“The world’s problems are not solved in ivory towers”
The International Network of Universities of Applied Sciences Munich-Vienna-Zurich (INUAS) undertakes joint projects and initiatives related to urban and regional quality of life and to sustainable development of urban spaces. At the INUAS annual meeting in Zurich, the three member universities pledged to expand their transdisciplinary collaboration and to look out for possibilities for submitting joint project proposals. INUAS also aims to enhance the exchange of knowledge in the area of digital transformation.
On 22 and 23 October, ZHAW President Jean-Marc Piveteau and Daniel Perrin, Dean of the School of Applied Linguistics and Head of International Affairs at the ZHAW, welcomed Martin Leitner, President of the Munich University of Applied Sciences, and Barbara Bittner, Rector of FH Campus Wien University of Applied Sciences. “Since our collaboration began in 2011, we have continually developed our network, and I’m delighted to be hosting our 2019 annual meeting here at the ZHAW,” said Jean-Marc Piveteau. At this event, many current issues were discussed, and the 2018/2019 annual report, as well as the 2019/2020 plan of action, were approved.
The INUAS member universities are situated in dynamic, growing and continually transforming urban regions. To generate innovative ideas and perspectives for the future of such urban spaces, INUAS taps into the potential of transdisciplinary dialogue – which is in the DNA of a university of applied sciences. “Because the world’s problems are not solved in ivory towers,” said Daniel Perrin.
This is why the INUAS member universities value continuous and productive dialogue between research and practice, and between society and political decision-makers; they are further developing their activities focusing on urban and regional quality of life in the coming year too. The international conference series “Urban Transformations: Housing | Resources | Public Spaces” is one such activity.
The first part of the conference series – “Housing under Pressure: Dynamics Between Centers and Peripheries” – took place in Vienna from 4-6 November, 2019. There were 150 speakers from over 20 countries and more than 300 participants who took advantage of the transdisciplinary discussion to identify new perspectives for social housing and for sustainable development. In 2020, Munich will continue the series with the subject of “Resources” (9-11 September); in 2021, the conference on the subject of “Public Spaces” will be held in Zurich.
Participants at the INUAS annual meeting underlined the fact that the conference programme was diverse, topical and highly relevant. “Joint projects like this build bridges between research, practice and policy-making and thus have the potential to influence our cities and their surrounding areas positively,” emphasised Barbara Bittner, Rector of FH Campus Wien.
INUAS plans to further consolidate joint themes and shared strengths, also in research. At the annual meeting, the INUAS partners agreed to look out for possibilities for submitting joint project proposals.
All three member universities are currently addressing various aspects of digital transformation. “Digital transformation isn’t just some marginal IT phenomenon. It concerns the entire spectrum of disciplines at our institutions,” said Martin Leitner, adding that, this year, the Munich University of Applied Sciences collaborated with Amazon Web Services to open its Digital Transformation Lab (DT Lab). In addition, the university looks into digital exams. In the same vein, FH Campus Wien is developing digital learning materials, and the ZHAW is implementing its strategic programme ZHAW digital.
INUAS is aiming at sharing best practice and projects in the area of digital Technology in 2020, thus enabling the entire network to benefit mutually from competences and potential. In addition, with its “GlobalXCha(lle)nges” project, which has recently received third-party funds for two years, the network partners can support students’ innovative digital projects by exchange formats such as “challenge excursions” and internships.
In general, the three universities are endeavouring to involve students more closely in INUAS activities and to foster student networks. “Today’s students are no longer simply consumers. They want to play an active role and to be part of decision-making processes,” emphasised Jean-Marc Piveteau.
The International Network of Universities of Applied Sciences Munich-Vienna-Zurich was founded in 2011 in Vienna. It is a cross-institutional collaboration between the Munich University of Applied Sciences, FH Campus Wien University of Applied Sciences and the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences. The member universities are among the largest and most important providers of applied teaching and research in their home countries. Functioning as a think-tank for selected key focus areas, the universities aim to become strategic partners for their respective metropolitan regions Munich, Vienna and Zurich. www.inuas.org