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Leuphana University of Lüneburg

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The Leuphana University of Lüneburg is a public university located in Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany with appx. 9,000 students.

Leuphana is a young university, and therefore largely based on innovation instead of tradition. The university strives to create a place that is driven by a collective search for knowledge and viable social solutions.

This drive for innovation and social solutions is apparent in Leuphana’s study programs. Leuphana established the first public college in Germany, created academic programs for Master and PhD, and has its own professional school for furthering education.

Courses at Leuphana are based on holism, with socially relevant questions are at the forefront. This means embracing the various approaches and disciplines of science. In order to research subjects instead of just disciplines, Leuphana's science initiatives make it possible to contribute specialist knowledge to an overall university discourse. Integrating extra-curricular activities is an important part of the academic culture.

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Promotion of Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Leuphana University organizes various activities and offers a wide range of classes to support Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In some offerings, like Startup-counseling, student teams are matched with local startups to assist them in one specific issue. The students get to understand how a startup functions while the startups get help in one specific research issue. In a course called Startup Management, students use the Business Model Canvas to sketch out their own idea. At the end of the course, all teams pitch their idea in front of Venture Capitalists to get funding.

Next to the courses, there are lots of extracurricular activities focused on startups (& counseling). The Leuphana Entrepreneurship Hub offers many workshop formats aimed at students (a) already having their own business or (b) wanting to start a venture.

Also, there are lots of activities to promote the startup spirit within Leuphana: Workshops covering Design Thinking as a creative method to develop new services or products, the workshop ‘Next Top Gründer’ aims at bringing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship into local companies and student teams. Within this format, groups have to develop a market idea within a three hour workshop.

The Leuphana Conference of Entrepreneurship is a huge event taking place once every year. National and international startups, investors, and interested people come together for a couple of days to talk about the latest findings in the research on startups and venture creation as well as new business ideas.

Encouragement of Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The “startup-spirit” is not only promoted to students. Faculties are also encouraged to act in a startup-like fashion. Being a small university allows faculty to circumvent some of the obstacles of larger institutions.

Multiple faculties focus their research around innovation and startups. The faculty of innovation management, for example, focuses its research on what makes innovations succeed. Right now, they are primarily concentrating on social innovations within cities. One of their class offerings is aimed at students developing an idea for a social innovation (using the principles of design thinking and the Business Model Canvas) and - by the end of the course - pitching it to social entrepreneurs and investors.  

Next to different faculties focusing on venture creation / startups, the Entrepreneurship Hub and its Startup Service (, not only supports students, but also graduates and staff on how to successfully prepare and organize a startup business.

So, the startup spirit is promoted throughout the whole university, which is the reason why Leuphana, with all its events, workshops, and multiple formats, has been ranked as the most entrepreneur-friendly medium-sized university in Germany.

The University Technology Transfer Function

Leuphana University is in constant dialogue with leaders in business and society. In line with its unique action-oriented competence profile, Leuphana sees itself as an efficient cooperation partner for the region. In doing so, Leuphana is willing to take up relevant questions in the fields of business, technology, and administration as well as in the social, cultural and environmental field. Leuphana initiates its own innovation projects with the relevant partners within the framework of knowledge and technology transfer.

Products and services or to make processes more efficient: Leuphana University sees itself as an efficient partner for business and society. With its interdisciplinary research, the university offers solutions to the problems of regional as well as international partners. By working together with Leuphana University, companies and organizations can develop ideas and implement innovations in practice.
The contact for those activities is the Cooperation-Service (

Facilitation of University-Industry Collaboration

The Leuphana University cooperates with businesses in numerous projects. See the following two examples:
The project "Sustainability Innovations in Regional SMEs"(NIREM) ( deals with the sustainability development of small and medium-sized enterprises from the transition region Lüneburg. The aim of the project is to build up and strengthen a transfer of knowledge between companies and regional universities. Companies can profit from the current status of research on relevant sustainability topics, and the participating universities integrate diverse and practice-oriented experiences into their own research and teaching.

The "Digital Knowledge Transfer Model" ( project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the State of Lower Saxony, aims to promote and further develop digital change in research and development using digital tools in the transfer of knowledge in cooperation with the regional economy and society.

Engagement with Regional and Local Economic Development

Within the business networks of Leuphana University economics, society and science are engaging in a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge. Scientists and experts provide entrepreneurs and organizations with application-oriented research results. Together, they confidentially develop solutions for company practice, and Leuphana supports the implementation. Companies and organizations benefit from an extensive regional network and innovations can translate into economic success.

The Innovation Incubator ( was particularly versatile in transdisciplinary cooperation. The EU economic development project implemented around 16 application-oriented research and development projects at Leuphana through 2015. These collaborations between the university and at least one partner from the business community or from social, cultural, or public institutions developed problem-oriented solutions in the short term. Central features were usability- and application-oriented on the basis of a practice-relevant task.

Related Links

Leuphana University's 2017 Student Priorities

Fall 2017 UIFs:

Hannah Vergossen

James Long

Christian Otto