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First Year of Einstein Center Digital Future

The Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF), a unique joint project between Berlin’s four universities and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, opened on April 3, 2017, and can look back on a successful first year.

News from Apr 03, 2018

The founding of the ECDF has led to the creation of a total of 55 professorships for digital transformation at Berlin universities. “To date we have appointed eight professors, another eight professorships have been offered, and 21 appointment procedures are underway,” reports Prof. Dr. Odej Kao from Technische Universität Berlin, the board’s spokesperson. The research at the ECDF covers IT infrastructure, social processes, industry, and health. The Einstein Center will receive a total of 38.5 million euros from public coffers and 25 benefactors over a period of six years.

Alongside additional professorships, the Helmholtz Einstein International Research School in Data Science was established in collaboration with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. The project, which is set to run for six years, will receive 6 million euros and offer positions for 25 doctoral candidates. The Berlin universities are also cooperation partners in this venture — alongside new partners, namely the six Helmholtz Centers located in the Berlin region.

The ECDF’s scientific work and the fact that it has been established as a large public-private partnership (PPP) has sparked the interest of people and institutions the world over, to which delegations from Austria, Norway, Australia, South Korea, and other countries testify. The Simula Research Laboratory in Oslo is providing doctoral grants for research at the Einstein Center. Other partners in Berlin include the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society (which will receive 50 million euros), the Berlin Big Data Center, and the Berlin Center for Digital Transformation.

In the past 12 months there have also been over 35 events with roughly 1,800 guests in the Robert Koch Forum, which is housed in a historical building near the German Bundestag and is now the site of digitalization research. 

10 Facts from One Year

  • 4 universities – 1 university medical complex – 2 universities of applied sciences – 1 building dedicated to digitalization research
  • 8 appointed professors
  • 8 professorships offered
  • 21 appointment procedures
  • 25 doctoral positions at the Helmholtz Einstein Berlin Research School in Data Science (HEIBRiDS)
  • 15 doctoral grants at the Simula Research Laboratory (Oslo, Norway) in cooperation with the ECDF
  • 34 events with over 1,800 guests
  • 38,5 million euros for cutting-edge research in Berlin
  • 25 corporate benefactors

About the Einstein Center Digital Future

The ECDF was approved by the Einstein Foundation on September 5, 2016, and opened its doors on April 3, 2017. The ECDF is set to run for six years. Most of the 55 professorships are junior professorships limited to six years. W2/W3 and guest professors will also be appointed. The ECDF grew out of an initiative by the current mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, and the president of Technische Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Christian Thomsen. They convened the Berlin Digitalization Circle (Berliner Kreis zur Digitalisierung) in the summer of 2015.

The ECDF Consortium consists of the institutions that submitted applications and associated institutional partners. The core group consists of:

  • Technischen Universität Berlin (spokesperson)
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Berlin University of the Arts

The Beuth University of Applied Sciences and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW—University of Applied Sciences) are associates of the ECDF.

There are also eight non-university research institutions participating in the ECDF:

  • the Berlin Institute of Health
  • the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (Fraunhofer FOKUS)
  • the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute
  • the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration
  • the German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association
  • the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB – National Metrology Institute of Germany)
  • the ZUSE Institute Berlin (ZIB).