Collaborations and Open Innovation

Shaping the future together

Open for open innovation

Innovation is what transformed Siemens from a start-up in a Berlin courtyard into a modern global enterprise.

But innovation doesn’t happen in closed research laboratories anymore. In a world where disruption and change have become the norm, we rely on the power of collaboration: We work together with partners from academia, customers and suppliers in order to turn exciting ideas into innovations and bring them to market.


We do so with the help of an already large network of partners that is constantly growing. With them, we are shaping a bright future - for our Siemens family, for our customers, and for society.


This collaborative approach is also part of the Siemens DNA. Interdisciplinary collaboration, various forms of open innovation like co-ideation and co-creation with customers, suppliers, start-ups, universities and individual experts at a very early stage of development and through the entire lifecycle are already common practice – both internally and externally. This results in products, services and solutions customized optimally to the unique needs of the customer, with customer feedback flowing into the ongoing development.

Peer to Peer

A journey through the Siemens ecosystem

Customers, start-ups, universities, industry partners, technology experts and consortiums: The world in which Siemens practices its culture of innovation is colorful and international.

Fostering tomorrow’s innovations

Next47 is an independent global venture firm committed to turning today's impossible ideas into tomorrow's indispensable industries. Our relationship with Siemens gives us access to international markets, a global customer base, and incomparable technical experience, all of which we use to catalyze our portfolio companies’ growth. We invest in entrepreneurs who think big and in companies that we believe will change the way the world lives and works. The start-ups Next47 is working with are using deep technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, cybersecurity, autonomous transportation, IoT, robotics, advanced manufacturing, AI-powered business applications, and automation technologies to solve industry’s most difficult and fundamental challenges.

Next47 has offices in Bangalore, Beijing, Herzliya, London, Munich, Palo Alto, Paris and Stockholm. Dual headquarters in Munich and Palo Alto.

The world as a laboratory for ideas

The “Siemens Innovation Ecosystem” invites people from all over the world to become part of an open culture of interaction and co-creation and to shape the future together with the power of Siemens. The ecosystem is a global innovation network that brings people together on a digital platform to drive innovation together.

Transparent gateway

In order to facilitate the unobvious or unused solutions to upcoming challenges, we need to find ways of identifying and facilitating innovation from all possible sources. Two gateways provide access to the Siemens Supplier Innovation world.


The Siemens Supplier Innovation Plattform is a virtual exhibition which is providing an interface for new connections to suppliers of today and the future. It offers access to all companies to actively shape Siemens’ next product generation in concrete Innovation Fields by introducing themselves as a potential supplier with their innovative product proposals.

Where bright minds shine

High-tech open innovation in the heart of Munich: The Siemens AI Lab offers a coworking space in which experts can test the feasibility of new ideas in the trending field of artificial intelligence. Here, the central Siemens research department works closely with the company’s business units and external innovators.

The open, cloud-based IoT operating system

MindSphere is the open, cloud-based Siemens operating system for the internet of things. The “platform as a service” (PaaS) serves as a hub for developing, running, and hosting applications and digital services. This makes it possible to quickly and efficiently capture and analyze the vast amount of data generated by a plant, site, or major piece of infrastructure. The result is a better optimization. MindSphere also provides a quick, cost-effective gateway where customers can get results quickly.


MindSphere World is a forum for all those who want to drive and participate in this rapid development - for all users of the MindSphere ecosystem.

Co-creation with customers

In the MindSphere Application Centers, Siemens works alongside customers to develop new business models, digital solutions and services, and applications for various industries based on MindSphere. That’s why MindSphere Application Centers are located close to our customers and why each one focuses on a specific industry. The aim is to offer digital solutions that add genuine value to our customers’ businesses.


The template for this was the Siemens Mobility Data Services Center opened in 2014 in Allach outside Munich, where a team of digital experts was established to derive added value from the data generated by trains. The team applies state-of-the-art data analytics to generate models and insights that help customers optimize their processes. The result is enhanced visibility of the condition and performance of the systems, better reliability and availability, and considerable gains in efficiency.

Actively shaping the future

Preliminary standardization and its interactions with the innovation and patent strategy support the strategic backup of Siemens’ business goals. The experts at Technology (T) monitor and analyze various innovative topics internally and externally to anticipate any possible need for action in the area of standardization. The topics are evaluated in collaboration with the business units and regional companies, and standardization projects are selected on issues such as security, 5G, W3C, etc.


Experts also systematically monitor and evaluate consortiums and forums and provide information on objectives, scope, and participants.

University Relations

Partnering with universities

Proven and new forms of bilateral partnership allow for the greatest possible sharing of knowledge.

Alongside traditional contract research, Siemens works closely with universities and research institutions around the world on publicly funded research and innovation projects.


Since almost two decades we have been running a strategic partner university program which is tailored to the needs of both Siemens and academia. We collaborate with 25 leading universities worldwide, reinforcing our innovative strength and winning over new talents for the Siemens of tomorrow.


The dialog with university students includes idea competitions and hackathons, industry-sponsored doctorates for graduates at Siemens, and university teaching positions for Siemens employees. Siemens also sits on various academic bodies, where it seeks to better fuse industrial and academic requirements.

International alliances

Collaboration is taking on increasingly interactive forms: Beyond its strict focus on R&D, Siemens is involved in international, cross-university alliances.

Research “co-locations” and “living labs” allow professors, Siemens experts, and students to interact and familiarize themselves with Siemens products and technologies up close. An interdisciplinary approach, especially in the field of digital technology, is becoming increasingly important. Siemens shares its industry expertise and its knowledge of industry needs in the development of new curricula in the forward-looking technologies of AI, cybersecurity, and IoT. Siemens is actively driving forward new partnerships with academic incubators, keeping its finger on the pulse of the times so as not to miss out on important technological developments and trends.

„Center of Knowledge Interchange“ (CKI)

Academia meets industry

The Center of Knowledge Interchange (CKI) is the flagship program of scientific collaboration at Siemens. CKI gives Siemens access to state-of-the-art research and a highly qualified talent pool. The universities, in turn, can carry out research projects based on real-world issues, opening up valuable career opportunities for their graduates.

The CKI program enables a lively dialog between the industrial and academic worlds. In the CKI office, an on-campus expert financed by Siemens (CKI Manager) manages the partnership in ongoing exchange with a dedicated team of Siemens research and talent acquisition experts. At the management level, an Executive Sponsor from the Siemens top management maintains a personal dialog with the CKI Director and the university administration. Master research contracts in place with all CKI universities make it easy to launch new research projects quickly with a minimum of bureaucracy.

The Siemens CKI program currently involves partnerships with eight universities around the world whose research portfolios meet the company’s innovation requirements in various research fields:

FAU and Siemens are linked by a close network of experts—the result of over 75 years of trusting collaboration. Joint research activities include manufacturing automation, materials science and power electronics. The Campus Future Energy Systems (“Campus FES”) is the collaborative research effort of Siemens and its partners FAU, Fraunhofer IISB, Nuremberg Tech, KIT, Energie Campus Nürnberg, and the Helmholtz Institute into the sustainability and efficiency of future energy grids.


Solutions for protecting the climate

They develop technical solutions to protect the climate: Chemical Engineer Professor Peter Wasserscheid of Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg as well as Alexander Tremel, Katharina Meltzer and Manfred Baldauf from Siemens have invented a new synthetic process that offers a very effective method for creating the fuel methanol from hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO₂). Siemens has awarded them as Inventors of the Year 2019 in the category Open Innovation.

TU Munich has collaborated with Siemens on innovative ideas for industry and society for over 150 years, making it the company’s longest-running CKI partner university. One focus of their joint research is the future of automation. Siemens partners with TUM, LMU, Fraunhofer AISEC, and DFKI through the “Campus Automation & Digitalization” (Campus A&D) research network. The researchers collaborate on both bilateral and publicly funded projects on topics such as Simulation & Digital Twin, Industrial IoT and Cyber Security.

The scientific collaboration between TU Berlin and Siemens is centered entirely around Berlin’s digital ecosystem. Joint research topics include the Internet of Things,  machine learning, energy efficiency, and additive manufacturing. Through the “Werner-von-Siemens Center for Industry and Science”, research is practiced within a co-location approach. Siemens, TU Berlin and several SMEs as well as other research partners are working peer to peer right where products come into being.

Amid the open campus environment of the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH), Siemens is working with RWTH to tackle the great challenges of the future. Research focusses on the digitalization of production, alternative manufacturing processes, new ways of energy production and innovative energy grids. The “Exzellenz Start-Up Center.NRW” offers Siemens new possibilities to collaborate with agile academic start-ups.

The success of the long lasting cooperation between Siemens and TU Graz in rail technology is due to the strategic fit of both organizations. Collaboration is being expanded in the university´s excellence areas of Cybersecurity, IIoT, Rail Research und energy management, in conjunction with Comptence Centers located on campus. Last but not least, the advantage of the location plays a crucial role, with Styria being one of the top R&D regions in the European Union.


Tsinghua University is Siemens‘  most important academic partner in Asia.  Joint research activities include robotics, AI, Cybersecurity and Power Electronics. Through public funding & Tsinghua´s university network, new technology demonstration opportunities are created in the region.

With Siemens locations near and on campus, Georgia Tech graduates one of the largest diverse future workforces trained and ready to tackle the challenges and needs of industry. Joint research activities include Robotics, Data analytics, AI, Systems Design, Simulation and Digital Twin.

UC Berkeley is Siemens’ window into the innovation ecosystem of the bay area and towards excellent graduates.  Joint research activities include Robotics, Simulation, Deep Learning and Augmented/Virtual Reality.


Other partner universities worldwide

Principal Partner Universities

The CKI program is complemented by a second partnership model with 17 more universities: the Principal Partner Universities. The partnership is facilitated by master research agreements and special Siemens contact persons on working and management level. Like the CKI program, the Principal Partner University program has an international focus. The partner universities are located in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the US, China, the UK, and Denmark.