Hamburg becoming even more resilient economic centre

20 December 2022
Latest annual report on Hamburg's clusters published. Upcoming new series

The latest "Annual Report on Hamburg's Clusters" reflects a changed cluster policy with emphasis on synergies for more innovation and value creations. Michael Westhagemann, former Senator for Economics, emphasises the importance of resilience, i.e., the "ability of an economic region to absorb or recover from external or unforeseeable shocks and return to a sustainable growth path" in the foreword. The strategy of smart specialisation is another key factor, as it "means setting regional development priorities where existing knowledge and technologies promise success".

Valuable cross-cluster strategy 

Eight clusters have emerged under this strategy and networking boosts the potential for innovation and occurs mainly at the interface of various disciplines. "That increases a region’s competitiveness and advances technological and social transformation," Westhagemann noted. The hydrogen sector exemplifies successful networking. Hydrogen was added to the existing Renewable Energies cluster rather than setting up a dedicated cluster. Co-operation was then forged with other clusters. "By using the established structures and synergies, we made big strides in 2021. Meanwhile, four clusters and an industry-wide network are co-operating in the field of the hydrogen." This cross-cluster strategy proved worthwhile in other industry fields last year and interdisciplinary teams developed solutions to various challenges in the Cross Innovation Lab. 


Hydrogen molecule

Hamburg as an economic centre 

The clusters, Life Science North, Logistics Initiative, Health Industry, Creative Industries, Renewable Energies, Maritime Cluster Northern Germany, nextMedia.Hamburg and Hamburg Aviation back a multitude of companies and over 750,000 employees across the Hamburg Metropolitan Region with their activities. The first cluster nextMedia.Hamburg, which was initially named Hamburg@work, launched in 1997. The European Commission lauded Hamburg’s cluster policy as one of six European "Model Demonstrator Regions for modern Cluster Policy" in 2014. 

This successful policy is backed by a vibrant scientific landscape of more than 20 universities and colleges, over 50 R&D institutes including those at Fraunhofer and Max Planck institutes, two German Aerospace Centre (DLR) institutes, Hamburg's Centre of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL), the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and the renowned Deutsche Elektronen-Synchroton (DESY). The presence of over 26,000 scientists and more than 110,000 students make Hamburg even more resilient and a GDP of EUR 126.7 billion in 2021 puts it among the top five economic centres, according to the Tier 2 Cities of the Future 2020/21.

Hamburg News will soon publish a series on the state of affairs in the various clusters and developments expected in the New Year.


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