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Funding initiative: Innovative Hochschule  <<

The independent selection committee responsible for adjudicating on an expert-led competition held as part of the Innovative Hochschule (“Innovative University”) initiative has awarded funding to a total of 48 universities. HFT Stuttgart was among the winners in this first awarding phase. The university’s entry – an innovation lab for the Stuttgart metropolitan region known as “M4_LAB” – was selected ahead of other submissions from throughout Germany, and will receive a total of nine million Euros over a five-year period.

The funds will enable project leader HFT Stuttgart and its partner Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH to initiate the first large-scale funding project in connection with the 2027 International Building Exhibition (IBA). “The Metropolregion 4.0 project puts us and our partner, Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart, in a position to push forward with ambitious projects in the field of sustainable urban development – and in doing so make a decisive contribution to the IBA process”, explains Prof. Dr. Ursula Eicker, Head of the Institute of Applied Research at HFT Stuttgart.

M4_LAB – an HFT-led innovation lab for the Stuttgart metropolitan region

The key challenges facing the Stuttgart metropolitan region include structural change, Industry 4.0, climate change and shifting demographics. In view of these challenges, HFT Stuttgart intends to use a combination of innovative software solutions provided through a transfer portal and interdisciplinary innovation spaces to significantly enhance the usability and transferability of not only its core research in the fields of urban development and digitalization, but also related teaching activities in areas including Civil Engineering, STEM subjects and Economics.

Focusing on the beating heart of one of Europe’s most innovative metropolitan regions, HFT Stuttgart intends to use its internationally renowned research expertise to develop strategies that pave the way for a climate-neutral region characterized by forward-thinking mobility concepts and sustainable industrial production. The ten-year process leading up to the International Building Exhibition in 2027 offers a range of unique opportunities in this regard.

Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH is the project’s key transfer partner, and represents an ideal fit for HFT Stuttgart’s well-established research expertise in the fields of “energy-efficient buildings and sustainable urban development” and “technologies for the processing of spatial data and simulations”. A high-performance transfer portal set up at HFT Stuttgart will enable the handling of large volumes of data and in turn facilitate the combined analysis of a variety of energy planning, noise protection, emissions and traffic planning simulations within three-dimensional urban models. Taking advantage of its location at the centre of the metropolitan region, HFT Stuttgart intends to use this transfer strategy to become a driver for innovation in the region.

The university is therefore set to play a strategic role in the transformation of a fossil-driven industrial region into a metropolitan region that reaps all the benefits of climate neutrality, social justice, long-term economic success and a good quality of life.

Innovative Hochschule – a cooperation between the German federal government and federal states

Established by the heads of the German federal government and federal states in the summer of 2016, the Innovative Hochschule initiative provides funding for the research-based transfer of ideas, knowledge and technology. The goal of the initiative is to promote the networking of universities with regional companies, organizations and other educational institutions. This will in turn make it possible to combine research findings from a range of scientific disciplines to create efficient, innovative solutions to the urgent challenges of our time. In a broader sense, the initiative aims to build new bridges between science and society as a whole.

Up to 550 million Euros are set to be awarded in two phases over a ten-year period. A 90:10 funding split will see the majority of funds provided by the German federal government and the remainder by the federal states in which the selected universities are located. The funds are intended to enable participating universities to not only enhance their profile in the fields of transfer and innovation, but also strengthen their strategic role in the regional innovation system.

Petra Dabelstein (petra.dabelstein@hft-stuttgart.de)