Every aspect of sustainability is written large in the city that is considered Germany's most environmentally friendly major city and, indeed, the perfect model for a "green city". So energy + the environment are obvious strengths – but medicine + healthcare, chemicals + pharmaceuticals and technology + innovation are also sectors in which the city excels.
Energy + the environment, or more precisely, the environment and sustainability, could be considered the "natural" areas for research and development in Freiburg. As early as 1992, the city was voted the "Environmental Capital of Germany" and scientists, businesses, politicians and citizens work closely to improve Freiburg's environmental and climate protection policies. Freiburg is something of a "green model" for many towns and cities around the world. As one of the first locations to focus closely on sustainable environmental, solar and biotechnologies, the city has gained decisive advantages over its international competitors. Freiburg is now one of the top ranked cities in the areas of the exploitation and promotion of alternative energies as well as in the expansion of local public transport system - and not just in Germany. Approximately 12,000 people are employed in the environmental and solar economy and Freiburg is also the host and organiser of a whole series of international trade fairs and conferences on the topic of sustainability.
Medicine + healthcare play a key role in Germany's most southerly major city although the major focus is concentrated on healthcare. In 2010, Freiburg participated successfully in the state-wide cluster competition as "Healthcare & Economy Region of Competence". Its achievements are not only impressive in the research and treatment of cancers and immunological diseases, but also in the cooperation between its various medical institutions and between medical institutions and hotels - another interesting and innovative facet of modern health policy.
In Freiburg, chemicals + pharmaceuticals, primarily means life sciences. BioRegio Freiburg was founded in 1996 to promote the biotechnology potential in the region. This was followed in 1998 by the founding of the three national BioValley Associations and the BioValley Central Association. Since 2007, the year of the excellence initiative launched by the University of Freiburg and the opening of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), the region as been one of the top life sciences locations in Germany and Europe. Top level research and outstanding medical products and developments highlight the skills of the institutions and companies operating in the city and its surrounding areas.
Technology + innovation in Freiburg: While companies in this sector in the region have specialised in the production of innovative sensors and sensor solutions, research in the area of microsystems technology has made its mark, too. Several associations and initiatives promote synergy effects and closer links between science and industry.