Innovation Centres Ruhr is a project managed by BMR focussing on the cooperation between technology and start-up centres in the Ruhr Metropolis.
The project Innovation Centres Ruhr aims at developing a cooperative network of the 35 technology and start-up centres in the Ruhr region together with the municipal business development agencies. Up until now, the centres’ work has not followed an integrative approach and their degrees of success have varied. The centres lack modernisation on the one hand, as well as an overarching policy framework to effectively contribute to the important start-up and innovation landscape of Ruhr Metropolis on the other hand.

The project focusses on three aspects: the identification and usage of specialisation and development potentials; the initiation of a regional network including common activities and workshops between the centres; as well as the promotion of supra-regional visibility of the centres. The practice is implemented by the technology centres, local business development agencies, and further actors from business and science, encompassing 42 partners in total.

Through the novel region-wide network cooperation, the project generates synergies and new types of specialisation and development potentials regarding future technologies, allowing founders and SMEs to benefit from higher qualitative offerings. Both multilevel governance and S3 development for North Rhine-Westphalia and the sub-region of Ruhr Metropolis are expected to be improved through the project.

Resources needed

Total project subsidy of 525.676,64 € / 1 position of a full-time project manager

Evidence of success

Since its launching in late 2019, the project has managed the following:
- Initiation of the cooperative working group between the partners
- Creation of a strategic advisory board
- Initiation of a smart specialisation and development strategy for participating innovation and technology and start-up centres (ongoing)

Potential for learning or transfer

The project Innovation Centres Ruhr has the potential to strengthen intercommunal exchange and cooperation regarding the identification of S3 potentials and the implementation of multilevel governance of S3. Furthermore, the practice could generate synergies from different regional resources and strengths. Finally, transfers are likely to take place through the demonstration and displaying of innovative performance capabilities.

An early stage partner link to the Basque technology centre network was created at the start of the project and the exchange of experiences has been considered useful. In a similar manner, the Innovation Centres Ruhr project could foster interregional learning processes concerning technology and innovation centres.
Main institution
Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH
Start Date
September 2019
End Date
August 2022


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