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Success in the national competition Innovative Hochschule
Some 15 million euros funding for the Universities of Applied Sciences in Biberach, Neu-Ulm, Ulm and Ulm University

Ulm University

The alliance InnoSüd of the Universities of Applied Sciences Biberach (HBC)Neu-Ulm (HNU)Ulm and Ulm University convinced the judges in the federal and state funding initiative Innovative Hochschule. The alliance of the four universities in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria receives around 15 million euros funding for the expansion of the knowledge and technology transfer. The goal: the development of the Danube-Iller region to one of Europe's leading innovation regions within the next five years.

'In collaboration with partners from economy and society, the university alliance InnoSüd will bring together academic knowledge with the know-how of economy and society to develop new ideas and innovations that benefit everyone and strengthen the region,' says Prof. Dr. Uta M. Feser, President of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU). The alliance has the three Universities of Applied Sciences and Ulm University join forces in terms of their research competences, where they draw on successful joint projects in research and teaching.

The focus in research and knowledge transfer lies on topics of the future like biotechnology, energy, mobility and transformation management, which reflect the economic structure of the Danube-Iller region. An ongoing exchange between the universities of the InnoSüd alliance and economy, politics and society, generates new ideas and innovative, which strengthens the region as innovation region long-term. The plan for the next five years: to support spin-offs and realise reality laboratories as well as research and technology projects in collaboration with businesses in the region.

Higher education institutions of the region join forces 

'We realised quickly that an alliance with the other universities could increase our chances for success. Biberach University of Applied Sciences therefore initiated the joint application. I was delighted when our partners entrusted us with the lead role.  The success of the application allowed us to repay this credit of trust,' says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Vogel, President of Biberach University of Applied Sciences (HBC), which coordinates the alliance. He currently counts predominantly on the signal effect of the cooperation project.

'The competition called not for a standard solution but a search process to generate effective, innovative solutions,' explains Prof. Dr. André Bleicher, Vice President of HBC. Together the universities have made substantial efforts to design the requested transfer - in an unusual and novel way indeed. Firstly, the four universities see themselves as a dynamic regional innovation system, and secondly, it is a matter of dialogue-based innovation processes: Both academics with extensive practical experience and academically interested practitioners bring their knowledge to the table. 'InnoSüd will combine technological and non-technological disciplines and has its focus on regional development,' says Bleicher. 'This allows us to expand the potentials for inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration in the sense of a civic university, with the objective of a sustainable transformation of the region.'

President of Ulm University of Applied Sciences Prof. Dr. Volker Reuter is happy that InnoSüd prevailed in the national competition: 'I see this alliance as a great chance to utilise science for our region even more and we can demonstrate that we contribute greatly as a part of society.'

Faster transfer of research results into industry application

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Weber, President of Ulm University, regards the alliance InnoSüd as a a holder of great potential for the innovative capacity of the region: 'The bundling of the very practice-oriented research of the Universities of Applied Sciences with the more fundamental scientific work of Ulm University makes the alliance particularly powerful. Together we want to transfer research results even faster into industry application and thus strengthen globally active businesses, but also and particularly small and medium-sized businesses in the region.'

The competition attracted 118 applications from smaller universities and other higher education institutions - 29 projects were selected to receive funding: 48 universities with 19 individual and 10 joint projects. InnoSüd kicks off with the realisation of the transfer projects on 1 January 2018. The alliance has some 15 million euros funding at their hands over the next five years. A transfer agency is in charge of the planning, management and organisation of the activities of the alliance.

The federal and state funding initiative Innovative Hochschule:
Innovative Hochschule is complementary to the Excellence Strategy and addresses smaller universities. The federal and state funding initiative has a volume of up to 550 million euros and pursues the - in addition to research and teaching - third mission 'Transfer and Innovation'.

Text: Alliance InnoSüd

Media contact (Ulm University): Annika Bingmann

Ulm University (photo: Elvira Eberhardt)