Although I currently live and work in Heilbronn, in South West Germany, I do keep an eye on what is happening in the Berlin area, where I was raised. Apart from the disastrous news about the new airport, Berlin has recently received some very good press exposure regarding its technology and start-up industry, e.g., in the The Economist, and on TechCrunch. As Ciaran O´Leary from TechCrunch, puts it:
So it really seems like Berlin is on to something. […] Over the last 4-5 years thousands of startups have been founded, seemingly out of nowhere, some have already claimed their spot as global category leaders, many of the top-tier international investors have began investing here (USV, Benchmark, Kleiner, Spark, Atomico, Founders Fund, Battery, Index, etc.) and the first sizeable exits (at least a few hundred million) have been realized (more on that later).
I think the evolution of Berlin as a technology hub provides some great opportunities for researchers in the region. In fact, I’ve done a few case studies with organizations in the area already. What I’m surprised about is that universities in the area, and there’s plenty of them, including my home institution, the European University Viadrina, have not yet embraced this opportunity with more enthusiasm. Many of these technology ventures and start-ups would probably benefit from close ties to research institutions and, at the same time, may serve as great sources of digital data.