Günter Beck

Five questions for Günter Beck

Mainz has become the center of global attention thanks to the success of its biotechnology industry. The city of Mainz intends to seize this positive momentum and further the development of its life science and biotechnology hub. An interview with city mayor Günter Beck.

Photo: City of Mainz

How important is the life science and biotechnology industry in Mainz?

BECK: The eyes of the world were rightly on our city following the industry’s contribution to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, with the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech SE. 

Mainz is a life science and biotechnology hub and has been home to a high-performance ecosystem featuring major players in the industry for a number of years now. With a variety of key life science providers based here — notably Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck and Schott AG, alongside BioNTech — Mainz and the surrounding region is exceptionally well positioned. 

Other life science and biotechnology companies, as well as suppliers, are also close by, making significant contributions to the growth of the industry. Educational and research facilities create a sound knowledge base and are one of the main factors in the success of both the companies operating here and the city of Mainz itself.


How does the city intend to build on this positive momentum?

BECK: The unprecedented success we have seen over the past few years drives us to continue developing our vision of an end-to-end life science and biotechnology hub. The aim now is to achieve further growth and consolidate more expertise in the concerted pursuit of our common goal.

Mainz should continue to play host to the scientific revolution in these forward-looking technologies, for the benefit of all of us. That is why we are developing and positioning the life science and biotechnology hub in Mainz into a location of international standing.

»The unprecedented success we have seen over the past few years drives us to continue developing our vision of an end-to-end life science and biotechnology hub.«

What makes the location so attractive to start-ups and businesses?

BECK: The outstanding quality of the University Medical Center in Mainz was and remains a key reason why talented people have been coming to the city for so many years — as the team behind BioNTech have clearly proven. We want other founders to experience the same success and are investing in the future of Mainz.

We also intend to give established businesses the opportunity to expand here and want attract other stakeholders in the industry to the city. 

Our focus is on developing the biotechnology campus on the land earmarked for university expansion and the site of the former GFZ military barracks. New start-ups and companies from the life sciences and biotechnology industry can use this space as a base to establish themselves. Meanwhile, existing businesses will find a place for further growth.

Besides the city’s specific benefits, the unique “Mainzvibes” are also seen as a particular asset. What does it refer to exactly?

BECK: Mainz can trace its history back over 2,000 years and has strong foundations based on tradition and a rich culture. But it is also a young and dynamic university city. This combination is a key aspect of how we live our lives here. 

The Mainzvibes are an expression of the unique culture that arises as a result. They are founded on camaraderie, open-mindedness, warmth and a down-to-earth attitude. This way of living make the city lively and attractive. 

It also creates an environment that is open to new ideas, promotes innovation and entrepreneurship and offers room for growth. These Mainzvibes are a special quality that you sense when you live and work in our wonderful city.

Where do you see Mainz as a life science and biotechnology hub in ten years?

BECK: My vision is that Mainz offers a life science and biotechnology hub of international standing in the industry. It should be intertwined with the city and the region, bringing together the expertise of myriad stakeholders and forming a biotechnology cluster in which founders, entrepreneurs and researchers can thrive off one another and create groundbreaking innovations that benefit us all. 

The biotechnology campus has evolved into a vibrant and attractive part of the city, as well as a breeding ground for innovation of the highest standard. The campus has also become a prime example of how to combine climate action and urban development sustainably, and is a guiding light for the rest of the city’s development.