FUBIC will fill a gap: In conversation with Jörg Israel, Manager of the new Business Incubator in the Southwest of Berlin

07. September 2016

FUBIC will fill a gap

In conversation with Jörg Israel, Manager of the new Business Incubator in the Southwest of Berlin

The technology and start-up scene in Berlin’s Southwest requires pioneering spirit. Jörg Israel is the manager of the FUBIC (“Business and Innovation Center next to Freie Universität Berlin Campus”) in Berlin-Dahlem, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020. He gathered his expertise as the head of the Centre for Microsystems and Materials (ZMM) in the Technology Park Adlershof. In the following interview, the site developer from WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH tells us about his nostalgic tendencies and why he thinks sleep is overrated due to his many activities.

Berlin has one in Adlershof, one in Buch, one in Charlottenburg and other places. Doesn’t Berlin have enough start-up centres?

Safe spaces and favourable conditions, including work and lab space, are incredibly important during the initial phase of a new company. The Free University (Freie Universität) is among the universities in Germany with the most start-ups. But it is the only university in Berlin that doesn’t have its own start-up centre. FUBIC will fill this gap.

Who will move into FUBIC?

Start-ups and companies from the life sciences, health and IT. We are anticipating 60 to 80 companies and a total of roughly 700 employees. Adding to this are 300 employees from high-tech companies, who will move into one of the six planned buildings adjacent to FUBIC.

Can you give us an idea of what the next steps are?

We are in the final stage of drawing up the land-use plan, which will be completed by the end of 2016. Subsequently, we will apply for funds from the GRW, the joint scheme for 'Improving regional economic structures by the Federal Government and the Länder.' Construction is planned to start in mid-2017. Completion of FUBIC is planned for the end of 2020.

What is special about FUBIC?

A large part of the centre consists of laboratories – about 8,000 square metres, half of the usable space. Moreover, our concept of the site is that of a model energy project which will be supplied with renewable energy in the long-term.

Where do you see FUBIC in 25 years?

We believe that medical technology and the life sciences will increasingly rely on IT. One example: experiments that now require animal testing will be simulated on a computer in future. This means thinking ahead in terms of IT infrastructure and building flexibly so that the centre will still meet the requirements in 2041.

You are also in charge of the ZMM in Adlershof. How will that continue?

At 90% capacity, space in the ZMM is well utilised. We are continuing our networking efforts. The collaboration between Adlershof and Dahlem is also benefiting two companies, which are already located in the former US military hospital that’s being turned into FUBIC. During the rebuilding of FUBIC, these companies need replacement buildings, but rentable lab space is scarce in Berlin. The ZMM will provide these companies with a solution.

When did you start working in Adlershof?

I started out as a research assistant at the operating company of the Technology Park Adlershof in 1992. During this initial stage of the technology park’s development, they needed a factory planner, which was what I specialised on at university.

What did you want to be growing up?

I was always a tinkerer and it was clear to me early on that I wanted to become something along the lines of electrician, mechatronics engineer, or mechanical engineer.

You work as a volunteer in vocational training. Where exactly?

I volunteer for proMANO, an association which fosters vocational training and apprenticeships in microsystems technology. We focus on collaborative training. This has many advantages: our trainees pass through several companies and get to know very different devices and techniques and the companies do not have to cover all fields of training.

Do you have a hobby-horse?

Only one? Well, first, there is my VW bus T3, a 1987 model. It will officially be licensed as a vintage car next year. It is in its original condition and has lots of space. Today it has done 320,000 kilometres. Before we can take it on holiday – we’ve been to Norway, Ireland, Scotland – I usually have to repair a few things. But the nice thing about an old model is that I can still do a lot of things myself. I’m also crazy about records. I must have collected a few hundred records by now, mostly rock music. I also have a large CD collection, but I find records offer a more conscious and more intense listening experience.

What else do you do in your free time?

Exercising, music, repairing broken things, but also art and trying new things – there is so much to do and see there’s not much time for sleep. I play volleyball and beach volleyball in a club and go to university sports at Humboldt-Universität. I also go running and take part in the Adlershof Company Run. If I’m not at a record fair looking for bargains, I love going to concerts. The last show I went to was Black Sabbath, the English heavy metal band led by Ozzy Osbourne. And if I’m not tinkering with my T3, I’m repairing tube radios, record players and the like, which I find at flea markets or buy on eBay.

By Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal