The event was opened by the rector of the University of Stuttgart and host, Prof. Wolfram Ressel, and the rector of the University of Bergen, Prof. Margareth Hagen. Over 70 participants delved deeper into topics like energy storage in porous media, wind energy, visualization and simulation technology, digital humanities, bioinformatics and systems biology, but also into infrastructure questions around IT, research data management and high performance computing.
Plenary impulses on the strategic potential of the partnership, on reflecting intelligent systems (IRIS), and on digitalization, as well as insights into German-Norwegian funding schemes contributed towards a better understanding of institutional contexts. The delegation members from the University of Bergen visited some of the highlights at the University of Stuttgart: the Stuttgart Center for Simulation Science (SimTech), the research campus ARENA2036 and the High Performance Computing Center (HLRS).
„I am proud that we institutionalized our collaboration with the Universiy of Bergen via a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019. We look back onto decades of fruitful academic exchange in the Erasmus program, excellent bilateral research projects, and especially our longstanding joint interdisciplinary research partnership in the field of porous media (SFB 1313) around professor Rainer Helmig and professor Helge Dahle“, said Prof. Wolfram Ressel, rector of the University of Stuttgart. „Starting this year, we launched three new joint projects between our Center of Excellence SimTech and the University of Bergen. For the Kick-Off, we successfully sowed the seeds for collaboration in several new disciplines. And we look forward to many more joint projects which will hopefully grow in the future.“
Ressel elaborated on the profile of the University of Stuttgart and its innovative environment with the Cyber Valley and a high concentration of extramural research and industrial partners. He emphasized the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration and a continuous reflexion on ethical implications of research, as well as the university‘s vision „Intelligent Systems for a Future-Oriented Society“. Facetiously quoting the state of Baden-Württemberg‘s new image campaign, the rector welcomed the guests from Norway in „the ‚Länd‘ of collaborative research“.
"We will reach top international quality results"
Prof. Margareth Hagen, rector of the University of Bergen, presented the Norwegian university, which has about 21,000 students and 4,100 staff members. The research-intensive university, which strives for „knowledge that shapes society“, hosts four Norwegian Centers of Excellence and has defined its priority areas in climate and energy transition, marine research and global challenges, with a focus on multidisciplinary approaches.
Prof. Gottfried Greve, vice rector of the University of Bergen, said: „We view the University of Stuttgart as a strong partner, with a strategic fit to our university’s profile. Through collaborative research, we will reach top international quality results.“ He is convinced that collaboration best emerges from the scientific community, where researchers find their own partners. The Memorandum of Understanding (2019) is an important framework that paves the way towards this goal. Greve expressed his hopes and expectations surrounding the kick-off: both institutions will develop a deeper understanding of each other, which will help strengthen existing ties and contribute to connecting new areas. We will take this event as an opportunity to lay out next steps together and offer institutional support for strategic projects.
Workshop participants developed ideas and plans for joint classes, follow-up meetings, joint third-party funding proposals, summer schools and guest fellowships, as well as best practice exchanges in central university units and administration.
Increase mobility of researchers, students and employees
For Prof. Silke Wieprecht, vice rector for diversity and international affairs, it is crucial that the collaboration be developed strategically to facilitate a higher researcher mobility and a vivid exchange of students and staff between Bergen and Stuttgart. „Internationalisation is not an end in itself, it should contribute to quality, creativity and to a competitive edge in all activities of our university.“
„Thank you for your visit in Stuttgart, thank you for this intensive dialogue“, concluded Prof. Rainer Helmig from the Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems (IWS). „We have so many opportunities, let us take the next steps together!“. His colleague, Prof. Helge Dahle from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen, with whom he shares a history of very successful collaboration, said: „It was a great pleasure being here in Stuttgart with you. We would like to come back, and we expect you soon in Bergen.“