Leuphana awarded and promoted as "Innovative University" in Germany

2022-05-05 Strengthening the regional innovation system

Lüneburg/Bonn. Leuphana University Lüneburg is the only university in Lower Saxony to receive an award in the federal-state programme "Innovative University". This was announced today by the Joint Science Conference (GWK). Leuphana will receive millions in financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Lower Saxony for the implementation of its project "Transformation through Innovation and Cooperation in Communities" and to strengthen the research-based transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology. The project will start in January 2023 and will be funded for a period of five years. The GWK selected a total of 55 higher education institutions nationwide in an expert-led competition process.

With the "Innovative University" programme, the federal and state governments want to promote the development of regional innovation systems through science and put the exchange of knowledge between science and practice on a new level. Funding is primarily provided to medium-sized and smaller universities and universities of applied sciences, comparable to the Excellence Strategy for larger universities.

Leuphana's project focuses on an innovative exchange of knowledge with the help of communities. Four such communities are to be created in the fields of action "Sustainable Production", "School Development and Leadership", "Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship" and "Art and Culture". They are to contribute to successfully mastering the upcoming major social transformation processes and significantly improve innovation and transfer activities in the Hamburg metropolitan region and in Lower Saxony.

University President Sascha Spoun is pleased about the success of the competition: "Leuphana has stood for innovation for years. Our strengths include addressing social disruptions and the resulting transformation processes in a topic-oriented manner, developing knowledge- and research-based innovations and new models of cooperation between science and society. The award as Innovative University and the future funding encourage us on the path we have chosen."

The communities have special potential, especially with regard to initiating innovation processes, because as interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary groups within selected subject areas, they can drive technological and social innovations forward in a targeted manner. The communities are supported by a mobile media studio, which is intended to increase the reach of knowledge transfer with the help of participation-oriented event and media formats. A special community and impact management will ensure that science and practice learn from each other to bring about sustainable change.

Professor Dr. Paul Drews and Andrea Japsen from Leuphana are leading and coordinating the knowledge exchange project they developed together with 16 Leuphana professors, which also involves the Helmholtz Centre hereon and the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences as well as art and cultural institutions, schools, non-profit organisations and institutes from the fields of education and social entrepreneurship as well as companies and regional business development institutions, chambers and innovation centres as cooperation partners.

The Federal-Länder Initiative for the Promotion of Research-Based Idea, Knowledge and Technology Transfer - "Innovative University" - was adopted by the heads of the Federal Government and the Federal States in summer 2016. It is intended to support higher education institutions in raising their profile in the performance area of transfer and innovation, which is also referred to as the "third mission" of higher education institutions - alongside research and teaching - and to strengthen their strategic role in the regional innovation system. The funding initiative will be implemented in two selection rounds. Both HEIs already funded in the first selection round and HEIs not previously funded were able to participate in the second selection round (2023 to 2027).