The Ruhr area is becoming the center of the German health care industry since 2018 is an end to coal subsidies.
In the Technology Park at the University of Dortmund, the future of the Ruhr area has already begun. The subsidiary of the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim microparts GmbH presents her inhalers for medications to treat COPD. The disease ranks fourth leading cause of death, it is commonly known as “smoker’s cough”.
According to the network industry MedEcon Ruhr, there are working about 300,000 employees in the health industry in the Ruhr area, which includes the medical micro-technology. So it is now the largest employer in the region. Although there may be many employees in other parts of Germany in this sector, which also includes nursing homes and hospitals, but in the Ruhr area have settled many new areas of the healthcare industry, such as the micro-technology, medical information technologist or protein diagnostics next to these “traditional” employers. In these sector of industries you cannot longer avoid the Ruhr area. The conditions for companies in the Ruhr area close to ideal. Nowhere else in Germany there is such a large population density in a metropolitan area, with several universities and hospitals – and, of course, potential patients.
The regional health expenditure amounts to almost 16 billion euros annually. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has located the “health campus NRW” 2009 at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Here are health-oriented competencies bundled and cooperation is encouraged within the industry. The funds come from the EU. One of the beneficiaries has now moved into the new bio-medical center at the Ruhr University. The start-up company Iliad Medical settled in the colorful building in 2008. The lyrics “Had the pulse beat of steel”, sung by Herbert Grönemeyer in his song “Bochum”, already faded away long time ago, but Illias Medical anyway is more listening to the human heart sounds as a basis for business. The company, which was founded by three engineers and a computer scientist, has developed the smallest heart-lung machine in the world. The unit has a weight of five pounds, including oxygen supply and heat exchanger and is as big as a briefcase.
The award winning project is the result of a doctoral thesis at the University of Aachen, but the local conditions, leaded the young entrepreneur eventually to Bochum. “Originally we were looking for suitable locations in Germany,” says Philip Mayer. But nowhere the conditions have been as good as in the Ruhr area. They could arrange al of their facilities in bio-medical center and even the financing of the laboratory and workshop equipment, have been supported by the city of Bochum through the placement of EU funds. The hospital and population density would also have been important. Meanwhile, the start-up is working with include the University Hospital in Essen, the University of Applied Sciences in Dortmund and the Ruhr University in Bochum. The short distances between cities make it possible.
The health care industry is already among the most dynamic industries in the Ruhr area. During the economic crisis, it proved to be stable and independent of economic cycles. The healthcare industry will play one of the leading and most important roles for the Ruhr area.
That even if it is located, on the one hand to the efforts of state government, city marketing and business achievements on the other hand, there is also a deep anchorage of the health care industry in the Ruhr tradition: for example, the hospital “Bergmannsheil”, now University Hospital of the Ruhr-University Bochum, the oldest hospital in the world for accidents. It was established in 1890 to supply miners in accidents. The “Knappschaft” insurance also has a long tradition in relation to this area. The same applies to the Krupp Hospital in Essen and the specialization of many clinics in respiratory medicine – the pneumoconiosis of miners promoted it. Now it’s about to develop the potential for the future.