Welcome to the laboratory of ideas

Embarking for the future with LabCampus

As the head of LabCampus, the innovation expert Dr. Marc Wagener wants to foster the cross-industry creation of ideas to make Munich Airport a hotbed for the future. Mr. Wagener was appointed as the managing director of LabCampus GmbH on April 1, 2018. The planned innovation campus at the airport is intended to promote the development of ideas and products across industry boundaries.

Wagener and his team want to create the ideal conditions to make this a reality. That is the starting point for the LabCampus concept, which aims to facilitate the networking of research areas, industries and companies by bringing them close together and helping them share technologies. "I see that kind of cooperation as an opportunity to overcome the challenges ahead. Munich Airport is the ideal environment for this undertaking, and is linked to a metropolis that is renowned for science and research."

As the head of LabCampus GmbH, Marc Wagener wants to develop a future-ready urban infrastructure, attract a suitable mix of partners from the private sector and the R&D community, and stimulate cooperation among them. This will deliver the impetus for the development of new ideas and products. "In the long term, we want to create an innovation site here that is known beyond the boundaries of Munich, Bavaria and Germany – for its productive atmosphere and for the innovations jointly developed here. We want people's eyes to sparkle when they think about LabCampus!"

The right man: After completing a degree in electrical and communications engineering, Dr. Marc Wagener earned a doctorate in economics. In his new role as the head of LabCampus GmbH, he can draw on extensive and wide-ranging interdisciplinary career experience.

Interview with FMG Chief Financial Officer Thomas Weyer 

Portrait Thomas Weyer

LabCampus is a project that will have a long-term impact on Munich Airport. Thomas Weyer, the
CFO of Munich Airport, has been working on the idea of turning the airport into Europe's leading innovation location for two years.

Mr. Weyer, you are the driving force behind LabCampus. What makes you so sure that Munich Airport is the right place for this ambitious project?

We have a number of key advantages. First, Munich Airport is a place that people can get to quickly from almost anywhere in the world. Second, 150,000 people come here every day: passengers, visitors and employees – all of them potential customers or partners who can be encountered right on the campus without going out of your way. And finally, at the airport we have development land at an excellent location – after all, the Munich region is among the top technology centers in Europe. We want to utilize this potential and implement our idea of a new form of cooperation between industry and R&D.

What does LabCampus mean for the business model of the airport group?

We have been experiencing fundamental changes and upheavals in the aviation industry for some years now. The expansion of low-cost airlines is also increasingly squeezing our revenues from the conventional aviation business. To remain profitable in the future, we have to develop new business models outside conventional airport services. In LabCampus we now have one. So far it is unique in Europe.

What is actually new about creating an area for innovative businesses?

This project will be tailored in every respect – from urban design and the architecture to the utilization options – to the interdisciplinary, cross-industry development of new ideas and products. That will make LabCampus unique.

You'll have to explain that.

Nowadays, it is only in very rare cases that an innovation is the achievement of just one person. Innovation is increasingly a crosssector, collaborative activity. We use the term "industry convergence". We therefore need to create spaces that facilitate communication and thus collaboration. The intention is to create the perfect conditions to attract innovative and creative people.

Does that mean it will be like a typical start-up, with office space looking more like lounges, furnished with palettes and beanbag chairs?

That doesn't go far enough. We need working spaces of every type in use today – from individual offices to coworking spaces, but also "maker spaces" for building and testing prototypes. And of course showrooms where new models can be presented. I envision surroundings that radiate a colorful, lively and above all urban atmosphere.

What role will the Munich Airport Group play in LabCampus?

We will finance, build and operate LabCampus. But we will also play the role of a curator,bringing together the right partners, setting the focal points for innovation and ensuring that the pipeline of ideas is always full. In our role as the airport we also want to be directly involved in innovations like the recently opened Information Security Hub p. 02 Check-In. We launched the hub in cooperation with partners from the IT industry to work on new solutions in the fight against cybercrime.

What do our neighbors have to say about LabCampus?

Tobias Eschenbacher, the mayor of Freising, was informed at an early stage. He supported the LabCampus idea right from the start. I'm convinced that the region will greatly benefit. LabCampus is not going to create competition. On the contrary, it will be an ideal, networked complement to the existing innovation clusters and to start-up campuses and the many other initiatives in Bavaria.

Do you have specific partners in mind at this point?

Over the past two years we have talked with more than 300 companies from all kinds of industries and with research institutions and universities. The partners now include such companies as Siemens, SAP and MunichRe as well as research institutions such as the Fraunhofer Institute and the Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg.

When is the project going to start and what is the timetable for the coming years?

We will start at the western end of the campus on the 120,000 square meter site to the east of the Agip gas station. After construction is completed, around 5,000 people will work here. The first buildings will be ready for occupancy in around two years and the entire cluster is scheduled for completion in 2025.