2021 – 04/2025
EU-Funding for FlashPhos
“FlashPhos is the first and only technology in Europe that produces white phosphorus for the chemical industry from secondary raw materials and at the same time offers a solution for the problematic disposal of sewage sludge.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum helps us to develop an effective communication strategy and to successfully disseminate and exploit the project results. In addition, it provides valuable support in administrative and financial project management.”
Matthias Rapf, University of Stuttgart, Coordinator of FlashPhos
Our Role in FlashPhos
Project & Knowledge management, Technology Transfer, Communication
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Business models for nature-based solutions

Success Stories
Nature based solutions

Success Stories
Nature based solutions

Inspired by nature, nature-based solutions are ecological, social and economic. They help to strengthen resilience, increase biodiversity and protect the climate. Examples include green roofs and facades, urban agriculture, the protection and restoration of forests, moors and soils or the renaturalisation of floodplains.

As a project partner, we are primarily supporting the market development of these solutions in three projects.

Business models for nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions have been the focus of the project NetworkNature. As a project partner Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supported SMEs and the development of new business models. In 2023 we have published a business information package for companies on nature-based solutions. The brochure introduces the different concepts of nature-based solutions and companies, presents business models and two examples of successful companies. Finally, there are recommendations and tips on financing options, networks, policy and legislation.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum and project partners have been continuing their efforts since August 2023 with the follow-up project NetworkNature+. The aim is to accelerate the implementation of nature-based solutions in science, business, politics and practice through up-scaling measures. Among other things, they will develop an interactive "map" of the nature-based solutions project landscape that provides an overview of topics, results and interrelationships.

€ 2.2 million
06/2020 – 07/2023
EU-Funding for NetworkNature
€ 5.2 million
08/2023 – 07/2027
EU-Funding for NetworkNature+
Our Role in NetworkNature
Exploiation, Technology Transfer & Market Access
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Nature based solutions - Boosting the market for nature-based solutions

Boosting the market for nature-based solutions

Despite the many advantages of nature-based solutions, a systematic understanding is still lacking. For example, there is no standard method for calculating the economic and financial benefits of nature-based solutions. With the EU project Invest4Nature, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum and 14 other partners are contributing to an improved database and the development of a market for nature-based solutions.

As communication experts, we are responsible for publicising the positive effects and benefits of nature-based solutions to a broad public. As innovation managers and moderators, we contribute to the development of business models and prepare the subsequent market launch. As administrative and financial coordinator, we support the operational processes of the project. We monitor the overall project budget and support the partners in managing their own costs through regular updates, financial trainings and, if necessary, one-on-one meetings.

A collaborative workspace has been available to all interested parties since the beginning of 2024. The portal is the result of intensive literature research and analysis. Based on the experiences of five Living Labs in Norway, Denmark, Poland, Austria and Portugal, the project develops a system to better quantify the effects of nature-based solutions. We discuss the costs of nature-based solutions in different cities and researched the latest advances in evaluation methods. This will facilitate the development of business models and is an important indicator for financial actors such as investors and insurance companies.

"Coordinating this Horizon Europe project with excellent partners and Living Labs is a great opportunity to document a better understanding of the economic performance of nature-based Solutions.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is an important partner for us, not only supporting the coordination team with a lot of experience and expertise in financial and administrative management, but also ensuring a successful and sustainable dissemination and exploitation of the results."
Ingrid Kaltenegger, Joanneum Research, Coordinator of Invest4Nature
€ 4.9 million
07/2022 - 08/2026
Funding for Invest4Nature
Natural playground in preschool in Poznan, Poland, Foto: P. Bedlinski, City of Poznan
Our Role in Invest4Nature
Project Management, Communication, Exploitation & Technology Transfer
Hasselager Wildforest in Aarhus, Denmark, Foto: Peter Søgaard, Aarhus Municipality
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Sustainable transport - Hydrogen for shipping transport

Success Stories
Sustainable transport

Success Stories
Sustainable transport

Transport is responsible for around a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Sustainable and green mobility is therefore a priority on the road to climate neutrality.

As a project partner for innovation and communication, we shape European research and innovation projects and bring new solutions and technologies to the market, for example, in the field of shipping and lightweight construction for electromobility.

Hydrogen for shipping transport

With the Interreg North-West-Europe project H2SHIPS, the technical and economic feasibility of hydrogen refuelling systems and hydrogen powered ships was demonstrated. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supported the coordinator EIFER in project management and was responsible for the communication, dissemination and exploitation of the project results. The project laid the foundation for a successful market entry of hydrogen technologies in shipping.

In the Netherlands a hydrogen-powered port vessel, the Neo Orbis, is being built. The real boat is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of 2024. A hydrogen refuelling station for crew transfer ships has been built in the port of Ostend. The station has a unique dispensing system that can absorb any movement to ensure safe refuelling even in the events of high waves and strong winds. Another project result is the action plan for the implementation of H2SHIPS solutions on the Seine in Paris.


Neo Orbis, Copyright: Port of Amsterdam
"Thanks to the collaboration of EU partners in H2Ships, we were able to drive forward decarbonisation in shipping and prepare the market launch of hydrogen-based solutions for waterborne transport.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum made the project results available to the professional community as well as a wider audience and organised our events with great enthusiasm."
Christian-Frédéric Berthon, project manager at EIFER and coordinator of H2SHIPS
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€ 3.4 million
01/2019 – 07/2023
EU-Funding for H2SHIPS
Our Role in H2SHIPS
Project Management, Communication, Technology Transfer & Market Access
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Sustainable lightweight components for electric vehicles

Sustainable lightweight components for electric vehicles

As partner in the LEVIS project, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is responsible for communication, and dissemination activities and supports the consortium in the exploitation of project results. With a total of 13 partners from seven countries, we are pioneering sustainable lightweight components for electric vehicles (EVs); suspension control arm, battery box, and cross car beam.

Through innovative multi-material solutions, encompassing thermoplastic composites and metals, manufactured with cost-effective and scalable production technologies, LEVIS prioritizes weight reduction without compromising mechanical integrity. By incorporating recyclable resins and biologically produced/recycled carbon fibres, LEVIS ensures environmental sustainability throughout the manufacturing process. Already, prototypes have demonstrated significant weight reductions ranging roughly from 20% to 40%, underscoring the project's efficacy.

As the project enters its final phase, emphasis is placed on validating demonstrators and finalizing comprehensive Life Cycle Analysis, cost assessments, and feasibility studies. The project’s groundbreaking innovations offer promising solutions for enhancing electric vehicle efficiency and reducing environmental impact, positioning LEVIS as a frontrunner in sustainable automotive technology.

€ 4.9 million
02/2021 – 01/2024
EU-Funding for LEVIS
Our Role in LEVIS
Exploitation & Technology Transfer
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Health - Nanopore technology for diagnostics

Success Stories

Success Stories

For both the European Union and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, healthcare is one of the major global challenges that society is facing. As a partner in international research and innovation projects (LongCOVID) and clusters (Zukunftscluster nanodiagBW), Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is contributing to improve healthcare for citizens.

nanodiag BW
Nanopore technology for diagnostics

The nanodiag BW future cluster, a multidisciplinary innovation network with 26 partners, began its work in April 2023. The cluster is being funded by the BMBF's Clusters4Future initiative with € 15 million for the first of three implementation phases. Under the leadership of Hahn-Schickard and the University of Freiburg, epigenetic factors influencing diseases are to be determined more easily, quickly and reliably with the help of nanopore technology.

As an innovation partner, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is coordinating the joint cluster, research and development strategy. This includes the positioning of the cluster through analyses of related markets and competitors as well as strategic foresight and the expansion of the value creation network.

With the successful kick-off event in the summer, a very good foundation for the cluster has been achieved. The World Café initiated by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum ensured a lively exchange on open innovation culture. Also, in a panel discussion moderated by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, the partners received insights and suggestions on technology transfer and spin-offs. By addressing these issues at an early stage, we aim to ensure a sustainable build-up of expertise and resources in the cluster and to promote the innovative capacity of the cluster players in the long term.

The stakeholders of the nanodiag BW future cluster at the kick-off event in Freiburg.
€ 45 million
04/2023 - 03/2032
Funding for nanodiag BW
@W. Sperl
“Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is responsible for promoting innovation in the BMBF Future Cluster. The collaboration with team and Alena Bubeck is very rewarding and I appreciate the proactive, competent and determined approach to research, the tailored contributions to knowledge transfer and the extremely successful moderation of cluster events."
Apl. Prof. Dr. Felix von Stetten, Cluster speaker nanodiag BW
Our Role in nanodiag BW
Exploitation & Technology Transfer, Building strategic partnerships
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Health - Mechanisms behind the long-term effects of COVID-19

Mechanisms behind the long-term effects of COVID-19

Within the EU research project Long COVID, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports 12 international partners to identify the underlying mechanisms that lead to the development of the Long COVID Syndrome (LCS).

As partner in communication and dissemination of project results, we have increased the media presence and visibility of the project and established contacts with other European projects focusing on (long) COVID. Beyond these efforts, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum ensures a sustainable and efficient use of the project results through a tailored exploitation stategy.

Led by Helsinki University Hospital, Long COVID combines expertise from clinical medicine, virology, metabolism and immunology. One of the main objectives is to develop a tool for clinics to support long-term prognoses by using artificial intelligence to improve the treatment of LCS patients. In the first year an important milestone was the creation of a central, open-access portal for the collection of data, which contributes to research on LCS and brings together various research sources. In addition, initial discoveries about the main mechanism of neuronal infection have been identified and further been deepened through a collaboration with the University of Queensland in Australia.

Project partner meeting LongCovid
€ 6.5 million
06/2022 – 05/2026
EU-Funding for LongCovid
Our Role in LongCovid
Communication, Exploitation & Market Access
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04 Services and    References

Sharpening innovation management - Innovation for welding systems

Innovation management

Innovation management

Innovation management and technology foresight are essential for European innovation and research projects. We take on this role as a project partner in EU projects and thus contribute to their success.

As an expert, moderator and catalyst for innovation management, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports the project consortia in securing intellectual property and enables the exploitation and dissemination of research results.

Success Story
Innovation for welding systems

In the project RECLAIM, Harms & Wende, in collaboration with 21 partners from 9 countries, developed an "Intelligent Health Management Toolkit" consisting of sensors and software that monitor the performance of their welding equipment. The toolkit enables efficient equipment utilization through actual analysis and forecasts, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction by providing rapid and targeted responses to customer problems, as well as advice on plant optimization.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum played a significant role in Harms & Wende's successful project conception phase. By providing support during the application process, we enabled a smooth start. Together with the project partners, project results and derived innovations were systematically identified and precisely described. In particular, we clarified the definition of exploitation intentions and associated ownership and property rights together with the partners.

In collaboration with the consortium, we narrowed down the most promising project results and provided targeted support (e.g. preparation of a business plan) to help achieve market entry with sustainable success. In this way, we served as a reliable partner to the coordinator Harms & Wende for the entire duration of the project.

Michael Peschl, Harms & Wende and Melanie Gralow, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
€ 13 million
10/2019 – 09/2023
EU-Funding for RECLAIM
“With RECLAIM, we have not only succeeded in upgrading our existing friction welding systems to the latest state of the art, but we have also managed to develop an entirely new generation of friction welding machines that are more than capable of meeting the future demands of the Industrial Internet of Things.

Thanks to the excellent support provided by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, we have achieved groundbreaking results in this project. As a partner, Steinbeis was paving the way not only in the application process, but also in the development of solutions and innovations on the way to a successful market entry."
Michael Peschl, Harms & Wende
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Women committed to renewable energy

Success Story
Women committed to renewable energy

Women can drive, in particular, the energy transition forward and make faster progress in achieving the EU's 2050 climate and energy targets if they play a greater role in the market. This was the angle for the EU project "Women for Market Uptake of Renewable Energy Sources" (W4RES), in which Steinbeis Europa Zentrum was involved as a partner. The project has supported female entrepreneurs, researchers and climate protection managers in the cooling and heating sector in eight countries.

As a project partner for innovation management, business strategy and market access, we contributed to our mission "Enabling Innovators to Grow" by empowering women in leadership positions. Together with 11 partners we implemented and evaluated targeted support actions from 2021 to 2023. 56 women received practical support on market introduction, including a selection of over 70 individual support services.

Project partners of W4RES
€ 2.9 million
11/2020 - 10/2023
EU-Funding for W4RES

One outstanding example is the start-up H2mc Heating, which was supported by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum. Thanks to the W4RES platform, Carina Holzapfel had the opportunity to present her start-up at various events, such as the final conference of W4RES in Brussels, the Economic Summit Baden-Württemberg in Brussels and the hy-fcell - International Expo and Conference at Messe Stuttgart. This has enabled her to expand strategic partnerships in the field of hydrogen internationally, for example, with the "Women in Green Hydrogen" network.

Dr. Marie-Eve Reinert, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum moderates discussion at f-Cell, 2023
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Your path to EU-Funding

Your Path to EU-funding

Your Path to EU-funding

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is the number one company for EU projects in Germany with 150 project participations in the framework programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. Our success rate in EU applications is three times higher than average.

Thanks to our outstanding expertise in EU applications and project implementation we can help you identify the right funding for your innovation project, search for partners, and guide you through the application process and project management.

231 clients were advised on innovation financing in 2023. These included 156 companies (of which 136 were SMEs), 42 universities and research institutions (of which 26 were universities of applied sciences and cooperative universities), 8 cluster initiatives and 25 public authorities.

150 million €
For international consortia
4.2 million €
for SMEs
in Baden-Württemberg
1.3 million €
for Universities of applied Sciences
in Baden-Württemberg

48 project proposals were submitted to the European Commission with our help. 20 proposals have been approved by the EC to date. Our success rate is currently 40%, three times higher than the statistical average.

27 EU-projects started with us as partner in 2023.

€ 150 million of EU funding budget for international consortia for the coming years were acquired through our involvement in applications. These funds will go to international and Baden-Württemberg companies, research institutions, and other organisations.

€ 4.2 million of EU funding will go to SMEs from Baden-Württemberg. € 1.3 million of EU funding will go to universities of applied sciences in Baden-Württemberg.

17.5 million €
return flow
to Baden-Württemberg
60 million €
return flow
in the last 5 years

2 universities of applied sciences from Baden-Württemberg have been supported successfully in the project application and during project implementation, among them the universities of applied sciences in Pforzheim and Aalen (projects GREENE and HARMONY).

„As an internationally active pharmaceutical company, interdisciplinary networking with leading scientists is very important to us. Our vision to develop a standardized and comprehensive screening of diabetes patients for chronic complications is central to providing patients with preventive and appropriate care.

We would like to thank Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, which supported our project idea and turned it into a tailored EU application. This was an extraordinary help. Steinbeis brought together the expertise of the consortium partners with ease and facilitated a successful submission to the EU.“
Dr. Claudia Reule, Head of Global Clinical Research, Wörwag Pharma GmbH & Co.KG
“Our start-up offers an innovative software for the certification of hydrogen and e-fuels that complies with EU directives and is particularly interesting for energy-intensive industries. Accessing R&D funding through international partnerships is crucial for us.

Collaborating with Steinbeis Europa Zentrum proved invaluable in navigating the complexities of the Eurostars grant. Steinbeis's insights into the grant's requirements and knowledge of the EU funding landscape enabled us to present a compelling, compliant application in the right tone.”
Flore de Durfort, CEO & Co-Founder of Atmen
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International markets - Enterprise Europe Network

International Markets

International Markets

On their way to international markets, we support our customers in the development of internationalisation strategies and identify suitable markets and cooperation partners.

In 2023, the cooperation with the African continent was our main focus. As a partner in the Enterprise Europe Network we support bilateral cooperations and offer brokerage events and company missions.

Enterprise Europe Network services:

184 clients were advised on internationalisation and market access. These included 134 companies (119 of which were SMEs) and 21 universities and research institutions (13 of which were universities of applied sciences), 8 cluster initiatives and 21 other organisations such as public authorities in politics, administration as well as economic development

54 clients, mainly SMEs have been supported in 2022 with tailor-made services for innovation and internationalisation to support development and growth within the Enterprise Europe Network. In doing so, we take into account the challenges and opportunities of the Single Market, the introduction of sustainable business activities, and the development of strategic cooperation partnerships.

Enterprise Europe Network meets in Kiel, June 2023
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International markets - Strengthening European-African cooperation

Success Story
Strengthening European-African cooperation

As coordinator of ENRICH in Africa, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum brought together representatives of African and European innovation ecosystems and built a network of incubators and accelerators offering services based on the principle ‘by the community, for the community’. A milestone was the launch of the ENRICH in Africa Centre in Cape Town.

As part of the project, 163 start-ups were supported through accelerator services. 25 start-ups took part in soft landing programmes and in doing so strengthened their internationalisation.

Since 2020, 45 African start-ups have been presented to the best 35 African investors on the continent and were able to pitch to more than 150 international investors from Europe, Africa, North America, the Middle East and Asia. There were 250 investor enquiries for start-ups. Five companies were able to secure up to 7.5 million US dollars.

500 members
in the online community
including start-ups, investors, incubators and accelerators
59 Partners
in over 38 countries
in Africa and Europe

Project SEADE continues the activities

With the conclusion of the project in June 2024, the activities are far from being over. A new EU project, SEADE, coordinated by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, started in January 2024 and continues the activities. SEADE extends the network to the research sector and will focus on two key areas: digital transformation and international cooperation.

€ 3.6 million
01/2021 - 06/2024
€ 2.3 million
01/2024 - 12/2025
EU funding for SEADE
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International markets - Bridging digital innovation between Africa and Europe

Success Story
Bridging Digital Innovation Between Africa and Europe

In the AEDIB|NET project, we are working together with African and European partners to promote digitalisation and innovation. AEDIB|NET is part of the larger political initiative "AEDIB," launched by EU Member States (France, Belgium, and Germany) and the European Commission with the goal of strengthening digital cooperation within the EU's Digital 4 Development (D4D) process.

With the establishment of 12 new African Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) in 9 countries and the development of an Academy for Digital Entrepreneurial Skills, we have already made significant progress. 100 digital entrepreneurs have been trained in transcontinental programs. We have reached over 160 policy makers and innovators with our policy reform framework and associated training materials.

In addition, we have created connections between European and African digital innovation hubs, diaspora actors and technology start-ups and brought them together at events on both continents.

Jan Ertmann, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, moderates discussion at AEDIB|NET Final Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, Oct. 2023
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€ 4.9 million
EU-funding for AEDIB NET
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Regional and social transformation - Innovative approaches supporting social entrepreneurship

Regional & social Transformation

Regional & social Transformation

In the European regions, we support the development of the required ecosystems, e.g. in the area of social innovation or sustainability. For this purpose, we create strategic European links to mutually strengthen the regions and enable the use of EU funding.

In 2023, we focused on developing the ecosystem for social innovation. Our activities in the Danube region also continued successfully and we were able to gain three new partners.

Success Story
Innovative approaches supporting social entrepreneurship

With the EU project POSITIVE, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is taking a new approach to transferring innovative methods to social enterprises and linking technological and social innovations. The project connects six partner organizations from Germany, Italy and Lithuania, each consisting of a “social” and a “technological” partner. We are working in tandem with Grünhof e.V. from Baden-Württemberg as a representative of the social ecosystem.

2023 focused on the further development of the ecosystem and knowledge transfer. Under the leadership of Grünhof e.V., a training concept on the ecosystem of social innovation has been designed and adapted to the conditions in Italy and Lithuania. 13 committed and motivated participants took part in the three-part training course with two online and one in-person session in Baden-Württemberg. Under the leadership of Grünhof e.V. the social partners developed the POSITIVE Social Innovation Toolkit aiming at empowering facilitators and individuals.

Together with the project partners, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum developed an impact challenge event that will be held in all three countries in 2024. Motivated teams of students and one mentor use an open innovation method to develop new ideas and prototypes for improving digital products and services in a three-day design sprint. In addition to creative solutions for a user experience design, the social organizations receive initial feedback on the usability and feasibility of their ideas.

POSITIVE project meeting, Trento 2023
Project partners POSITIVE
€ 5,000,000
02/2023 – 11/2024
EU-funding for POSITIVE
“Social innovations are playing an increasingly important role in solving the pressing challenges of our time. However, they do not work in isolation. Reliable partnerships that combine different areas of expertise are the key to success.

With Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, we have found the perfect partner for the POSITIVE project. Their extensive experience and professional implementation of EU projects perfectly complement Grünhof's explorative and practical approach.

It's a match!“
Florian Boukal, Managing Board Member Grünhof e.V.
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Strengthening regional transformation in the Danube region

Success Story
Strengthening regional transformation in the Danube region

The Danube Transfer Centres (DTC) Network, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022, serves as a long-standing and sustainable platform for accelerating innovation and technology transfer activities and promoting strategic partnerships between the actors of the innovation ecosystem in the Danube region. In recognition of this commitment, the DTC Network has been officially awarded the title of “Danube Strategy Flagship” at the 12th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. This certificate recognises initiatives that contribute significantly to the implementation of the EUSDR. Over 40 participants from 7 countries in the Danube region joined us in celebrating this award.

At the Annual Forum, we celebrated our partnerships and welcomed three new partners: the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, the School of Advanced Social Studies, from Slovenia, and the Transylvanian Furniture Cluster from Romania. The Network hence expands to 34 DTC Hubs with 15 DTC Entry Points in 10 Danube regions.

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum receives Danube Flagship Certificate
34 Hub
15 Entry Points
10 Countries
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New projects

Our partners in the Danube region also benefit from tailored trainings that help them to successfully apply for EU funding and thus offer real added value. In spring 2023, we conducted a joint training course for 20 participants from the School of Advanced Social Studies (SASS), Faculty of Informational Studies (FIS) and Rudolfovo, a science and technology centre from Slovenia.


This initiative resulted directly in the successful approval of two projects: the “Culinary Trail” project on the one hand, co-funded by the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme (DTP) and coordinated by SASS and the “Twin Synergies” project, funded by Horizon Europe and coordinated by FIS on the other. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum plays a key role in both projects by focusing on building expertise, connecting relevant stakeholders and proactively supporting project implementation.

“The Danube Region is important for SASS and over the years we have implemented a number of EU funded projects in the region. We are committed to continue with this focus and seek to play a meaningful role in advancing knowledge and fostering collaboration within innovation and technology transfer.

In this process, our collaboration with Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, which evolved over a number of years, was highly important for us. The networking, the sharing of competencies and experiences, the exchange of ideas and the implementation of joint proposals contributed to our growth.”
Prof. Dr. Borut Rončević, Dean of the School of Advanced Social Studies, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
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Shaping innovation policy

Shaping innovation policy

Shaping innovation policy

EU innovation policy as a key factor for successful companies in Baden-Württemberg

The Commissioner for Europe of the Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism of Baden-Württemberg and her team continued to be active at various levels in 2023. The aim is to create innovation-friendly framework conditions and to shape policy measures in the area of European innovation policy in a way that enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, as well as ‘Mittelstand’ in Baden-Württemberg, to create and utilise the greatest possible innovation capacities.

In light of high energy prices, strained supply and value chains and the resulting difficult economic situation, the role of innovation is becoming more important - ensuring businesses can continue to operate sustainably and successfully. This particularly affects SMEs, as innovation and strength are not a question of size, but of ideas and creative potential, increasingly important with lower financial capacities than larger companies.

Dr. Petra Püchner speaking at Open Innovation Congress 2023, Foto: Uli Regenscheit
were advised on European innovation framework conditions
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Innovation policy - The role of the Commissioner for Europe

The role of the Commissioner for Europe

The Commissioner for Europe, Dr. Petra Püchner, uses the exchange and discourse with EU Commission representatives in the field of innovation, digitalization and entrepreneurship as well as with Members of the European Parliament and representatives from the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and ministries to point out the challenges faced especially by SMEs and start-ups and to find suitable solutions.

In 2023, a strong focus was placed on the three areas of artificial intelligence (AI), sustainable supply and value chains in the raw materials sector, and innovation finance.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

The AI Act, which was politically agreed at the end of 2023, is an attempt to regulate AI for the benefit of the EU, but at the same time create enough incentives so that Europe can also act innovatively and future-oriented in the field of AI.

The Commissioner for Europe and her team were able to identify support, particularly in the area of ‘regulatory sandboxes'[1], to ensure that SMEs receive help through so-called living labs, but also the opportunity for designated authorities to re-evaluate new AI applications accordingly and thus abandon unnecessary regulations. Within the framework of regulatory sandboxes, innovation can be promoted thanks to testing and experimentation opportunities for economic actors.Approximately, 20 AI start-ups from Baden-Württemberg received concrete offers and support for EU funding as well as assistance in identifying partners for collaborations with other European regions.

[1] New Commission Staff Working Document sheds light on experimentation spaces for regulatory learning - European Commission (


Sebastian Große-Puppendahl, Senior Policy Officer to the Commissioner for Europe, presented the EU Act AI at Basque Open Innovation Industry
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Innovation policy - Sustainable supply and value chains in the area of raw materials

Sustainable supply and value chains in the area of raw materials

Sustainable and reliable sourcing of raw materials is a decisive factor for the economy, including for new companies in Baden-Württemberg actively engaged in recycling or the extraction of rare earth materials. By means of a regular exchange with the relevant European Commission representativesthe Commissioner for Europe and her team enable access for Baden-Württemberg companies to policymakers and retrieving and making available further information from the EU institutions.

EU funding measures in the area of innovation financing

Cooperation between regions plays an important role in achieving the objectives of the European cohesion and regional policies. They are the basis for bringing together innovative forces and promoting and developing innovation potential. In this context, it is particularly important to define framework conditions in a way that help regions to be more interconnected and coordinated , thus creating interregional ecosystems for the benefit of innovation and the regional economies. An important component is the financial support of such interregional innovation projects through the EU, such as the I3 instrument, but also through European networks such as the Vanguard Initiative, including in the field of AI with the pilot 'Artificial Intelligence'.

Dr. Petra Püchner signs agreement on new financing instrument "VInnovate"

The Commissioner for Europe and her team were active both strategically and operationally in 1) initiating partnerships for joint interregional project implementation, 2) providing information for companies in Baden-Württemberg on concrete opportunities for EU project funding, and 3) facilitating talks with representatives of the European Commission for companies to discuss current issues and framework conditions.


Vanguard Initiative

Through the Vanguard Initiative, the Commissioner for Europe and her team were also able to directly discuss important concerns by companies with EU representatives.  Above all, this included the demand that start-ups and SMEs at regional level should be granted easier access to IPCEI (important projects of common European interest) or corresponding framework conditions for financing by the regions. The aim is to enable as many SMEs from Baden-Württemberg as possible to benefit from interregional innovation funding.

In total, more than 40 organisations, were having regular exchanges with the team of the Commissioner for Europe and were successfully referred to our experts for EU proposals in the specific topics.

16 Vanguard regions signed a letter of intent to launch "VInnovate", a new funding instrument at regional level on 15 December 2023
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Event management

Event management

Event management

We help you to network at events.
Our strengths include holistic event organisation, information transfer and communication management. In 2023 the core of our work was based on hybrid, virtual and physical event formats. Four highlights show how we shape international congresses, company missions and brokerage events.

Contact us for organising your next congress!

March 2023
Open Innovation Congress Baden-Württemberg 2023

The Open Innovation Congress 2023 was hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg supported by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, with the motto: “The FUTURE is NOW”. It was Germany’s largest publicly funded open innovation event.

We were responsible for the concept, programme and implementation of the congress. This included speaker and participant management and a communication campaign.

A total of 700 participants attended the event in person at Haus der Wirtschaft Stuttgart. Beyond that, many others were able to follow the congress via the livestream on the event platform and the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism.

Minister of Economic Affairs Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut at the opening of Open Innovation Kongress 2023, Foto: Uli Regenscheit

June 2023
Congress Clean energy for EU islands forum 2023 in Saaremaa, Estland

On behalf of the European Commission Steinbeis Europa Zentrum takes the lead in communication within the secretariat for Clean energy for EU islands and as part of this role organized the Clean energy for EU islands forum 2023 on 7 -8 June on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. At the event location ‘Thule Koda’ all participants got together on the two event days to discuss the transition of European islands to 100% renewable power sources.

The plenum and selected workshops could be followed via livestream. Within the 6 workshops the participants talked about several important technical topics and discussed finance and sustainability. The main topic of the keynotes and panel discussions was the question of why it is so important for islands to transition to 100% renewable energy.

Clean energy for EU islands forum 2023 in Saaremaa, Estland
Participants On-Site and Online

October 2023
4 Motors for Europe – Incoming Mission Baden-Württemberg

From the 25 to the 27 of October 2023, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum conducted the Incoming Mission 4 Motors for Europe on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism of Baden-Württemberg. In the context of the presidency of Baden-Württemberg, the Ministry of Economic Affairs invited the network to Baden-Württemberg. The focus was on the topic of ‘Artificial intelligence in Industrial Application.’

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum coordinated and accompanied the Incoming Mission and was responsible for logistics. This included selecting event venues, services providers in the areas of technology, catering, translation and logistics as well as providing support throughout.

  • 50 participants
Conference 4 Motors for Europe (Baden-Württemberg, Lombardy, Catalonia and Region Rhone-Alpes), Foto: Leif Piechowski/LICHTGUT

November 2023
Smart Cities Marketplace @ Smart City Expo World Congress 2023, Barcelona

Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is the leading partner for communication and event management of the Smart Cities Marketplace initiative. In November 2023 we organised the booth for the European Commission initiatives at the Smart Cities Expo in Barcelona.

Over 30 initiatives and projects of the EC about climate-neutral and Smart Cities, contributed to the joint trade fair presentation. That year’s booth of the EC representation served as a platform for urban, inclusive initiatives, smart city projects and directorates-general at the congress showing the full range of support and assistance opportunities offered by the European Commission in the urban environment.

  • 273 sessions
  • 31 partners at the trade fair appearance of the Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities
Smart Cities Marketplace @ Smart City Expo World Congress 2023, Barcelone
at the congress
“Cities play a pioneering role because as the strongest force, they can accelerate the energy transition. This means concretely: accelerating the deployment of renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency as well as improvements in mobility, digital infrastructure, air quality, water supply, circular economy and waste management.”
Georg Houben, European Commission, GD ENERGY
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Training people

Training people

Training people

Based on our many years of experience in proposal writing, coordination, and project partnerships we have built a set of trainings that can ensure your success in proposal writing and project management.

In addition to various one- to two-day trainings for companies, universities, and research institutions, we offer a three-day certificate course on the application process for research funding. Our trainings can be booked as physical or digital events. On request, we also offer all courses as in-house solutions.

Two trainings for participants from Baden-Württemberg were conducted in 2023. In the last five years, a total of 18 trainings for 96 participants were organised.

Two inhouse trainings in companies for 20 participants were conducted. In 2021, the trainings were completely rebuilt and adapted to be delivered online.

22 trainings
with 145 participants
2019 -2023
“The interactive trainings of Steinbeis Europa Zentrum form a sound basis for my own work on proposals and in projects. The concrete examples from practice as well as the expertise of the trainers helped me a lot to get a better feel for the sometimes-complex expectations of the EC.“
Christian Engelhardt, Interplast Kunststoffe GmbH/Infinex Group

Danube Region

For our partners in the Danube region, we held a joint training course in spring 2023 for 20 participants from the School of Advanced Social Studies (SASS), the Faculty of Information Studies (FIS) and Rudolfovo, Science and Technology Centre, from Slovenia. It covered customised information to enable our partners to successfully apply for EU funding.

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