€18.5 Million in New Research Program Funding Announced as GE Marks the 10th Anniversary of its Global Research Center in Europe
- New framework agreement valued at up to €13 million between Technische Universität München (TUM) and GE Global Research Europe creates one of the world’s most advanced high speed research compressor laboratories focused on developing tomorrow’s aircraft engines and gas turbines
- Collaborative innovation approach between GE Global Research Europe, GE’s Distributed Power business and the Graz University of Technology jointly develops €5.5 million single cylinder test rig research enabling the next generation of reciprocating gas engines
- New white paper by GE examines the state of innovation in Europe, ways to increase innovation potential
Munich, October 8, 2014 – GE (NYSE: GE) continues to focus on what’s next in innovation through further expansion and new research funding and collaboration models at its European Global Research Center near Munich, Germany. Mark Little, GE’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and thought leaders from business, technology and academia gathered at an Innovation Summit marking the 10th anniversary of GE’s European Global Research Center today in Garching. At the event, GE also announced the release of an innovation white paper, which discusses how Europe needs to draw on its innovation strengths and develop stronger frameworks to compete in the highly competitive and fast moving global innovation marketplace.
10 Years of Innovation Breakthroughs – Igniting Europe’s Growth
GE Global Research Europe was opened by Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, near Munich in 2004. Since then, the facility has grown from a cluster of labs to a highly diversified industrial research center covering 12,000 square meters and developing cutting-edge technology to support the European and global market. Initially focusing on energy and healthcare technology, the scope of research programs has expanded significantly to include renewable energy and energy systems, to composite materials manufacturing to propulsion technologies and turbomachinery, making the Garching site a European hub for technology and collaboration. Today, the European Research Center, which employs 250 people in total, is home to scientists from over 40 countries.
Since 2004, GE has invested more than €100 million in infrastructure and research in Munich. An additional €30 million investment is underway with the construction of a 14,000 square meter state of the art R&D facility that will create 200 additional jobs by 2016. The space will not only include additional labs and offices but also an ‘Innovations Forum’ where GE will work with customers and partners to capitalize on new models of collaboration to test, iterate and innovate quicker, bring new technologies to market faster and improving efficiency while delivering growth for GE and our customers and partners.
“For ten years, GE’s Global Research Center in Munich has been inventing things that build, power, move and cure the world,” said Dr.-Ing. Carlos Härtel, Director GE Global Research Europe. “Our success is due to the strong partnerships with European academic institutes, the great talent pool in the region, the close cooperation with customers and the complementary specialist teams and centers of excellence built by other GE businesses that allow us to maximize joint opportunities. Our long term goal is to strengthen these partnerships through strategic collaborative agreements and to continue to develop cutting-edge research that will deliver value to our customers and society at large.”
GE and TUM jointly Developing the Next Generation of Aircraft Engines and Gas Turbines
GE also signed a new, 10-year framework agreement with the Technische Universität München (TUM). The agreement expands their ongoing close R&D cooperation and will initially focus on technologies to enhance the performance and efficiency of high pressure compressors used in aviation and land-based turbomachinery. The €13 million investment, co-funded by GE, TUM and the Bavarian Government, enabled the development of a one-of-a-kind High Speed Research Compressor laboratory and the creation of new jobs for highly qualified research engineers, both at TUM and GE’s European Research Center.
“With this new test rig, we can achieve a level of variability that is unique worldwide”, said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oskar J. Haidn, acting Chair for Flight Propulsion and Professor of Space Propulsion, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at TUM. “Through parallel research on high speed test rigs for radial as well as axial compressors, we can supply the full range of compressor research, from jet engines, gas turbines for power generation, turbochargers for piston engines and process compressors for the oil and gas industry, reinforcing the importance of the Munich location in scientific compressor research. The close partnership between the TUM and GE also supports synergies for the project in terms of know-how from the corporation’s research department.”
“In the past ten years GE Global Research has become an indispensable part and an exquisite enrichment of the broad and multifaceted research landscape of Bavaria,” said Ilse Aigner, Bavarian State Minister for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology. “GE’s decision to build their only European R&D facility in Garching emphasizes the international reputation of Bavaria as a location for world-class research and innovation. The research campus with the TU and LMU faculties, as well as independent institutions and the close relationship between business and science offers ideal surroundings for the development of future technologies for tomorrow’s ideas and products.”
GE Global Research Europe has also built up strong relationships with universities outside of Munich and is looking to broaden that network in the future. Collaborative arrangements exist with some of the leading universities in Germany and Europe, like RWTH Aachen, Imperial College (UK) and ETH Zurich (Switzerland).
Unique Single Cylinder Test Lab in Munich to Enable Research on Reciprocating Engines of GE
In addition, GE Global Research announced a partnership with academia and GE’s Distributed Power business to focus on the areas of combustion, mechanics as well as control systems of reciprocating engines. Together with the Large Engine Competence Center (LEC) of the Graz University of Technology, GE has designed a new single cylinder test cell for diesel and gas engines in Garching, including a calibration and control room and interior construction, valued up to €5.5 million. The modern single cylinder research engine provides testing capability for newly developed components and assemblies as well as control strategies for optimizing gas, diesel and dual fuel engine operation.
‘Innovate or Stagnate’ – White Paper Examines the State of Innovation in Europe
Also at today’s event GE released a white paper examining the state of innovation in Europe. The report, co-authored by GE Chief Economist Marco Annunziata, concludes that Europe needs to take a faster and more structured approach to innovation if it is to keep up with global competitors. It highlights Europe’s poor productivity record as evidence that the region is not realizing its innovation potential.
Four other areas: better collaboration, the ability to attract private investment, the quality and level of government support for innovation, and the ability to attract and retain talent are also set out as other important focus points for Europe to improve innovation performance. In the paper GE states that it believes Europe’s innovation strengths can be successfully built upon and these include its size, diversity and proven capacity for openness and collaboration.
“At GE we see the pace of innovation accelerating everywhere driven by technology, increased amounts of available data and greater connectivity for people and organizations across the globe”, said Marco Annunziata. “This new wave of innovation could bring tremendous benefits for Europe. However in a highly competitive globalized economy, the costs of inaction are equally high.”
The white paper recommends that the private and public sectors in Europe should collaborate more to create supportive ecosystems that bring together research institutions, funding schemes, and a robust legal framework to protect investments and intellectual property. And it states that Europe should move to build a Single Market for Innovation, an ecosystem to reduce bureaucracy, allow and facilitate greater cross border co-operation and promote the development and mobility of talent and skills and the recognition of qualifications.
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