Founding your own start-up after graduation or working in one - that is the wish of many students at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences. Now they can get a taste of "start-up air" while still studying: at the new UE Innovation Hub in Potsdam. The new campus near Berlin is anything but ordinary. Located directly on Potsdam's lake "Jungfernsee" and in close proximity to global incubators such as the SAP Innovation Center and the Volkswagen Group Future Center Europe, the UE Innovation Hub is not only a hotspot for research and teaching but also part of Brandenburg's Silicon Valley.
"We know the fascination that startups hold for our students. So we thought about how we could transfer this special spirit and atmosphere to our new campus, the UE Innovation Hub," explains Professor Johannes Kiessler, Academic Director Campus Development & Corporate Partnerships and Professor of Innovation Design Management at the UE Innovation Hub in Potsdam.
While "New Work" has already become something of a buzzword, studying and learning is often still stuck in old habits and environments. With its new campus, the University of Europe for Applied Sciences impressively demonstrates that things can be different. At the UE Innovation Hub, students can experience the positive influence that the learning environment has on their learning success. A kind of New Studying, in which positive aspects and experiences of the New Work have been transferred to studying.
Minister of Science Schüle is pleased with new UE Innovation Hub
Dr. Manja Schüle, Minister for Science, Research and Culture of the State of Brandenburg, emphasizes the importance of the new UE Innovation Hub for Potsdam as a center of education: "The establishment of the UE Innovation Hub strengthens the innovative power of our state capital, establishes new courses of study and offers many other opportunities for scientific cooperation. And it makes it clear that the future is being made in Brandenburg. This good news is a further major boost for Potsdam as an educational location and an important building block for the research and teaching landscape in the metropolitan region."
The new way of studying: New Studying instead of Old School Teaching
Architecturally, too, the UE Innovation Hub makes clear what the new way of studying can look like. A look into the open atrium, exposed concrete ceilings in industrial style, modern interior, lounge furniture and the cool design shows what is different here in comparison to a conventional university campus. At the center of the four-story building: The so-called atrium with an impressive stone grandstand. In the high, open and light-flooded room, there is a large screen that transforms the atrium into a lecture hall in the blink of an eye.
The seminar and lecture rooms on the upper floor are open, transparent and equipped with state-of-the-art technology. They are also flexibly adaptable in size, allowing for more effi-cient use of space. "With the UE Innovation Hub, we offer our students from more than 90 countries plenty of physical and mental space - for development but also for developing ideas and concepts. Because we know from surveys among our students how important it is, above all, to exchange ideas with fellow students from different disciplines and countries," says Professor Johannes Kiessler, explaining the idea behind the architectural concept of the UE Innovation Hub.
Studying today what will be in demand tomorrow
But it's not just the location that's special. The degree programs offered at the UE Innovation Hub also underscore the aspiration to offer today the subjects that will be in demand in the future: a combination of technology, data and design.
"We want to train people who are capable of working in a team, who at the same time possess in-depth specialized knowledge and a wide range of knowledge. This is made possible by an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary mix of modules; individual courses, subjects and, in some cases, entire degree programs can thus be aligned relatively quickly with the demand from industry and business," explains Prof. Johannes Kiessler.
The degree programs were created to take into account the profound changes in the labor market. "Students should go into working life with the certainty that they have received a future-oriented education. That's why our degree programs combine data science, business and design," says Kiessler.
Contributing to more educational equity
As an international university with students from over 90 countries, UE-University has set itself ambitious goals: to revolutionize the education of future generations and to make a contribution to more educational equity.
"For us, a good university education must not only be dependent on one's background and financial possibilities. That is why we have been offering different scholarships for each degree program for two decades. We will further expand this offer with our new campus, the UE Innovation Hub in Potsdam, making it a place of diversity and exchange," explains Prof. Dr. Maurits van Rooijen, Rector of the University of Europe for Applied Sciences and the UE Innovation Hub.
Maurits von Rooijen concludes by formulating a vision for the UE Innovation Hub: "Our idea is to move away from the classic campus toward studying with a start-up spirit. Our goal is to attract talented people from all over the world and train them at the UE Innovation Hub to become open-minded innovators and creative shapers of the future who will shape the world of tomorrow. To achieve this, we also rely on the Triple Helix model at our location in Potsdam: the interplay between academia, business and the public sector that promotes innovation."