Fraunhofer ISIT participates in new alliance for cutting-edge research in Schleswig-Holstein

Presseinformation /

Increasing innovative strength, preventing a shortage of skilled workers, exploiting synergies. Schleswig-Holstein has enormous research and development potential. And there are many opportunities to map value chains from basic research to technology development in the state between the seas. The top research institutions in Schleswig-Holstein - including Fraunhofer ISIT - are now moving closer together to achieve this. This week, they founded the "Alliance for Top Research in Schleswig-Holstein" by signing a corresponding declaration of intent.

© Eric Shambroom Photography / Fraunhofer ISIT
Dr. Axel Müller-Groeling, Director of Fraunhofer ISIT, looks to the future and welcomes the founding of the Alliance for Cutting-Edge Research in Schleswig-Holstein

The alliance includes 14 universities, non-university research institutions and the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). The goal of the new alliance is to establish inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation and intensive collaboration on overarching research and organizational topics. Thus, novel forms of joint promotion of young researchers, the establishment of a dual-career network, the joint use of research platforms as well as the integration of stakeholders and the establishment of think tanks for current issues in politics, economy and society are planned.

In the first phase, the network will focus on career support for promising scientists, career prospects for research partners, and the topics of digitization and artificial intelligence. In this way, a joint network for career promotion is to be established. Joint efforts to attract excellent young scientists are to be made through the exchange of job advertisements and joint appearances at career fairs.

"The establishment of such an alliance in Schleswig-Holstein is overdue. We are thus giving science a strong voice in dealing with major social projects," says the President of Kiel Christian Albrechts University (CAU), Professor Lutz Kipp, outlining the goal. In addition to the science policy dimension of the new alliance, the aim is to find solutions to major challenges in the fields of education, energy, nutrition, peace, health, artificial intelligence and digitization and the environment and implement them with partners.

"Science must become more pragmatic, smarter and internationally more visible in its collaboration in order to keep Schleswig-Holstein competitive as a science location in national and international competition," adds CAU Vice President Professor Karin Schwarz. In this context, the alliance attaches great importance to a strongly networked cooperation with Hamburg. This strengthens the north in the nationwide competition for national and European funding.

Science Minister Karin Prien also praised the initiative: "The 'Alliance for Excellence in Research' is an idea that CAU had already introduced in its application for funding as a university of excellence. I am pleased that the university has continued to pursue this good idea. This alliance will not only support CAU on its successful path, but will also advance Schleswig-Holstein as a research location as a whole and further promote the necessary networking with top-level research."

Joint Task Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence

In the area of digitization, the partners are particularly aiming for deeper and close cooperation via consortia for the national research data infrastructure (NFDI) in order to meet the upcoming challenges in this area. "Networked research data and information infrastructures are conceivable, for example. Closer cooperation is also recommended for other digitization topics such as artificial intelligence applications," the head of the ZBW - Leibniz Information Center for Economics (Kiel/Hamburg) Professor Klaus Tochtermann looks ahead.

"In materials and coastal research, the focus will gradually shift from experiments to systematic (AI-based) simulations and predictions based on them in the coming years," emphasizes Professor Matthias Rehahn, Scientific Director of Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. "The Alliance for Leading-Edge Research in Schleswig-Holstein synergistically bundles the relevant competencies in the north."

Acquire excellent professionals

Certified as a family-friendly university, the University of Lübeck (UzL) supports the life partners or spouses of newly appointed professors upon request. Since 2018, the UzL, like the CAU, has been a member of the Dual Career Network Germany and in spring 2019 joined the regional network 'Dual Career Hamburg and the North', which was newly founded in Hamburg. The counseling of clients is based on the quality standards and ethical guidelines developed in the network. If required, dual career counseling is also offered at management level in the administrative area. "In its alliance for top-level research, the University of Lübeck, together with the CAU and other research institutions, is striving to establish a dual career network in Schleswig-Holstein," announces UzL President Professor Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach.

Networking is a prerequisite for excellence in the north

"We very much welcome the fact that the new alliance will now strategically align and expand Fraunhofer ISIT's already successful collaborations with many research institutions in Schleswig-Holstein across the state," says Fraunhofer ISIT Director Dr. Axel Müller-Groeling. "We hope to see a much more intensive and diverse exchange of scientists between our institute and the other partners in the alliance in the future."

Professor Gabriel Felbermayr, President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), also knows that the structured networking of different competencies and scientific success are closely related: "Research has long since become a team discipline; lone wolves are increasingly falling behind. Interdisciplinary cooperation in particular helps to develop practical decision-making bases for politics, business and society. The Alliance for Leading-Edge Research in Schleswig-Holstein therefore strengthens the science location in the north immensely."

"Without the intensive cooperation between CAU, Geomar, the Research Center Borstel, the University of Lübeck and the Max Planck Institute, it would not have been possible to become an international leader in evolutionary biology and to attract excellent young scientists from all over the world to Schleswig-Holstein every year," agrees Professor Diethard Tautz, Director Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (Plön).

"Excellent research needs a common culture to make the regional research landscape particularly productive for all partners," agrees Professor Stefan Ehlers, Center Director at the Leibniz Lung Center in Borstel. "The Alliance for Excellence gives visible expression - beyond interdisciplinary collaborations in research projects - to this shared self-image of a supportive enabling culture for science."“

Medicine of the future

"Contemporary university medicine is characterized by differentiation and proliferation of medical and nursing fields of knowledge," says Professor Jens Scholz, Chairman of the Board of UKSH. "For forward-looking therapies, we are increasingly dependent on specialists in information technology, physics, biochemistry and countless other fields. Only by working together with experts from the academic community can we take on the challenges of researching the diseases of the 21st century and win races against time - as in the current Corona pandemic." In this sense, the new alliance is a strong sign of new beginnings and of the excellent standards we set for our own work.

The Alliance for Top Research in Schleswig-Holstein

Founding members: Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH (European XFEL, Schenefeld), Forschungszentrum Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center (FZB, Borstel), GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG, Geesthacht), Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN, Kiel), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology (MPI Plön), Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts (Kiel), University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), University of Lübeck (UzL), ZBW - Leibniz Information Center for Economics (Kiel/Hamburg), Center for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology (ZBSA, Schleswig), Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT, Itzehoe).