Together with its stakeholders, the Cluster Medizin.NRW develops, initiates and supports so-called lighthouses. These lighthouses serve as central networking and organizational platforms and form:

  • a common umbrella for strategic issues,
  • the starting point for position papers and white papers,
  • the framework for joint applications for funding, and
  • the basis for joint collaborative projects and infrastructures.

The establishment of lighthouses is based on the results of our strategy process and is also in line with the recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities. A relatively broad thematic lineup of lighthouses enables a wide range of stakeholders to participate and network.

Initiation of specific projects

Lighthouses are oriented toward overarching themes and regularly generate specific projects from participating stakeholders. For this purpose, project groups can be formed to further advance and pursue a specific topic.

Illustraion eines Leuchtturms
Lighthouses are central points of orientation.
© Adobe Stock


The CVD.NRW lighthouse is dedicated to the topic of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The lighthouse was further developed in 2020 by the cluster from the previous initiative “A Heart for NRW”.


The KliFoNet.NRW lighthouse is dedicated to clinical research and the topic of clinical trials in NRW. The lighthouse started its work in 2020.


The Digital.Medicine.NRW lighthouse addresses the trend and future topic of digital medicine and supports interdisciplinary networking in this field. The lighthouse was launched in spring 2021.

Initial situation

In the thematic analysis carried out as part of the strategy process, it became clear that NRW already has a thematic focus on the topic of cardiovascular diseases due to its excellent research landscape. In addition, a high level of expertise and excellence in the field of cancer research could also be identified in NRW. The topics of digitization, artificial intelligence and human-technology interaction were identified as a further important complex of topics with relevant critical mass in NRW for networking via a lighthouse. However, there is an enormously large overlap between the players in these three topics.

In addition to thematic focal points, NRW has enormous potential as a location for clinical trials due to its dense hospital landscape, the large number of (coordinating) centers for clinical trials, and its large population. However, there is not yet sufficient networking between the players and locations.

In the past, various lighthouse projects have already been initiated and pursued. These were dedicated to the following topics:

  • Ein Herz für NRW: The activities of the lighthouse project “Ein Herz für NRW” aimed to develop cardiac substructures that would ultimately be brought together as a common vision as a biohybrid heart.
  • SmartHealthData.NRW: In this lighthouse project, approaches of medical information technologies, personalized medicine and patient-oriented care research were to be systematically linked to enable digital innovations through the use of patient data.
  • MobileConnectedHealth.NRW: This lighthouse project focused on the development and translation of innovative solutions to support citizens’ health actions and patients’ medical care through the use of mobile devices.
  • Nerven.Sinne.Technik.NRW: This lighthouse project focused on the development and translation of interactive solutions in the relationship between humans and technology, especially in the field of neuroscience and sensor technology.