Press Release

Bio-intelligence: new ideas for a sustainable future

11 November 2021

  • ZEISS is a founding member of the Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz e.V. and will support the value creation and innovations developed with biointelligence.
  • Together with leading research institutions from the Stuttgart area, ZEISS intends to advance the sustainable transformation of the economy and society.
Oberkochen, Germany | 11 November 2021 | ZEISS Group

On 25 June 2021, ZEISS signed the charter for the Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz e.V. together with research institutions from the Stuttgart area. Other participants include the University of Stuttgart and the University of Hohenheim as well as the NMI in Reutlingen and the Fraunhofer-Institutes IPA, IGB, IAO, IBP in Stuttgart. The goal of the non-profit association is to establish biointelligence as a core component for transforming the economy and society, and to profoundly change products, manufacturing processes and organizations in the future through the systematic application of know-how about biological processes.

ZEISS is already active in the three fields underpinning biointelligence ‒ the life sciences, quality control in manufacturing, and the semiconductor industry. Optics and photonics will also be a core technology for bio-intelligence. Thus, the company can and intends to support the providers of bio-based concepts, approaches and innovations with its technologies.

Taking nature as a model

The term biointelligence refers to the biological transformation of industry through the increasing use of materials, structures, processes and organisms found in living nature and deploying these in technology. "Biointelligence opens up a new realm for innovation, and we need this because a comprehensive transformation of industry is not possible with just the manufacturing technologies and value-added chains available today," says Dr. Michael Totzeck from ZEISS Corporate Research and Technology and member of the managing board of the Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz.

The potential of biointelligence includes sustainable innovations like manufacturing that requires fewer materials, recyclable or biologically degradable products, and intelligent, self-repairing and self-adapting materials.

"Biointelligence will fundamentally change how we live by enabling the transformation toward sustainable ways of thinking, acting and engaging in economic activity that are climate friendly and protect nature," says Totzeck. "Now is the right time to support biointelligence as the basis for further innovations in Germany and to seize this opportunity."

ZEISS technologies pave the way for the transformation

The development and establishment of new biological and bio-inspired approaches, processes and technologies require the right tools. "ZEISS is well positioned to advance the increased networking between bio, manufacturing and information technologies with regard to biointelligence," says Totzeck.

A decisive factor for sustainable innovation is not just economic viability but also positive economic, ecological and social impacts. "As a foundation company, ZEISS has already made these goals an integral part of its business activity," says Totzeck. "The Competency Center's focus on developing bio-based solutions and transferring these to industry in order improve the living conditions of humanity aligns with our ambition to realize sustainable business practices."

About the Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz e.V.

The Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz e.V. is the umbrella organization of a research network that was established in 2019. 40 researchers cooperate intensively and pursue an interdisciplinary approach at the Competency Center in order to shape the biological transformation.

As part of its outreach, the Competency Center offers public events, talks and discussions on topics related to the biological transformation and regularly publishes posts on its blog. A working group with representatives from industry is currently being established.

You will find more information on the webpage of the Kompetenzzentrum Biointelligenz.


Further information

Press contact Jörg Nitschke Head of Corporate Brand and Communications ZEISS Group


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the optics and optoelectronics industries. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 6.3 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2020).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces, and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, as well as medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 12% of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 34,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG  (status: 31 March 2021).

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