Das Headerbild zeigt sechs Personen. Auf einem blauen Hintergrund steht der Schriftzug "Wir bilden die Zukunft. We are the future".

TransforMA: Joint Project on Technology and Knowledge Transfer

The University of Applied Sciences Mannheim and the University of Mannheim have been successful with a joint application to the “Innovative Hochschule” funding initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF): starting in January 2023, both Mannheim higher education institutions will receive EUR 12 million in funding over the next five years to implement their innovation and transfer strategy.

The joint TransforMA project of the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim and the University of Mannheim is one of the funded projects in the second funding round of the “Innovative Hochschule” initiative run by the federal and state governments.

In a joint application, the two Mannheim higher education institutions were able to develop and present a convincing strategy for fostering the transfer of knowledge to society as well as a corresponding implementation concept, and, as of January 2023, will receive EUR 12 million in funding.

In addition to enhance research and teaching, the BMBF initiative aims to support higher education institutions in sharpening their profile in the performance areas of knowledge transfer and innovation and in strengthening their strategic role in regional innovation systems.

Together, the two institutions have developed an ambitious concept to strengthen technology and knowledge transfer: In close cooperation with regional partners from business and society, transformation needs and processes are to be identified and actively shaped. The envisaged measures are aimed at companies, public institutions, and civil society groups and will enable innovative transformation processes in both societal and economic environments.

The development of an AI-based database, for example, is intended to provide all stakeholders with easy technology and knowledge scouting opportunities and thus ensure low-threshold access to available knowledge and technologies at both higher education institutions. Everyday solutions for sustainable living and economizing as well as impact-oriented business models will be developed and tested in living labs. The question of what effects the constantly increasing transformation dynamics of our time are having on people and organizations is always at the center of attention.

At the University of Mannheim, TransforMA is led by a dual leadership team. Julia Derkau, Head of the Center for Teacher Education and Educational Innovation (ZLBI), emphasizes: “People and organizations in Mannheim and the region are subject to constant change. These changes open up opportunities but can also be perceived as an existential threat to established systems and ways of life. With TransforMA, we want to help shape this process positively, regardless of whether this change is caused by technological progress, societal changes or economic developments.” Prof. Dr. Hiram Kümper, who holds the Carl Theodor professorship at the Department of History, adds: „TransforMA is also an important project in terms of establishing closer ties between our two institutions. This will benefit both sides because it will also boost the subject of transfer within our institutions and contribute to making them more open and resilient in the face of the great challenges of our time. In this way, we can assume responsibility and meet the trust that society places in us as innovators shaping the future.”

TransforMA will receive funding of just under EUR 12 million for a period of five years. Funding will be provided by the federal government and the Land of Baden-Württemberg in a ratio of 90:10. The University of Applied Sciences Mannheim is coordinating the project. On 21/22 March 2023, the kick-off event for all projects funded nationwide will take place at the Mannheim palace.

Text: Dr. Maartje Koschorreck/May 2023