Manager needed for Cluster Life Science Nord

12 March 2024
SERIES (5): Cluster for regional and international R&D and innovations

The figures for the Life Science North cluster are looking good with membership numbers rising in the run-up to its 20th anniversary this year. Maike Honold became interim Managing Director on January 1, 2024 after Dr Jürgen Walkenhorst resigned for family reasons. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein's cluster consists of some 600 companies, R&D businesses and institutions in the medtech, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. While the search for a new managing director is ongoing, LSN continues to ensure that synergies lead to more innovation and added value in the regional industrial healthcare sector.

Cluster - mediator between science, business and politics

Honold, 54, has worked at Life Science Nord Management GmbH (LSN) for almost 12 years, and was Director of Finance for four years. In her latest role, she sees herself mainly as a mediator. "Our development as a team over the years makes me proud and happy. We have not allowed ourselves to be diverted from our path even in the face of strong headwinds. That has allowed us to live up to our role as a link, mediator and networker between science, business and politics in medical technology, biotechnology and digital health with unwavering commitment and a great level of expertise."

Key economic figures

The figures are proving her right. The north German life science sector and its 55,000-strong workforce generated gross added value of EUR 5.7 billion in 2021. Employment in the cluster grew on average by 1.2 per cent per annum between 2012 and 2021. Thus, the number of employees in the LSN sector grew by 0.2 per cent per year thereby outpacing the overall economy of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, according to a report entitled: "The Economic Footprint of the Industrial Healthcare Sector in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein". The importance of life sciences is thus increasing. "The cluster region made the biggest leap of all German states and moved from fifth to third place over 2012 in a nationwide comparison," said Julia Carstens, State Secretary in Schleswig-Holstein's Ministry of Economics, Transport, Employment, Technology and Tourism when presenting the report last summer.

Maike Honold, Interim Managing Director of Cluster LSN

Trade fairs and events

International events such as Arab Health, which was held in Dubai in late January 2024, indicate the cluster's importance. "Many stakeholders in the cluster shared the joint north German stand at the world's largest medical technology trade fair. Organized by LSN for years, the exhibition space is fully booked for 2025," said Honold. More than 4,000 global stem cell experts are expected at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) from July 10-13, 2024 in CCH. "That gives LSN a key opportunity to network with leading researchers, companies and interest groups in stem cell research," said Honold, adding: "This international conference is a great showcase for northern Germany as a biotech centre and to show where our cluster stands with corporate giants such as Evotec SE or Eppendorf SE."

Joint north German booth at Arab Health 2024

HALRIC research consortium

The EU has earmarked EUR 11 million in funds for the Hanseatic Life Science Research Infrastructure Consortium (HALRIC) to forge closer links between Germany and southern Scandinavia and to facilitate collborations between universities, hospitals, SMEs and larger biotech and pharmaceutical companies through pilot projects. "The alliance has really taken off. Seven projects are underway and involve north German HALRIC partners including the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB), the University of Hamburg and the European XFEL," said Honold. "We learn a lot from each other about the various partners' life science ecosystems. That goes beyond HALRIC's goals and flows profitably into our day-to-day cluster work."

University of Hamburg among partners in HALRIC

AI as a catalyst of progress

Not surprisingly, artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly impacting developments and innovations in the cluster. "The speed of development is incredible and the possibilities are almost unlimited whether in e.g., medication research, medical image analysis or robot-assisted surgery." AI is a valuable tool for resolving the heated topic of improved patient care versus cost reduction. "AI has the potential to achieve both objectives," Honold said and believes the region is well positioned in this respect. “We have great researchers, companies and start-ups working on AI throughout northern Germany, and politicians in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg are also striving to make our region a beacon of AI and medicine.”


20th anniversary celebrations

Now, LSN is gearing up for its 20th anniversary this year. Honold remarked: "We are looking forward to celebrating this special year with a new managing director and as many cluster stakeholders as possible in the second half of the year."

Read the other parts in our series. 

1) EEHH keeping a close eye on energy transition

2) Aviation becoming environment-friendlier

3) Creatives to sharpen focus on sustainability and creative AI

4) Hamburg future-proofing itself as a logistics centre

Sources and further information

Similar articles

Techhub Hamburg to boost Hamburg as a centre of life sciences

Foundation stone laid for new technology hub in Altona - start-ups to start work in 2024

Bernhard-Nocht-Institute planning digital centre

New "Computational Sciences for Pathogen Research and One Health" centre to advance infection research and tropical medicine

Generative AI revolutionising content creation?

SERIES (7): Use of AI varies from image, audio creation or strategic environment

Tuberculosis remains deadly in 21st century

Research Centre Borstel investigating cause and diagnosing illness in new laboratory
The Consent Management Platform ( we use could not be loaded. This can happen if AdBlockers incorrectly block this URL. Some features such as maps, proximity search or forms, cannot be used this way. To use these features, please deactivate your AdBlocker or allow access to *