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Innovation strategy for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region


Projektbüro Metropolregion Hamburg e. V.




IMP³ROVE – European Innovation Management Academy

Innovation is of paramount economic importance – for economic renewal, the labour market, social progress, and the improvement of living conditions. Based on an analysis of key competencies in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region (MRH), together with IMP³ROVE, we have developed a interregional innovation strategy with high synergy and growth potential for the region.

Six lighthouse topics and projects

The systematic and critical status-quo analysis revealed six lighthouse topics in which the MRH boasts particularly high competences:

  • Sustainable and smart energy systems
  • Sustainable materials and production processes
  • Life sciences and health
  • Bioeconomy and the food industry
  • CO2-free mobility solutions
  • Digitalisation and AI

These are also areas in which the MRH can be internationally competitive.

From these lighthouse topics, four fields of action with specific measures were derived. The measures are intended to remove barriers and complement existing regional measures in a target-oriented and cross-regional manner. These include:

  • Promotion of innovation in individual companies
  • Promotion and support of innovative start-ups
  • Development of R&D infrastructures (focal points)
  • Promotion of cooperation and knowledge and technology transfer

Linking the lighthouse projects with strategic fields of action, resulted in the following lighthouse projects for the MRH, which all show positive development opportunities:

  • Experimental and demonstration labs for Green Mobility
  • Development of a primary contact and coordination office for AI in the MRH
  • Establishment of a quantum computing technology platform
  • Creation of a decentralised medical open-source data platform
  • Initiation of new research alliances for the bioeconomy and the food industry
  • Innovation and Science Park (IWP) - renewable energies and green hydrogen

The assignment

The ability of a region to develop in a fragile environment depends to a large extent on its innovation capacity. As early as 2018/2019, the MRH was the first German metropolitan region to commission a territorial review through the OECD. The key insight was that greater cooperation between the MRH’s actors is required to ensure the global competitiveness of the region. Consequently, the Regional Council commissioned the development of an innovation strategy for the MRH. Above all, innovation, and knowledge and technology transfer in the MRH should be promoted across institutions and regions.

Our approach

The extension of the MRH to include the four federal states of Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein, presented specific challenges for the methodological approach. We carried out the following four steps:

  • Evaluation and comparison of the existing RIS3-, cluster-, start-up-, and industrial strategies of the four federal states as part of a desk research. Particular attention was paid to the identification of strategic and thematic commonalities. The first potential lighthouse topics and strategic fields of action were defined.
  • Evaluation of potential lighthouse topics and strategic fields of action in the context of a regional workshop with the actors of the four MRH federal states.
  • Validation of the suitability of the identified lighthouse topics by means of interviews and industry-specific workshops with experts; identification of concrete fields of innovation and initial implementation projects.
  • Assignment of the lighthouse topics to three societal fields that are of particularly high social relevance in the MRH.
  • Linking the lighthouse topics and their fields of innovation with tailored strategic fields of action and measures.

Links und downloads

About the strategy (PDF in German)

Project team: Dr Olaf Arndt, Dr Jonathan Eberle, Renke Janshen, Jan Lukas Röbke


Last stand: 21.12.2022

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Dr Jonathan Eberle

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