Center of technical excellence
Jena boasts several renowned research institutions, including three Max Planck Institutes; the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, the Friedrich Schiller University (est. 1558), the University of Applied Sciences, and three Leibniz Association institutes relating to photonic technology, natural product research, infection biology and the science of aging.
Jena’s more recent emergence as a Mecca for high-tech is no random occurrence. The local economic development agency (Jena Wirtschaft) and the business community have a proactive approach to incubating talent and the infrastructure is in place: there are two technology parks, JenA4 and Jena21.
Playing a key role in the city’s success is OptoNet, a thriving technology cluster that represents the leading photonics players in the region such as Jena-Optronik, pioneers in multi-spectral space cameras and 3D imaging, LASOS, which produces high-precision lasers, and ALS, which develops robotics solutions for healthcare.
The award-winning organization, which has 100 active members, strengthens the sector by promoting international visibility. OptoNet works with partners all over the world to promote cooperation in photonics and to establish transnational R&D projects in the fields of materials, components and systems, optoelectronics and sensor technology. Last year it launched an internationalization project focusing on North America, Japan and South Korea.