19/07/2022 // (07/22)
Press release of the Einstein Center Digital Future and the Einstein Foundation Berlin
Success story: Another Five Years of Digitalization Research at the Einstein Center Digital Future
The Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) will be funded for another five years. This was decided by the Board of Directors of the Einstein Foundation after a successful evaluation by an international panel of experts. The international reviewers attest to the ECDF's excellent research. The panel was particularly impressed by the unique public-private partnership (PPP) model and the center's inter-university and interdisciplinary work.
In a digital walk-through in February 2022, professors and board members had presented the research at the ECDF and their visions for the next generation of the Center for Digitization Research. Principal investigators, university presidents, donors and partners reported on the structures and collaboration. In their report, the experts particularly emphasized the exceptional breadth and depth of the research activities carried out and the quality of the professors appointed: In projects such as "SimRa - Safety in Cycling", citizens can use a smartphone app to record near-misses on the road while cycling; other ECDF projects are researching the large-scale use of quantum internet through technology in space, how computer-assisted treatment planning can help in the reconstruction of complex facial defects, or the interplay between security and cryptocurrencies.
The evaluators highlighted the establishment of the PPP model as particularly significant: public institutions and private-sector companies cooperate to jointly tackle urban and regional development tasks. At the ECDF, Berlin's universities, colleges and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin work together with industrial partners. In the eyes of the reviewers, the funds thus provided make it possible to hire a considerable number of young, highly qualified scientists and to conduct innovative research. The exchange between ECDF scientists and the public was also ensured during the pandemic: In digital event formats, the press, and on social media, researchers regularly provided information on digital transformation and their role in the pandemic.
"The ECDF is a blueprint for how substantial and sustainable research cooperation on digital transformation should be conducted. The science and research landscape benefits when there is collaboration across institutions, disciplines and other boundaries," emphasized Prof. Martin Rennert, Chairman of the Board of the Einstein Foundation Berlin. That this interplay, as found at the ECDF, is a recipe for success has also been seen by other actors: In October 2020, the "Digital Futures" research center was inaugurated in Stockholm, Sweden. The establishment of the center was inspired by the ECDF, and today the research institutions cooperate closely with each other.
"We are very proud that we were able to infect the reviewers with our enthusiasm for digitization research. The feedback is a great appreciation of our work so far and at the same time shows that the experts have recognized our potential for the coming years. The Corona pandemic in particular has accelerated the digital transformation - so there is still a lot to do and we are pleased that we can help shape this transformation until at least April 2028," says Prof. Dr. Odej Kao, Chairman of the ECDF and Professor of Computer Science at TU Berlin.
About the Einstein Center Digital Future
The Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) is an interdisciplinary project of Technische Universität Berlin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Berlin University of the Arts. So far, a total of 44 professors have been appointed at the universities and the participating colleges. The ECDF sees itself as a cross-university nucleus for researching and promoting digital structures in science, business and society. The center creates links in the field of digitization, develops new forms of collaboration, focuses on innovative interdisciplinary cutting-edge research, and attracts excellently trained young scientific talent to Berlin. From April 2023, the ECDF will continue as "ECDF-New Generation" and focus on the areas of Integrated Health, Transforming Communities and Sustainable Cities. Funding is subject to the provision of private and public funds.