Review of the Innovation Day: A cross-border meeting place for innovators in the Upper Rhine region

On April 12, 2022, close to 1,200 entrepreneurs, researchers, start-ups and students from France, Germany and Switzerland came together for the Innovation Day Upper Rhine in the historical setting of the Palais Universitaire in Strasbourg, while around 200 joined online. With inspiring plenaries and roundtables and a lot of networking opportunities, the event has set the stage to become a major meeting place for innovators in the border triangle.

An inspiring program and lively exchanges

The Innovation Day Upper Rhine brought together innovation actors from the Upper Rhine region and beyond, and addressed concrete challenges they are facing, such as starting a business, securing funding, intellectual property or digitization. The event, organized within the framework of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, also hosted the DeepTech Tour of Bpifrance, an initiative to promote deep tech projects on French campuses.

Innovation Day Upper RhinePalais Universitaire Strasbourg
The event took place in the historical setting of the Palais Universitaire in Strasbourg (© Nicolas Busser)
Lively exchanges at the innovation Day Upper Rhine
Networking at the Innovation Day Upper Rhine (© Nicolas Busser)

The program featured panel discussions, roundtables and workshops focusing on the overarching themes of deep tech, healthcare innovations and sustainability, with expert panelists from both sides of the Rhine. The event attracted great interest from both the on-site and online audiences.

There was also space for valuable networking and exchanges between the participants: around 200 business meetings were initiated within the framework of the Innovation Day.

In three “Walks of the best”, KTUR also showcased promising and award-winning start-ups from France, Germany and Switzerland.

Joining forces to tackle global challenges

The closing speech was delivered by Luc Soler, CEO of Visible Patient, expert in computer-assisted surgery, AR and AI and professor in the digestive and endocrine surgery team of the Strasbourg University Hospitals. Building on the day’s success stories of start-ups and innovations seeking to change the world, he addressed the same objective through the disruptive perspective of successful failure: Facing failure can open your eyes to new visions of the future and thus be a driver of innovation.

Speech by Luc Soler at the innovation Day Upper Rhine
Luc Soler delivers his closing speech on "Successful failure" (© Nicolas Busser)

According to Prof. Michel de Mathelin, 1st Vice-President for relations with the socio-economic world and development at the University of Strasbourg, the Innovation Day has shown that “the challenges of today’s world, in particular in the field of health and energy transition, require a joint effort between the academic world, the socio-economic world and society”. An opinion also shared by Prof. Thomas Hirth, Vice-President for Transfer and International Affairs at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, who stresses the importance of cross-border cooperation: “The Upper Rhine region in particular offers good conditions for sustainable networking among innovation players. The positive response to the Innovation Day Upper Rhine event has shown how valuable and sustainable these cross-border relationships are.”

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hirth
Prof. Thomas Hirth (© Nicolas Busser)
Prof. Michel de Mathelin
Prof. Michel de Mathelin (© Nicolas Busser)

The KTUR partners are very proud of this successful event and want to thank all of the participants and speakers that made this day so special. We also want to give a round of applause to the KTUR team at the University of Strasbourg who managed the organization. We were really happy to witness the concretization of our objective: the promotion of cross-border exchange on knowledge and technology transfer in the Upper Rhine region.