Leaving Medical Legacies in Hamburg

Take a refurbished and renovated convention centre, CCH – Congress Center Hamburg (pictured), due to reopen in 2020, a city that is systematically building on its cluster industries, some amazing infrastructural features, as well as a long track record of hosting conferences in the medical field and you’ll get a winning combination worth deep-dive into.

In the past decade much of Hamburg, one of Germany’s most prosperous cities, has revitalized and reinvented itself. New venues, hotels and office buildings rose from the ground and gentrified the former, often quite bleak, riverside warehouse districts – HafenCity is considered to this day Europe’s largest and most innovative urban redevelopment site. A stone’s throw away lies the restored Speicherstadt area, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron designed Elbphilharmonie, an awe-inspiring 12-story glass structure set on top of a former brick warehouse overlooking the Elbe River on the western tip of HafenCity – its inauguration made headline news, and rightly so.

Medical hub

As Hamburg Convention Bureau is busy profiling the city as a medical hub, so is the soon-to-reopen CCH – Congress Center Hamburg. “In Hamburg, there’s definitely a whole-of-a-city approach to association congresses,” says Heike Mahmoud, COO of the new CCH. “We work closely with scientists, professors, and academia to help leverage the knowledge we have here. Our objective is to create a network of excellence, and position our beautiful destination as a science hub, and the best place for knowledge exchange and best practice sharing in the context of international conferences. The new CCH will be the ideal platform to do just that.” 

With an internationally renowned system of doctors and hospitals as well as a nearly unmatched density of medical practices, Hamburg is among Europe’s leading cities in the healthcare industry. More than 169,000 people and counting work in Hamburg’s healthcare sector – actually no less than one out of seven employees working in the city! The metropolitan region includes a total of 79 hospitals, including many internationally-renowned specialists’ clinics, among whom as many as 12,500 practitioners, dentists and psychotherapists. Over the past decade, the gross value added by Hamburg’s healthcare sector has increased steadily by an average of more than 4 percent annually and now amounts to more than €9.6 billion.

Focusing on various health-related topics such as e-health, health and ageing, education and innovation as well as corporate health management, Hamburg’s healthcare cluster is managed by Gesundheitswirtschaft Hamburg GmbH (GWHH), a subsidiary of the City of Hamburg and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. The aim is to position and strengthen Hamburg as a healthcare location that ensures good medical care, meets the requirements for qualified staff and leverages the opportunities created by digitization. To do so, the cluster initiates cross-sectoral and cross-industry activities and projects that are intended to increase the potential for growth, employment, system innovations and quality of care.

In this context, the Life Science Nord cluster also aims to develop an internationally leading life sciences network within the region and to harness the potential of integrating the areas of business, science and politics. This particular cluster mainly focuses on biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical technology.

Congress wins

It comes hardly as a surprise, then, that Hamburg is securing one medical congress after another, including the 2021 annual congress of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS), which is due to attract around 3,000 specialists to the city. Prof. Dr Manfred Westphal, EANS Member and EANS2021 Congress President, from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) explains: It is a great success that we have been able to win the bid for the EANS congress with this second attempt. For the UKE, this congress is an opportunity to demonstrate the strong and extensive expertise we have here at the UKE.” Heike Mahmoud adds: “I’m positive that, with the highly attractive new CCH – Congress Center Hamburg and its long tradition and vast experience, Hamburg will play an even more important role in the field of medical congresses in the future.”

Another major win is the 2021 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), the largest global gathering of stem cell scientists, which will bring about 4,000 researchers from around the world to the CCH as well. The successful bid was put together by the Life Science Nord (LSN) cluster, Fraunhofer IME ScreeningPort, the Hamburg Ministry for Science, Research and Equality (BWFG), the Hamburg Convention Bureau (HCB) and the CCH – Congress Center Hamburg, demonstrating all stakeholders always work hand in hand to put Hamburg even more strongly on the medical meetings map.

With a robust scientific programme featuring top scientists presenting and discussing the latest findings in stem cell research, the ISSCR annual meeting is – once again – testament to Hamburg’s pronounced expertise in this area of medicine.“We look forward to bringing the meeting to Hamburg, a beautiful city in Germany, where there is a vibrant scientific community,”said ISSCR CEO Nancy Witty. “A number of research groups have collaborated in putting together a terrific venue to showcase the latest in stem cell research.”

This article was written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé. More information on Hamburg: Heike.Mahmoud@cch.de/ the-new-cch.com/ hamburg-messe.com. The right to use, part or all of it in subsequent works has to be granted by the Publisher.

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