How do we shape digitization and structural change for the people – with the people?
TU Dresden applies with „Saxonian Institute of Technology“ for a large-scale research center for digitization in Lusatia
Digitization is fundamentally changing society and the economy in Germany. This transformation presents us with completely new challenges and at the same time offers enormous opportunities. The required structural change in Lusatia and the Central German mining region caused by the phase-out of coal opens up unique opportunities for implementing pioneering concepts for coordinated societal and technological change.
Leading researchers at TU Dresden working in fields such as materials research, communications engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, psychology, sustainability research and social sciences have teamed up with extramural partners in a unique consortium and have pooled their expertise in the application for a „Saxonian Institute of Technology“ (SIT) on how Lusatia can become a high-tech model region for digital transformation and thus set an example for Germany as a whole. In their view, the development of sustainable and trustworthy digital systems together that includes the people is indispensable for a successful innovation process. For this reason, the technology specialists teamed up with experts from the social, cultural, behavioral, educational and spatial science disciplines to develop the concept.
Their project proposal for the “Saxonian Institute of Technology” is a contender in the competition for a large-scale research center as part of the funding initiative „Knowledge creates perspectives for the region“ of the Free State of Saxony and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). TUD researchers are supported by research institutions such as the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, the Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf, the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research, the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, the Barkhausen Institute, Dresden International University, the United Nations University FLORES, the Technical University of Liberec and the University of Wrocław. Important industrial partners are, among others, Deutsche Telekom, Infineon, Globalfoundries, Bosch Sensortec, Zeiss and Aesculap AG/B. Braun Melsungen.
The Rector of TU Dresden, Prof. Ursula M. Staudinger explains: „SIT connects science, economy and society. Under one roof, leading researchers from TU Dresden collaborate with partners from Helmholtz, Max Planck, Fraunhofer and Leibniz institutes and with international experts as well as regional and multinational companies on innovative solutions for sustainable and trustworthy digitization for the people and with the people in Lusatia and the world.“
The SIT is based on a plethora of activities pertaining information technology in Saxony. In Lusatia, it integrates existing structures such as the Hochschule Zittau-Görlitz, University of Applied Sciences, the Internationale Hochschulinstitut (IHI) Zittau a Central Academic Unit of TU Dresden, the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding (CASUS) or the International Center for Urban Development (IZS) in Görlitz.
The project’s spokesperson is Karl Leo, a physics professor at TUD who has won numerous awards for his scientific achievements and economic developments: „At SIT, we want to shape digital innovations for the future, for healthcare, nutrition, mobility and energy. Trustworthy, sustainable and economically successful. For this, we need top researchers from all over the world to approach this exciting topic together with the people from the region.“
A key component of the concept is a comprehensive training program that covers all qualification levels from vocational training to doctoral studies. „The transfer to spin-offs and cooperating companies can only be successful if suitably trained specialists are available,“ says Leo.
In cooperation with the regional chambers of commerce, there will be regular exchange formats (information events, visits to laboratories and workshops) to enable craft businesses to participate in research and benefits from the results at an early stage. Furthermore, the implementation of a test and development space for companies (esp. SMEs), in the SIT is planned to enable projects for craft businesses that are in close proximity to the company facilities and the market, and direct formats such as hackathons or „elevator pitches“ in order to involve companies in the research activities and boost cooperation.
In the coming weeks, a high-caliber perspective commission at the behest of the BMBF will review the submitted applications for the large-scale research centers. Three projects for Lusatia and three for the Central German mining region are to be selected in July and commissioned with a six-month conception phase. The final decision on which large-scale research centers will be established will be made in the second quarter of 2022. In the medium-term, the funding bodies will provide financing of up to 170 million euros per year.
The „Saxonian Institute of Technology“ (SIT) at a glance:
• Subject: humane, trustworthy digitalization
• Goal: To create a socially and technologically sustainable, globally visible high-tech model region of digital transformation for and with the people in Lusatia.
• Applicant researchers:
Karl Leo (in charge)
Michael Beckmann, Gianaurelio Cuniberti, Claudia Felser, Xinliang Feng, Gerhard Fettweis, Frank Fitzek, Diana Göhringer, Thomas Goschke, Edeltraud Günther, Raj Kollmorgen, Denys Makarov, Christian Mayr, Sabine Müller-Mall, Christian Prunitsch, Ronald Tetzlaff, Carsten Werner
• Supporting institutions:
TU Dresden (in charge)
Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research, Barkhausen Institute, , Dresden International University, United Nations University FLORES, Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz, University of Applied Sciences Technical University of Liberec, University of Wrocław, a.o.
• Key industry partners:
Deutsche Telekom AG, Infineon AG, Globalfoundries, Bosch Sensortec GmbH, Zeiss AG, Aesculap AG/B. Braun Melsungen AG, u.a.
Contact for scientific information:
Prof. Karl Leo
Tel.: +49 351 463 34389