Full Speed Ahead

An exciting new ‘Port of Science’ is being built near the university district in the historic trading city of Magdeburg. With overseas investors already taking advantage, it is on course to become one of the largest research clusters in Germany.

December 2019


One of the Port of Science’s main attractions is the 3D Mixed Reality Lab ‘Elbedome’ at the Fraunhofer ­Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF). © Fraunhofer IFF

There’s something big happening in Magdeburg. The capital of the state of Saxony-Anhalt will soon be home to one of the largest research clusters in the country. Spanning an area the size of 46 soccer fields, the proposed ‘Port of Science’ will provide a home for seven research institutes and create over 450 jobs. The regional government is supporting the initiative, also in the context of marketing campaign ‘Center of Excellence – Saxony-Anhalt’, and it is expected to set a new standard. Soon, the diverse and vibrant city and harbor on the river Elbe will serve as a center for innovation and knowledge with space for residential use, services, leisure and tourism.

»We are thrilled at the Port of Science’s extraordinarily successful development into a ‘science city’ in Magdeburg.«

Michael Schenk,

director of the Fraunhofer IFF

The infrastructure of the southern part of the port has already been developed, and a further EUR 150 million will be invested in the initiative over the next few years. Foreign partners are already discovering the potential of the hub: companies such as the Shenyang Sino-German Siasun Education and Technology Group, a spin-off of the Chinese Academy of Science and subsidiary of Siasun Robot & Automation. Founded in 2000, the business has its headquarters in Shenyang in northeast China and produces industrial, mobile and service robots. Siasun has planned an initial investment of EUR 20 million and, in addition to the training center it has acquired in nearby Schönebeck with 40 staff, it will create 20 jobs in the Port of Science.

Siasun needed a central location for its European expansion plans, but the Port was specifically chosen because it is an “outstanding research and training location,” explains Cunyan Fan, CEO of Siasun Education. Siasun’s offices will be near the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF) with its Virtual Development and Training Centre (VDTC). “In close cooperation with GTAI, the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt (IMG), the city of Magdeburg and the Fraunhofer Institute, we have received very good support for our investment project and can continue to rely on this partnership for our future plans,” says Fan.

Siasun has lofty ambitions for the Magdeburg site: work is about to start on a robotic service center for the European market. The Chinese corporation’s presence at the Port is another step in establishing Magdeburg as an international research hub for robotics and artificial intelligence. Fraunhofer is also investing in the site with the construction of a new Center for Cognitive Adaptive Work Systems.