Healthy living and the healthcare sector

Current profile

The healthcare sector is one of Thuringia’s strongest drivers of employment and growth and constitutes an exceptionally important component of the regional economy. The field of specialization “Healthy living and the healthcare sector” comprises the following thematic areas: medical technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, food industry, and healthcare.

A wide range of topics associated with the topic of “healthy living” are addressed by this industry.  Thanks to its traditional strengths in the field of optics, Thuringia ranks as a global innovation leader in the fields of microscopy, laser technology, and ophthalmology, for example.  New thematic areas such as infection research and aging research have also established themselves in recent years, and the results achieved have earned international recognition.  The production of pharmaceutical products is another key field of competence for Thuringia.

When it comes to the food industry, expertise has been accumulated in thematic areas such as “healthy nutrition” and “prevention of nutrition-based cardiovascular diseases.”  At the interdisciplinary level, efforts are being made to address the societal issues associated with modern lifestyles and the challenges of demographic changes – such as social inclusion and health & wellness at the workplace, respectively operational health management – and to raise corresponding public awareness.

Scientific competence in the field: This is provided by Thuringia’s six institutions of higher learning (three universities and three universities of applied sciences), 15 research institutions, and two technology & startup centers, as well as by the 26 clinics and polyclinics of the Jena University Hospital (Source: State Development Corporation of Thuringia (LEG Thüringen) / medways e. V., data for 2013).

Thuringia’s Beutenberg Campus has become an internationally prominent location for research and development.  The campus hosts 3,000 scientists and technicians working for ten academic and extramural institutions as well as over 50 enterprises under the motto: "Where life sciences meet physics.”  

Key economic data for this field of specialization:

•    Turnover: € 7,445,352,000
•    Number of operations: 8,530
•    Size of the workforce (employees subject to compulsory social insurance contributions): 163,640

Source: based on TLS data (data for 2019) 


The social challenges posed by globalization and the demographic shift towards aging populations are of particular significance for the field of specialization “Healthy living and the healthcare sector.”  Thus, the following thematic focuses have been derived:

  • Healthy aging and disease prevention: Demographic change is accompanied by a higher incidence of geriatric medical conditions and by the need to sustain people’s earning capacity and ability to perform.
  • As global standards of living rise, higher incidences of various medical conditions as well as steadily rising demands on the quality and design of medical products and foodstuffs are the result, along with increasing cost pressure.  
  • Rising global mobility increases the risk of infectious epidemics and the spread of multi-resistant pathogens.

In light of these factors, Thuringia’s innovation activities in the field of specialization “Healthy living and the healthcare sector” focus on the following topics:

  • Medical technology,
  • In-vitro diagnostics / analytics,
  • Healthy living / aging,
  • Nutrition, and
  • Pharmaceuticals.

Vision and strategic objectives

The vision defined by the Innovation Strategy together with the strategic objectives form the basis on which this particular Working Group operates.

Healthcare innovations “made in Thuringia” are sought-after throughout the world and, thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, give rise to end-to-end value-added chains:

  • Existing, widely recognized achievements and leadership in analytics, diagnostics, and infection research as well as medical technology are being built upon and are being used as role models for the further development of the overall field of specialization.  Promising niches are being identified and filled duly taking account of competences available in related fields of specialization.
  • The close cooperation between high-end research institutions and the local economy are providing a basis for the development of innovative anti-infection strategies to combat infectious diseases.  This in turn is giving participating enterprises the opportunity to develop and market effective strategies and products that bridge the gap between diagnosis and therapy.  
  • Thuringia is reclaiming its historic position as a hub for innovative pharmaceuticals.  
  • In the food industry, Thuringia is distributing healthful produce and food products from the region to the German and European markets.  Here, the emphasis is on boosting innovation capacity and competitiveness through the development of new processes and products.
  • The healthcare sector in Thuringia is a sought-after employer that promotes a healthy work / life balance while contributing added value through its health & wellness services.  


[Translate to Englisch:] Dr. Britta Wlotzka

Dr. Britta Wlotzka

Specialization healthy living and the healthcare sector

Mainzerhofstraße 12
99084 Erfurt

0361 5603-472
0361 5603-328
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[Translate to Englisch:] Dr. Robert Weigelt

Dr. Robert Weigelt

Team Leader Thuringian ClusterManagement

Mainzerhofstraße 12
99084 Erfurt

0361 5603-353
0361 5603-328
write an email