In 2009 the highly successful CLIB-Graduate Cluster Industrial Biotechnology (CLIB-GC) was founded by the North Rhine-Westphalian universities of Bielefeld, Dortmund and Düsseldorf (in collaboration with Forschungszentrum Jülich) to foster the Cluster Industrielle Biotechnologie 2021, CLIB2021 e.V., a winner of the German governmental Bioindustry 2021 competition. With meanwhile 135 doctoral students and alumni CLIB-GC is renowned as the biggest European graduate initiative in biotechnology.
The programme is funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF) of the German federal state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) plus the three universities, and it is additionally supported by CLIB2021 member companies. Initially, from 2009 to 2011 the impressive number of 84 scholarships and several associated but differently funded projects were launched. In 2013 a second funding period started with 12 scholarships at each partner university. Meanwhile, CLIB-GC with its renowned competence fields ‘expression’, ‘polyOmics’, ‘biocatalysis’ and ‘downstream-processing’ is not only focussing on (white) biotechnology but also on internationalisation and bioeconomy concepts. A strong ambition exists to establish the programme on a long term perspective to further jointly work against the skill shortage in natural and engineering sciences. Obviously, the competitive advantage of CLIB-GC is the industrial orientation and the close link to CLIB2021 member companies.
With about 25,000 students, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf is the centre of research and education in the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, a federal state of Germany well known for the Rhine-Ruhr area, the largest economic area in Europe and among Europe’s largest academic hubs. With her five faculties (mathematics and natural sciences, medicine, law, business administration and economics, arts and humanities) Heinrich Heine University promotes close interdisciplinary co-operations on regional, national (e.g., Forschungszentrum Jülich) and international levels. Some institutes of the scientific department are even located at the campus of Forschungszentrum Jülich, with more than 5,500 employees, one of the largest interdisciplinary research institutions in Europe and part of the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s biggest scientific organisation. Moreover, some institutes are members of Forschungszentrum Jülich itself and closely co-operate with the university, enabling a network of sound education, state-of-the-art equipment and industrial co-operations.