A graduate’s transition from the university to the workplace presents numerous opportunities for universities and businesses. Compared to the offers already in place for the transition period between school and university, there are relatively few offers specifically designed for the transition from the university to the workplace. This is something that will change in the near future, at least in our region. In a joint effort with Ulm University and the Ulm University of Applied Sciences, the Biberach University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Biberach - HBC) has been successful in a state-sponsored call for projects with a proposal addressing just this issue. The HBC has secured 750,000 euros in funding over a period of two years, with their proposal entitled “InnoTEACH”. The State of Baden-Württemberg received 18 applications, four of which were ultimately selected to receive funding. “The funding enables us to develop joint formats for our graduates, to smoothen their transition into the career world”, says Jens Winter, pro-vice-chancellor for life-long learning at the Biberach University of Applied Sciences.
The university network “InnoSÜD” tightly links the Biberach University of Applied Sciences with Ulm University and the Universities of Applied Sciences in Ulm and Neu-Ulm. The partner universities are working together to position the Danube-Iller-Riss region among the most competitive and innovative regions in Europe. The focus is on the areas of energy, mobility, health, biotechnology and transformation management. In 2018, the universities were successful in the “Innovative University” funding programme, and further successes followed – most recently in the area of business start-ups. The current application adds a new element to the close cooperation between the four partner universities, which makes HBC Vice-Chancellor André Bleicher quite happy: “With InnoTEACH, we are taking the transfer formats we already had in InnoSÜD and applying them to education, making the research network a tangible experience for students as well”. Olga Pollatos, vice president for education at Ulm University, adds, “These projects complement each other perfectly at the universities in the network”.
In the InnoTEACH programme, students will be gaining access to current relevant research projects at the universities, but also to application-oriented problems at participating companies in the region. This can be achieved using a variety of formats, such as project work in companies, lecturer exchanges and mentoring programmes. The close contact to the universities offers especially small and medium-sized businesses access to innovative research and development, as well as low-pressure contact with future graduates. The universities benefit by gaining insights that can be relevant to their own research and teaching through the cooperative projects on real, hands-on challenges. The proposal thus hit the nail on the head with its approach. Minister of Science Theresia Bauer explains: “The linking of science and business is important so that ideas and technologies can quickly become available for industrial application and become effective for our society”. Jens Winter is especially delighted for the students: “At the end of their studies, students will be even more closely connected with the career world of tomorrow. This is very motivating”.
Text: Biberach University of Applied Sciences