According to the University Barometer of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft published yesterday, 93% of the rectors and presidents of German universities support an extension of cooperation with industry. The President of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Professor Holger Hanselka, considers cooperation with industry to be essential for solving the grand challenges of the future.
“The grand challenges of society, such as the Energiewende or safe and ecofriendly mobility, can only be managed in close cooperation with industry. Cooperation projects with industry therefore are of high priority at KIT. Having about 500 ongoing projects with industry, innovation is firmly established at KIT as the third pillar besides research and teaching,” Hanselka says. “Both partners benefit from knowledge transfer in both directions – from research to industry and vice versa -. Close vicinity to application also is an asset for teaching activities.”
In 2013, KIT acquired more than EUR 51 million – of a total of EUR 357 million third-party funds – directly from industry. These funds were used to finance strategic research cooperation. To account for the variety of challenges and topics, KIT uses a number of innovation tools. At the “Joint Labs” on the KIT campus, KIT scientists cooperate closely with researchers from industry. Examples of joint labs are the Project House e-drive with Daimler AG, the BELLA Laboratory in cooperation with BASF AG, a joint lab with Bosch AG, cooperation projects with industry partners, such as Siemens AG under Competence E, and other company-on-campus projects, e.g. with Schaeffler AG.
Joint innovation instruments also include shared professorships, endowed professorships, shared research groups, and industry fellowships. Science and industry meet at the KIT Business Club: It supplies information, identifies potential fields of cooperation, and establishes contacts. So far, about 30 renowned companies have joined the Club.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.