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INNOIVATION! Something new is emerging in South Tyrol: an idea, a location, a network. NOI. We look ahead. We are working on a new opportunity for South Tyrol. And we look forward to the future.



NOI. NATURE OF INNOVATION. Alpine resources and a sustainable mind-set. Targeted research and work in a unique region that is both a prosperous economic zone and a great living environment. Strong networks and an extraordinary concept for innovation inspired by nature. NOI Techpark S端dtirol/Alto Adige.


INNOVATION IS IN OUR NATURE. Farming on steep mountain slopes, living in secluded valleys, harnessing energy from water, solar power and biomass: Living and working here means being adaptive and acting in harmony with nature. The people and companies of South Tyrol have a long-standing tradition of making creative use of the environment, thereby fostering innovation that makes sustainable business possible. This unique ingenuity is now being concentrated in one single location: at the NOI Techpark S端dtirol/Alto Adige.




INNOVATION INSPIRED BY NATURE. Innovation processes unfold like events observed in nature. Some develop rapidly and explosively like an avalanche, while others progress in a slow and steady manner, like a leafy vine gradually scaling a wall. That is what “Nature of Innovation” stands for. Innovation cannot be forced; there is no blueprint for guaranteed results. The ideal solution to a problem can be a simple, tried-and-tested approach – or it can emerge after countless attempts and bring forth something completely new.


NOI IS ... UNIQUE. Nature of Innovation means finding the ideal approach to solving each individual problem, because no two challenges are alike. Inspired by nature and adapted to the heterogeneous structure of South Tyrol’s economic and business landscape, we want to support small crafts firms, agricultural businesses and start-ups as well as family enterprises and large companies in their processes of innovation.

NOI IS ... ADAPTIVE. Innovation inspired by nature means that processes of innovation adapt to their environment, not the other way around. The work and research conducted at the NOI Techpark therefore utilise and benefit from South Tyrol’s inherent strengths – such as its position as a geographical hub connecting North and South – and build on the know-how that has already become established in this region.


NOI IS ... SUSTAINABLE. Sustainable innovation means always keeping the future in mind and acting in a responsible manner. Throughout its history, South Tyrol has always had to utilise its resources with prudence and foresight. As a result, we have developed virtually unparalleled expertise in sustainable resource management. In view of looming resource shortages worldwide, this knowledge is of global importance. The goal is to promote South Tyrol as an internationally renowned centre of excellence in this field.






BUSINESS South Tyrol’s most valuable resources include alternative sources of energy such as hydroelectric and solar power, renewable raw materials such as wood, and excellence in technology. Bright minds are an equally important asset: multilingualism, excellent educational and vocational training backgrounds, open-mindedness and a passion for innovation are the defining traits of South Tyrol’s employees and entrepreneurs.


That is why this region’s inherent and acquired strengths also serve as the foundation supporting the pillars of South Tyrol’s economy: tourism and Alpine technologies, agriculture and food production, generation of energy and climate technology. In all of these areas South Tyrol brings forth internationally renowned experts, technologies and innovations.

RESEARCH As a stable economic area and an innovative research environment boasting a high quality of life, South Tyrol is an attractive location for companies, highly skilled professionals and bright minds from the region, from Italy and from abroad. Here they all find the perfect environment in which to work and live.

Innovative Technologies (IIT), the EcoResearch Laboratory and the ClimateHouse Agency are developing the technological innovations of tomorrow. Bringing together these laboratories of excellence on the compound of the NOI Techpark creates synergies and networking effects.

Researchers from around the globe work at South Tyrol’s research facilities: the European Academy (EURAC), the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, the Fraunhofer Innovation Engineering Center, the Institute for









NETWORKS On the southern face of the rugged Alps and at the northern end of Upper Italy’s broad plain, at the junction between Northern and Southern Europe, at the language boundary between German and Italian, in a mix of cultures and mentalities: Thanks to its geographical location and history, South Tyrol has always been a land of contrasts. Yet present-day South Tyrol proves that its strength lies in making connections – in networking.

large global players do not just coexist – they are closely interconnected. The strength of South Tyrol’s stable economy stems from the close cooperation between large and small businesses, internationally networked research institutes and a comprehensive system of education and vocational training. Furthermore, we are convinced that innovation is only possible through networking, at the interface between research and entrepreneurship.

The same applies to the region’s economy. This is a place where small family enterprises, agricultural businesses and craftsmen as well as

Innovation arises when new links are formed within a network, when ideas and information race from node to node.

LEARNING IN THE INNOVATION NETWORK Whenever we learn something new, our brain creates new synapses; it forms or activates new links that connect to what is already there and open up new possibilities that previously seemed unattainable. That is how NOI works. Innovation arises when new links are formed within a network, when ideas and information race from node to node like impulses along neural pathways. NOI is therefore first and foremost a network – comprising companies, researchers, topics, projects, ideas – that is based at the Techpark.

Yet NOI also forms part of a larger existing network that encompasses all of South Tyrol and extends far beyond the region: to Italy, to Europe, around the globe. At the interface linking the South Tyrolean innovation network’s major nodes – companies, research and universities – the NOI Techpark forms a new node, thus creating new connections.



SOUTH TYROL: THE NETWORK South Tyrol’s network gains new knowledge thanks to the new NOI node, too, because the innovation network expands as a result: participants who used to remain on the sidelines now become part of the network, from the ambitious craftswoman to the young tinkerer with a brilliant idea for a new start-up. Since all nodes in a network are interlinked, it does not matter how much prior knowledge the two of them possess or at which point they join the network – they will quickly and easily find the information they need. If this information does not yet exist, meaning if the questions they pose are too complicated, they will have access to experts who can help them in their endeavours, or to researchers, who will support them in finding a solution. The innovation processes generated by NOI therefore always have interfaces connecting them to the outside: They are involved in constant interaction with businesses, research facilities and universities. As a result, the entire region of South Tyrol in its function as a prime location for research, development and business benefits from the NOI innovation network.



BUILDING BRIDGES The laboratories in which researchers and companies develop the innovations of tomorrow are located at a site steeped in industrial history: the premises of the former Montecatini aluminium plant in the Bolzano Sud commercial area. New life is now being breathed into the factory’s monumental transformer stations: the buildings, designed in the rationalist style, are put to new use and combined with a number of new structures to form the NOI Techpark, thus spanning a bridge that links the exciting history of this site with its future as an innovation centre. Symbolic bridges also connect the new technology centre with its surroundings: In contrast to the former aluminium plant, which was fenced in by high walls, the Techpark does not seal itself off from the outside world. Via an extensive network of cycle lanes and eco-friendly public transport, the compound is directly connected to the city of Bolzano, thereby opening itself up to the general public and to local businesses. As a result, the artificially constructed former industrial quarter now naturally evolves into a new city district – a place where people do not just come to work, but to live as well.


The artificially constructed former industrial quarter now naturally evolves into a new city district – a place where people do not just come to work, but to live as well.

top: Historical photograph showing the construction of the Bolzano 1 production line bottom: Scale model of the NOI Techpark




Aluminium plant Bolzano 1 put into operation

The Alumix compound on which the NOI Techpark is being built used to be the site of Italy’s largest aluminium plant. All that is left of the factory are the transformer stations, which are listed as historical landmarks. They hint at the fascinating history that lies behind these monumental façades, waiting to be discovered. Up until the 1920s, the predominantly agricultural region of South Tyrol hardly featured any industry. That all changed when Benito Mussolini seized power: He called upon Italian industrial magnates to build factories in Bolzano and create jobs for migrant workers from southern Italy. One of the first factories was the Montecatini aluminium plant: In 1937, on the premises in Bolzano Sud, the first transformer went into operation. Housed in the front buildings, these transformers supplied the vast amounts of electricity needed for the aluminium smelter of the Bolzano 1 production line. In 1940, construction of the Bolzano 2 line was completed in the adjacent lot. Due to the drastic rise in demand for aluminium during the Second World War, up to 1,700 workers were employed in the factory, which at one point produced two thirds of Italy’s entire aluminium supply. By the end of the war, resource shortages set in, causing production to decline to minimum levels. Once the war was over, however, the economy started recuperating and the factory was once again working at full capacity. After passing its zenith in the 1960s, the plant was sold in 1974. Alumix, the name of the company that took over the plant for several years in 1991, is still in existence today. Over the course of the past decade, conservationists became aware of the architectural value of the transformer stations designed in the Bauhaus style, and listed parts of the compound as cultural heritage in 2004. In 2008 the transformer station of Bolzano 1 became the venue of the Manifesta 7 art biennial, for which it was cleaned and restored. Its identity characterised by history and industry has survived to this day, as has the compound’s landmark: the 30-metre-tall water tower, which is visible from a distance.


Production line Bolzano 2 completed

1945 Minimum production due to resource scarcity and restricted freight traffic

1950 to 1960 Production peaks at 50,000 tonnes/year


Aluminium plant is sold


Acquisition by Alumix

since 2004

Listed as cultural heritage


Transformer station of Bolzano 1 is venue of Manifesta 7 art biennial Source: Alumix. Ein Denkmal in Rot by Josef Rohrer. Eds.: The Autonomous Province of Bozen/Bolzano – South Tyrol, Department of Monument Conservation, Office for Historic Buildings and Art Monuments, Waltraud Kofler Engl (July 2008)



SPACE FOR INNOVATION Between the aluminium plant’s two historical transformer stations, with their elegant façades made from glass and clinker bricks, the Black Monolith immediately comes to view, appearing like a reclining giant arching upwards. It symbolises the new and the drive for innovation that arise out of the valuable properties of the old. Yet its cubic shape is also reminiscent of the rationalistic style characterised by clear-cut lines and efficiency, while the innovative façade made from aluminium foam forms a tangible link with the history of the Alumix compound – the Techpark’s architecture spans a bridge from the valuable industrial style of the 1930s to the present day. The architectural project was developed by the winners of a competition held in 2007, Chapman Taylor studio in Milan and the Bolzano-based office CL&AA Claudio Lucchin & Associates. But there is space for the future as well. The first expansion module of the Black Monolith will already be added in the first phase of construction, while any additional modules will be reserved for private construction initiatives – just like the remaining areas of the 12-hectare-large premises, where companies can construct buildings that meet their individual requirements. In a location where the aluminium plant’s transformers used to rumble without cease and guzzle incredible amounts of electricity, energy consumption in the NOI Techpark has been reduced to virtually zero. The new buildings comply with the European standards for “nearly zero-energy buildings” and are certified in accordance with the local ClimateHouse Work & Life standard. Thanks to the sustainable nature of the entire Techpark, the latter has also been certified in accordance with the international Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard.



SPACE FOR NETWORKS The architecture is adapted to the Techpark’s objective of fostering the physical links connecting its users within the NOI network. Meeting areas such as shared laboratories, terraces and quiet zones are set up inside the buildings. The central area also boasts a large public park featuring fully equipped workstations, allowing both in-house staff and external visitors to meet and work outdoors – taking the laptop out on the lawn, as it were. The Techpark’s open attitude towards the outside, towards its surroundings, is also evident in the planning details: Some of the NOI laboratories are publicly accessible, while others have built-in viewing panels through which visitors can observe the work being conducted inside. The compound will also feature an amphitheatre for cultural events, seminar areas that can seat up to 500 people, accommodation for scientists in residence and a university media centre with public access to specialist literature and scientific databases. Further plans include catering services, rooms for sports and relaxation, a day-care centre for children and shops.


NOI SERVICES The Techpark is utilised in line with the NOI philosophy: Successful processes of innovation adapt to the prevailing circumstances and flow in a natural manner. The NOI Techpark therefore allows for customised utilisation. Businesses have different needs, depending on how far along they are in the innovation process. Companies that become part of the Techpark become part of a network for their specific industry and gain access to the knowhow of research facilities, experts and laboratories.


01 OFFICE NOI offers space for innovative companies. Inside the NOI Techpark they can rent fully-equipped rooms, or they can move permanently into the undeveloped areas of the premises and expand the space they need by adding further modules. This allows them to benefit from the Techpark’s infrastructure, knowledge transfer and networks. And the benefit is mutual: Thanks to these companies, the NOI network grows in turn.


02 KNOW-HOW The NOI Techpark offers know-how for South Tyrolean companies from various sectors and provides support in the form of services, ranging from product development to marketing. The Techpark’s business incubator accompanies and supports start-ups on their path to success: Here they can develop innovative business ideas and grow them into functioning companies. In this process, the Techpark with its infrastructure and networks serves as a business accelerator.

03 NETWORK Within the NOI network, companies and researchers form industry-specific clusters. This gives rise to synergies, but also to intensive cross-linking between business and science. Within this informal cluster, cooperation leads to innovation: Successful companies establish new connections and look for partners that will help them find solutions to the challenges at hand. This networking activity works both within and beyond individual clusters.


04 RESEARCH Scientists from the green technology, Alpine technology, food technology and automation sectors, who formerly conducted their respective research in separate locations, now all work in the more than 20 NOI laboratories and research facilities. The companies that have rented spaces or moved into the Techpark have access to the laboratories as well as to the research results. The knowledge transfer taking place within the NOI network makes it possible to optimise products and develop innovative technologies, products and services.


NOI FIELDS South Tyrol’s key industries serve as the inspiration for the NOI Techpark’s fields of research – and are based on the region’s natural strengths.

GREEN TECHNOLOGY This field of technology pools research and development in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, i.e. companies, certification institutions and research facilities that operate in this sector and focus on the development of innovative technologies.


    ALPINE TECHNOLOGY The field of Alpine technology combines four core competencies of South Tyrol’s business and research sectors: construction on Alpine terrain, winter sports technology, civil protection and Alpine safety, as well as wood, a classical Alpine resource – four areas that are inextricably linked and harbour great economic potential.


FOOD TECHNOLOGY High-quality, regionally sourced foodstuffs will shape the food industry in the coming decades. In this particular NOI field, researchers and companies develop products using raw materials from the region, as well as techniques for refining high-quality ingredients of South Tyrolean cuisine, such as wine, milk and fruit, but also baked goods and meat products.

“Smart technology” is the keyword in this area of innovation, and the findings produced in this area can be applied to all other fields: In order to automate increasingly complex processes, systems have to “learn new things,” meaning they have to become intelligent. As a result, the researchers are concentrating on sensor technology, service robotics, human/machine interaction as well as digitalisation and interconnection in production. Areas of application include the construction and energy industries (smart buildings) and the agricultural sector (agro-mechatronics).


NOI LABS International research teams measure, test and analyse: The 20-plus laboratories at the NOI Techpark are designed for finding solutions to the challenging questions posed by business and science.

GREEN: ENERGY EFFICIENCY The energy of tomorrow How can energy be generated in an efficient and sustainable manner? What are the energy sources of the future? These questions lie at the heart of the research conducted at NOI Techpark’s “green” laboratories – as do solar energy, multifunctional façades and heat pumps. This is where researchers simulate the ageing process of photovoltaics modules, test components of buildings with regard to their energetic properties, and develop systems that use solar power for heating and cooling.


ALPINE: EXTREME CONDITIONS Mount Everest on the ground floor An atmospheric pressure equivalent to that of 9,000 m above sea level, snow, rain, cold, wind and of course heat can be replicated technologically using the Eurac Extreme Environment Simulator. As a result, this machine is suitable for testing materials and components, for example for the winter sports industry, but it can also be applied in medical research: It allows experts specialised in mountain emergency medicine to study how low temperatures affect the chances of survival of avalanche victims, for example. The simulator is twelve metres long, six metres wide and six metres tall, and can also be used for long-term testing.

FOOD: REGIONAL QUALITY Speck and mass spectrometry The food laboratories focus primarily on the quality and regional origin of the ingredients. Using chemical food analyses to improve quality control and isotope analyses to determine the origin of ingredients and raw materials: these are the key aspects of the research conducted in the food field. Another primary objective of the research conducted at the NOI Techpark is improving production processes. For this purpose, food companies can recreate their processing chain in the laboratories to optimise every single production step, no matter how small.

AUTOMATION: SMART SYSTEMS Intelligent people build intelligent machines Machine safety, service robotics and human/ machine interaction are the key concepts studied at the laboratories in the automation field. The researchers aim to develop smart systems that are just as suitable for use in the production chain of a Speck manufacturer as they are in the planning process of constructing a ClimateHouse, where room temperatures are automatically regulated and the lights in the hallway switch on the moment the homeowner pulls into the garage.

FABLAB The NOI Techpark also offers what is known as a FabLab – a publicly accessible workshop equipped with laser cutters, vinyl cutters and 3D printers. This is where students and start-ups in particular can quickly construct or print prototypes or components. 33

OUR VIEWS ON NOI Within the NOI Techpark, seven research institutes connect with a multitude of larger and smaller companies. Their representatives tell us what drives them.

“In South Tyrol, about 500 companies operate in the energy sector, which generates an annual turnover of around 1.6 billion euro. Our research can make a substantial contribution to honing the competitive edge of companies.” Wolfram Sparber Head of the EURAC Institute for Renewable Energy


“Thanks to the unique climate simulator we can recreate all kinds of extreme environmental conditions, both individually and in combination. This allows us to study how human beings survive in extreme environments and how lives can be saved. Yet the findings of our work could also be of great interest in the development of materials, components and machines that are employed in extreme conditions.” Hermann Brugger Head of EURAC’s Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine, associate professor at Innsbruck Medical University

“South Tyrol lies at the heart of Europe. The German-speaking market is within its grasp, and the metropolises of numerous countries are just a few hours away. Furthermore, many of the local companies are specialised in the food sector. This makes Bolzano the ideal location for our research and development department.” Helmuth Senfter Vice President Senfter Holding

“Technological know-how and creativity are indispensable assets for finding smart solutions. When researchers, students, start-ups and established companies come together to form a network and create new ideas, that particular location becomes a hotbed of innovation.” Dominik Matt Professor at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, business consultant and head of the Fraunhofer Italia Institute


STEP BY STEP The NOI Techpark is being constructed in several stages. And just as the buildings of the new technology centre begin to grow, so does the NOI network.

2012-2014 STRATEGY South Tyrolean research institutes, regional authorities, associations and companies set up workshops to jointly develop the detailed strategy plan for the future Techpark’s research fields. As well as a concept for innovation inspired by nature: NOI. Nature of Innovation.


planned for June 2017 March 2015



NOI introduces itself to the public. Transparent communication with South Tyrol’s businesses, research institutes, public administration offices, interest groups and the general public make the NOI Techpark a technology park for all.

NOI finally has a home. Laboratories, spaces for new forms of cooperation, infrastructure and public areas are constructed on the grounds of the former aluminium plant in the Bolzano Sud commercial area. The Techpark opens its doors to researchers, entrepreneurs and anyone interested in the NOI network.



starting October 2015


INFORMATION & NETWORKING The NOI Info Point opens. It informs visitors about the project’s architectural concept, its key research fields and its future. This also marks the beginning of the marketing phase: research institutions, innovative companies and bright minds from South Tyrol, Italy and abroad become interested in the Techpark’s unique concept and Alpine areas of excellence, and decide to join the NOI network.

The NOI Techpark makes a name for itself – and grows. Researchers and highly skilled professionals from South Tyrol, Italy and abroad join the NOI network, and companies rent spaces in the Techpark or move permanently into the 12-hectare complex. South Tyrol becomes an internationally renowned centre of excellence for renewable energy, Alpine technology, food technology and automation.


PUBLISHING DETAILS. Idea: Business Location Südtirol · Alto Adige Design: Büro X Design GmbH Editing, translations, proofreading: Ex Libris Genossenschaft Photography: p. 6-7: SEL p. 18-19: BLS/A. Chemollo p. 20 (top): Stadtarchiv Bozen p. 22-23: Chapman Taylor p. 24-25: Chapman Taylor p. 32 (left): TIS/A. Filz p. 33 (left): BLS/G. Khuen Belasi p. 34-35: BLS/I. Corrà Printed by: Ferrari Auer Druck



NOI Techpark Südtirol/Alto Adige | EN  

Alpine resources and a sustainable mind-set. Targeted research and work in a unique region that is both a prosperous economic zone and a gre...

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