Research site: campus at Rostock Freight and Fishing Port
Back in November 2018, the Bundestag earmarked over €15 million for the technical infrastructure and development of the DOL as well as for the onshore laboratory equipment for the operations center, from which all underwater projects will be prepared and monitored. This will take place at Fraunhofer IGD’s new building on the premises of the future OTC. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will invest €12 million of the federal funds in this new building. The institute will be moved entirely from its current location in the southern part of the city to the fishing port, with the state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania contributing another €12 million. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2022.
The basis of the campus will be the stakeholders already present in this area, such as Baltic Diver, the Rostock Training & Development Center, the Thünen Institute and the Welding Technology Training & Testing Institute. Parallel to the research institute’s development plans, Kraken Power GmbH will also implement its plans to build its new corporate headquarters on the premises of SAB Marina: Starting fall 2019, construction will begin for the first new industry partner at the Ocean Technology Campus.
“We have been supporting and promoting the project since 2013, and are creating the basis for developing the campus together with the Hanseatic city and Rostock Freight and Fishing Port. Exciting relocation projects by high-tech companies are already underway that will produce numerous innovative jobs in Rostock,” said Christian Weiss, managing director of Rostock Business.
Start of research imminent
By using the existing infrastructure on the artificial reef, the first underwater research can already begin now. Even external projects will soon be able to launch. A new research group of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will be established at the fishing port in Rostock -- possibly at the new offices of SAB Marina -- starting the fall that will comprise around 10 scientists from different fields. Expansion of this group to over 25 members is planned over the medium term and their research will focus on multidisciplinary issues. The federal government approved €8 million in project funds for the expansion of the personnel structures for the research at the DOL, with the state granting another €5 million. The personnel expansion will be successive up until the operations center is built and ready for use.
The state also granted the University of Rostock a budget of €4 million for preliminary research on digital underwater technology.
“With the Digital Ocean Convention, it will become clear that numerous partners from science and commerce are currently writing a, in the truest sense of the word, in-depth new chapter in this city’s history. It will open up a lot of new and exciting prospects for our maritime research center,” said Roland Methling, mayor of the Hanseatic and university city of Rostock.
For the plans to actually bear fruit, however, higher-level coordination between the various stakeholders in the OTC is absolutely essential, as affirmed by Eva Thiede, CEO of Kraken Power GmbH: “We’re all acting in concert and have been working toward the OTC for a long time. The next thing we need is professional campus management and we’re currently looking at financing options to put the appropriate structures in place.”