University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 148/2023 - 13.10.1023
Stable into the winter semester 2023/2024
The University of Bayreuth starts the winter semester with stable figures, well positioned internationally, strong in research and innovative. A special focus in research and teaching is on the future topic of artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of numerous industries and is revolutionising the way technology is perceived and how people interact with technology. As AI continues to evolve, the need for qualified professionals to design and implement AI systems in various fields is increasing. "The University of Bayreuth is therefore focusing on all aspects of AI as it continues to develop its university profile," says University President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible and announces: "Soon there will be at least one AI-related professorship and research-relevant AI projects in each of the seven faculties."
In these projects, UBT researchers have already been able to successfully convince third-party funding bodies of Bayreuth's AI competence (selection): The EU is funding a STEM project with one million euros, which is intended to promote in-depth learning through AI learning guides in suitable learning environments. Another EU project on the use of artificial intelligence in animal husbandry in agriculture has been funded. In addition, UBT researchers are working on the application of an AI model for processing natural languages in protein research and in a joint project on the early detection of forest fire hazards through AI.
Not only professorships such as „Geoinformatics“ or "Theoretical Physics VII - Computational Material Design" deal with AI. It also plays an important role at the University of Bayreuth in the - largely new - professorships such as "Philosophy, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence", "Business Informatics and Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence", "Digital Health with a Focus on Data Science in the Life Sciences" or "AI in Spectroscopy and Microscopy". Three further professorships - including "AI in Physico-Chemical Material Analysis" and "Dynamical Systems and Data" - were acquired as part of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria's AI competition. "Here, the University of Bayreuth 2021 was able to prevail in the competition among Bavarian universities and colleges for new AI professorships," Leible emphasises. In addition, the new Bayreuth Lab for Digital Sciences (BayLDS) is an interdisciplinary and cross-faculty exchange platform that brings together the different areas of AI and IT-related research and teaching at the University of Bayreuth and generates synergies.
"The range of courses also increasingly includes AI aspects," reports Prof. Dr. Martin Huber, Vice President Teaching and Students. For example, as of the winter semester 2023/24, students of Applied Computer Science, Computer Science and Computer Science at UBT will be able to obtain an AI certificate in addition to their studies. These courses will provide students with a broad understanding of AI algorithms, techniques and applications. "We also want to use AI more in teaching: We will soon start with AI tutors who will support lecturers in implementing AI in teaching," Huber announces. For the coming year (in WS 2024/25), UBT is planning further degree programmes that explicitly deal with AI: "Philosophy and Computer Science" will start, and others are in preparation.
"UBT's higher education contract with the Ministry of Science, which enables universities to further raise their profile, logically includes the further transformation of UBT into a modern, digitally supported and sustainable university," emphasises University Chancellor Dr Nicole Kaiser.
"The University of Bayreuth was one of the first Bavarian universities to adopt a mandatory and written sustainability strategy, and the first measures are already resulting from this," reports Prof. Dr. Susanne Tittlbach, Vice President for Digitisation, Innovation and Sustainability: "Resource efficiency in the laboratories has been put to the test and optimised, energy saving in teaching, research and administration is being realised on a daily basis." In addition, sustainable mobility is being promoted on campus through the introduction of a self-commitment to avoid short-haul air travel and the installation of more e-charging stations in cooperation with the Bayreuth public utility company. The mobility turnaround in the city and region is addressed in a transformation process funded by the Stifterverband. "In addition, students are actively involved in all sustainability efforts through the Green Campus Initiative, via the annual sustainability award for final theses as part of the Campus Sustainability Week and the successful model 'Supplementary Sustainability Studies'," Tittlbach emphasises.
The Vice President for Research and Young Scientists, Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel, says: "UBT's excellent research in this field also contributes to supporting the societal dissemination of the UN Sustainable Development Goals." For example, a new Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1585 "MultiTrans: Structured functional materials for multiple transport in nanoscale confinements") was approved, and SFB 1357 "Microplastics" was extended. The UBT also has a new International Research Training Group on semiconductor research and is significantly involved in the development of a National Research Data Infrastructure. The new project "Algorithmic Analysis and Prediction of Court Judgments" combines innovative AI approaches and the faculty of law. "An important milestone last year was the founding of the Future Energy Lab with Stadtwerke Wunsiedel, where - also using AI - the energy turnaround through decentralised energy supply is being tested and practised on a small scale," says research vice-president Scheibel. UBT also celebrated the opening of the FIM Research Institute for Information Management.
Internationally and in Upper Franconia networked
"The University of Bayreuth is continuing to expand its international cooperation and is not only relying on its strategic hubs, especially in Australia, but also increasingly on European networks. We are constantly intensifying research and teaching as a link between Europe and Africa; in doing so, we have been able to set visible milestones together with our partners," reports Prof. Dr. Nina Nestler, Vice President for Internationalisation, Equal Opportunities and Diversity. She points to the topping-out ceremony for the Africa Research Centre, a centre in which African studies and teaching at the University of Bayreuth will be bundled and further developed - including that of the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple". "The steadily growing number of international students, which stands at 15 %, shows that our internationalisation strategy is bearing fruit," says Nestler. "Our international students as well as the international researchers are an enrichment and an asset for the University of Bayreuth as well as for the entire region, which can benefit from their perspectives and skills."
The University of Bayreuth has also been able to take important steps locally, in Upper Franconia: The Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (IEI) is continuously expanding the position of the University of Bayreuth as a transfer university. One building block is the project "RIA - Regional Innovation Architecture for Transformative Change", which is funded for five years with approximately ten million euros and which, together with regional partners, establishes a close transfer network and officially started in January 2023. Numerous socially relevant events and formats are already being carried out, such as "Mission Inclusion" as a bridge between students, teaching, inclusion experts and those affected. Second place in the current start-up radar for medium-sized Bavarian universities and fifth place in Germany as a whole again shows how successful the GründerUni Bayreuth is. In order to increase the number of female founders, there are targeted offers for women, such as the "Female Founders Academy" or a mentoring programme.
At the Medical Campus Upper Franconia (MCO), one profile professorship (RNA biochemistry) is already active, two others are in advanced proceedings, and cooperation with UBT departments, e.g. health economics, has been intensified. A special cross-faculty cooperation is the GP-centred obesity prevention programme: "Exercise & Nutrition HAPpEN": a prevention and therapy programme that combines nutritional and sports medicine aspects with practical life, social psychological and sociological components. In HAPpEN, a general practitioner, the MCO and the Chair of Sociology of Nutrition in Kulmbach work together.
The Faculty of Life Sciences: Food, Nutrition and Health in Kulmbach is a model of success: in addition to numerous research projects, teaching is also developing dynamically. There were almost 500 applications for the winter semester. 15 doctoral projects are currently running at the faculty, and the first five Master's students graduated in the summer semester of 2023. The occupation of the 3rd floor in the "fritz" shopping centre with further natural science laboratory infrastructure is planned for 2024, as well as the two new Master's degree programmes and the announcement of the architectural competition for the new building.
The Bavarian Centre for Battery Technology (BayBatt) is making further progress in research and teaching. A total of 220 applications have been received for the two Master's degree programmes in Battery Technology and Battery Materials & Technology for the winter semester 2023/24. Ten of the twelve BayBatt chairs have now been filled. Prof. Nella Vargas-Barbosa (Electrochemistry) and Prof. André Gröschel (Polymer Materials for Electrochemical Energy Storage) were the most recent to take up their posts. The remaining two professorships are scheduled to be filled within the next six months. In addition, Dr Helen Grüninger founded the third junior research group at BayBatt on the topic of "NMR Spectroscopy for Batteries and Energy Materials".
We have a successful year behind us and are starting the coming winter semester just as successfully. I am looking forward to the new students joining us, to the returning students and I would like to thank our staff and researchers for their continued commitment to the University of Bayreuth in the coming winter semester.
- Professorships: 280 (80 of them female); previous year: 274
- international: 15.7%
- Student projection as of 01.12.2023: 12,122 (of which 5,579 female); previous year: 12,516
- international (as of 12.10.): 15.6%; previous year: 15.3
- Freshmen (enrolled for the first time at a German higher education institution) on 12.10.2023: 1,295; projection as of 01.12.2023: 1.588
- previous year on the same date 12.10.2022: 1,345; final number as of 01.12.2022: 1,574
- Research staff: 1,320 (472 of them female); previous year: 1,327
- international: 23.4%
- Non-scientific staff: 1,012 (of which 610 female); previous year: 1,016
- international: 2.5%
Please note: Enrolment for WS 2023/24 is currently still ongoing. Final figures will be collected on 01.12.2023. The student and first semester figures for 2023 are preliminary and extrapolated figures for the winter semester. For the personnel figures, data was collected as of 10.10.2023; the previous year's figure is from the statistics as of 01.12.2022).)
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