North American University Delegation Visits Schüco, HSBI and CITEC: Impressed by Work-Integrated Studies, Transfer and Sustainability
Invited by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), US and Canadian universities became acquainted with HSBI’s teaching, research and transfer in Bielefeld. The guests were highly interested in the close connection of application-oriented studies and practice. Representing the close research cooperation between HSBI and Bielefeld University, the CITEC was one of the locations that the delegation visited.
Bielefeld (hsbi). “Germany Today” – that was the motto under which a delegation of 22 representatives from US and Canadian universities and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) visited Hochschule Bielefeld – University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSBI) as well as its cooperation partners Bielefeld University and Schüco International KG. Two of HSBI’s partner universities, represented by Debbie Kaylor from Boise State University, Idaho, and Patrick O’Connell from Queens College, New York, were among the visitors. The aim of the annual information programme “Germany Today,” which is organised by the DAAD New York office, is to provide current insights into the German university landscape. In addition to general information on the German higher education system, transfer projects and company collaborations were the focus of this year’s exchange. The day in Bielefeld was included in the agenda upon initiative of HSBI’s International Office and Director of Transfer Activities, Prof. Dr. Uwe Rössler. While the International Office invited the group to Bielefeld Campus and maintained contact with the DAAD, Uwe Rössler put together a comprehensive programme for them.
SuccessfulHSBI transfer projects shape the visit’s agenda
The visit started with a presentation by Schüco Group, exemplifying the different transfer projects of the university with companies in the region. In his welcome, Schüco’s spokesperson Thomas Lauritzen combined the presentation of the Bielefeld-based company with the sustainability strategy. With more than 6,000 employees in more than 80 countries, Schüco Group is one of Europe’s largest construction suppliers. In addition to windows, doors and façades, the company’s product line includes consulting services for construction projects. Subsequently, Marcus Miksch, head of HSBI’s Department of Scientific Further Education, Work-Integrated and Part-Time Study Concepts, presented the university’s work-integrated study concept. In this model, work terms and academic terms combining studies with professional practice in the company alternate in a three-month rhythm. The delegation participants were particularly interested in the connection of theoretical and practical elements as well as the university’s cooperation with companies. As an example of the successful collaboration of HSBI and Schüco in work-integrated studies, Leonie Freitag presented a student’s perspective of the opportunities Schüco offers in the work-integrated studies in Business Administration. One of the highlights was, of course, a stay abroad at a winter school in Mexico. Debbie Kaylor from HSBI’s partner Boise State University considers the early link between academic and in-company training especially attractive: “In the United States, similar collaborations usually don’t take place until the postgraduate phase. Here, however, students gain a great deal of knowledge about their future employers’ daily business thanks to the continuous practical application of their knowledge, which is just as important as the degree itself.”
In HSBI’s conference centre, Prof. Dr. Christian Schröder presented InCamS@BI, a recent transfer project of the university. In their planned collaboration with plastics-processing companies, the interdisciplinary project team plans to establish a circular economy of plastics. In his welcome speech, Vice President Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schäfermeier presented HSBI with selected key figures and topics. Among the most important developments, Schäfermeier highlighted the connection between HSBI’s ongoing internationalisation and successful transfer projects. “In the 21st century, good results in research, teaching and knowledge transfer are based on international exchange. Occasions like today’s visit demonstrate the success of our transfer projects with globally operating companies in the region.”
BRIC and CITECas important building blocks of research transfer
The afternoon began with Bielefeld University’s Vice Rector for Information Infrastructure and Business Relations Prof. Dr. Reinhold Decker presenting the Bielefeld Research and Innovation Campus (BRIC) in the Center for Cognitive Interaction and Technology (CITEC),. The visit to the CITEC building highlighted the close cooperation between Bielefeld University and HSBI in combining fundamental research and applied research that is also reflected in their proximity on campus. The specific collaboration of both universities’ work groups involved in BRIC and CITEC was then introduced by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rückert for his working group Cognitronics & Sensor Systems (Bielefeld University) and Prof. Dr. Jens Haubrock for his working group Grids and Energy Systems (HSBI). In his presentation, Rückert highlighted CITEC’s achievements in interactive intelligent systems and praised the good cooperation with neighbouring HSBI. Haubrock went on to present his own working group, also adding information on the cooperation project “Tag der Bildung” (Education Day), which is organised together with schools in Bielefeld every year. The importance of BRIC as an innovation ecosystem for collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and HSBI’s transfer structures was also emphasised by host Uwe Rössler: “With BRIC’s offers, HSBI and Bielefeld University are able to provide SMEs and research-based start-ups with privileged access to cutting-edge research. Conversely, our students benefit from the innovation processes initiated by this. Through both, we also contribute to the university’s third mission – knowledge and technology transfer between research, industry and society.”
Impressed by the future orientation oftopics and research
The day ended with CITEC members and HSBI employees presenting their ongoing projects from artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction. Innovative research projects, such as the “AI Grid” project presented by Melina Gurcke, which focuses on secure power supply through renewable energies under fluctuating grid load, made an impact with the visitors from North America, including Debbie Kaylor: “I was impressed by the Bielefeld-based universities’ future orientation. The intensity with which sustainability topics are researched is particularly inspiring.”