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Novartis is a leader in the production of pharmaceuticals. Sandoz, a division of Novartis, is the sole manufacturer of generic antibiotics in the western world. Novartis, based in Kundl/ Schaftenau in Tyrol, Austria, is opening a Life Science Campus in Kundl which will focus on R&D, training and production in the life sciences.

Julia Ager-Gruber, 3 March 2022

In 2021 Novartis announced its intention to develop further its Austrian campus in Kundl/Schaftenau in Tyrol by attracting companies from the life sciences sector. The Life Science Campus will benefit from excellent, competitive production conditions in the heart of Europe, between Switzerland, Italy and Germany. It will be a premier life sciences research, training and production hub.

For the companies located in the Life Science Campus, this offers comprehensive, high-quality services in the areas of facility management, energy supply, engineering, maintenance, logistics and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment, as well as the opportunity to concentrate fully on their core businesses. The further development into a life science park also sends another positive signal for Tyrol as a business location, as Mario Riesner, Managing Director of Novartis Kundl/Schaftenau, explains: “By opening up the site, Novartis is enabling companies to settle here that can benefit from each other. This will create a very diverse industrial location that has great potential for creativity and innovation and will bring even more added value to Tyrol.”

This development underscores the great importance of high-quality training opportunities at the campus, which in the future will be made available not only to Novartis but also to other companies. “In this way, we are sending a strong signal, which also supports the life sciences strategy of the state of Tyrol and the establishment of another health hub”, explains Mario Riesner.

For 67 years, the Novartis site in Kundl/Schaftenau, Tyrol, has been training young people and adults to become highly qualified employees whose know-how contributes significantly to the success of the company. This training will now be expanded and placed on an even broader footing in the future. With WIFI Tyrol (Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitut), a long-standing and professional partner has been gained which will combine WIFI’s extensive expertise in the entire field of vocational training with the decades-long know-how of the Novartis Training Center in the newly founded AXILS GmbH (Academy for Excellence in Life Sciences). The Institute for Economic Development (WIFI) is an Austrian organization for vocational adult education which provides industry-oriented training. They offer over 30 000 courses for around 350 000 participants a year.

“WIFI Tyrol has stood for vocational training in Tyrol for many years. The fact that we are now able to provide increased support to Novartis, a leading Tyrolean company and one of the largest companies involved in the training of skilled workers, underscores our consistent orientation as the education partner for Tyrolean companies. We are pleased to be able to contribute our expertise in securing skilled workers,” explains Manfred Pletzer, Chairman of the WIFI Tyrol Advisory Board and Vice President of the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce.

This creates an option for further training and education not only for Novartis employees but also for companies in the Life Science Campus, as well as for all companies in the region that want to train and further educate their employees in the life sciences.

“The training of apprentices and specialists in the region will be further strengthened and made accessible to more people by bundling competencies and experience. This is not only accompanied by an additional attractiveness of the life sciences location Tyrol, but also concrete incentives are created to meet the further increasing demand for skilled workers,” says Stefan Lackner, Head of Site Development Novartis Kundl/Schaftenau.

WIFI Tyrol is also integrating the Lenzing Training Center as a cooperation partner with many years of experience in vocational training in the chemical sector.  Together with AXILS GmbH, this creates the strongest training partnership in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector in Austria.

“For the special requirements of Novartis and other life sciences companies, we have created a tailor-made and unique education specialist in Tyrol for the life sciences sector with AXILS. In addition, we can now make the extensive range of education offered locally by the WIFI Tyrol even better and more easily accessible – and thus provide Novartis and life sciences companies at the Campus and from the region, unique and complete training programs and full service for all employee and management levels,” explains WIFI Institute Director/Managing Director Paul Vyskovsky, who will in future take over the management of AXILS GmbH together with Michael Öfner, Head of the Novartis Training Center.

In 2021 BASF became the first external company in the Kundl/Schaftenau Life Science Campus and is an important player in the enzyme and biotechnology industry. BASF is investing in a plant for the global production of bacterial enzymes, thus further expanding the production of enzymes and biotech products at the site. The production will start in 2024.

“We view the future positively and look forward to strengthening the site together with BASF and other companies that locate here. In any case, the new Life Science Campus offers ideal conditions for growth. Within the framework of AXILS GmbH this location will also be used for the education and training of a highly qualified workforce for all resident companies” (Mario Riesner, Novartis).

Picture: Novartis Life Science Campus in Kundl, Tyrol in the Austrian Alps. © Novartis
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