Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Johann Löhn is honorary trustee of the Steinbeis Foundation. Between 1983 and 2004 he acted as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Steinbeis Foundation. Until 2006 he was Government Commissioner for Technology Transfer in the State of Baden-Württemberg. It was Löhn that built up the network of “Transfer Centers” based on a model he developed called “LöhnMethode (L°°)”. Hand-in-hand with this came the concept of transfer entrepreneurship, a cornerstone that created the Steinbeis Foundation as it is today – a global knowledge and technology transfer corporation.
Löhn was born near Hamburg in 1936. After completing his physics studies, he obtained a doctoral degree at the University of Hamburg (1967). He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Furtwangen University of Applied Science (the FHF, known today as Furtwangen University) in 1977. In this role he headed up the 1982 Working Party for Technology Transfer under the auspices of the Baden-Württemberg Research Commission. Based on his experience and his exposure to the management of so-called technical consulting services at the FHF, Löhn developed what was to become the first integrated model aimed at transferring technology into business, based on standalone, commercial methods. It was this that led to his 1983 appointment by the Baden-Württemberg Minister-President at the time, Lothar Späth, as Baden-Württemberg Government Commissioner for Technology Transfer.
As first Chairman of the new Steinbeis Foundation, Löhn tapped into the infrastructure offered by the existing non-profit organization constituted under civil law. Until this point it had been underpinned by a foundation capital of 67,000 deutschmarks. Its main aim was to manage the 16 Technical Consulting Services based at Universities of Applied Science in Baden-Württemberg. To turn his vision into reality, the foundation capital was topped up with funds from the Baden-Württemberg state bank Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg in 1983. Löhn was so convinced by his concept of self-funding technology transfer that he subsequently turned down institutional backing then offered by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Economic Affairs.
Löhn successfully headed up the Steinbeis Foundation until 2004. From 1998 onwards this was in parallel to his responsibilities for Steinbeis GmbH & Co. KG für Technologietransfer. Today, he is President of Steinbeis University Berlin which he has overseen since its foundation in 1998. He is also a member of various supervisory boards in industry. In honor of his achievements, the Steinbeis Foundation has awarded the annual Löhn Award in recognition of outstanding projects in technology transfer since 2004.