Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, announced plans Friday (February 3) to set up 35 new professorships and 1,500 additional IT university places as part of a joint project involving four colleges and universities in Hamburg. The project will receive EUR 33 million in funds, according to the announcement during a press briefing in Hamburg’s City Hall.
Boosting IT as basis of digitalisation
Commenting on the new project that is part of Hamburg’s “Digital City” strategy, Fegebank noted: “Digital transformation in on everybody’s lips and rapid developments have turned our daily lives upside down to an extent. Now, just imagine self-driving cars and container ships and the big impact on life in our city and on social interaction. That’s why we need sound IT knowledge as the basis of digitalisation.”
The “ahoi.digital” is a joint IT project between the Authority for Science and Research and the University of Hamburg, University of Applied Sciences (HAW), Hamburg University of Technology (TU) and HafenCity University. Professor Wolfgang Kaysser, Scientific Director of Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthach and Professor Volker Gülzow, IT Group Manager at DESY expressed keen interest and willingness to co-operate.
Total funding of EUR 32.9 million
The new “ahoi.digital” platform is based on the three main pillars of education, knowledge and knowledge transfer in commerce and society. A total of 1,500 additional university places and 35 university chairs are to be created by 2020 to increase Hamburg’s national and international visibility as a leading IT centre. Further funding will bring the total to EUR 32.9 million. As a centre of competence and as a network, the platform will give starts-ups and innovation new impetus, boost co-operation with urban clusters and forge closer ties between science and commerce. Fegebank stressed: “The programme offers an opportunity to pool expertise and know-how in the IT sector, to attract new talents and to boost Hamburg as an attractive IT centre.”
Amazing dynamics of digitalisation
Professor Tilo Böhmann, Head of IT Management and Consulting at the University of Hamburg, termed IT the “yeast in the digitalisation dough”, adding, “yeast” drives many diverse fields such as human-computer interaction, computer science and machine learning “and they are all subject to an amazing dynamic”. IT is also central to economic development. Professor Andreas Timm-Giehl, Vice President of Research at TUHH, stressed the necessity for advance research in IT, adding, “Tomorrow’s digitalisation cannot be shaped with yesterday’s computer sciences.”
Big data trove
The smart use of data is one of the biggest challenges in research at present. Jörg Rainer Nönning, Professor of Digital City Science at HafenCity University, asked: “How we do generate our troves of data – big data – useful information and valuable knowledge?” Experts estimate that the Internet of Things will comprise a total of 50 billion smartphones, PCs, sensors and other gadgets all of which will supply data by 2020.
However, managing data is not the only issue, said Professor Ulrike Steffens from HAW Hamburg. More and more demands for further education offers are being received from commerce. “Thus the IT platform should also be a contact point for all interested persons, even if they just ask general questions about what IT does in digitalisation or whether they wish to find a research partner to carry out digital projects progressively.”
The Creative Space for Technical Innovations (CSTI) is to be launched at HAW Hamburg in March, she pointed out. “Similar to garage firms, clever minds or employees in established firms can experiment there, away from their daily business,” Steffens noted, adding, “The success of long-established companies is often based on established and tested systems. Now, small audacious firms are appearing on the market that are better able to use technical innovations and new ideas. Their flexibility threatens to overtake long-established firms or at least grab some of their markets shares.” Commenting on the new platform, Fegebank said: “Together, we are developing something unique which will radiate far beyond Hamburg and put us in the top league for managing digital transformation.”
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Hamburg soll Top-Informatikstandort werden