BERLIN UNIVERSITY OF DIGITAL SCIENCES © 2018
DIGITAL THINKING AND NETWORKING TRADING
Universities and the importance of education are changing in the context of digitalization and globalization in all essential areas. Whether organizational, content or didactic, new concepts are needed for the challenges of training new – digital – skills. A clear focus on digitization and thus on the challenges associated with the changed framework conditions appears to be possible only with a thematically focused and organizationally flexible new university.
Berlin University of Digital Sciences (hereinafter referred to as BUDS) is an interdisciplinary university and relies on a transformative didactic concept. It is consistently individualized and taught and researched internationally. With its independent concept oriented towards digital transformation and globalization processes, BUDS combines the necessity of new competence profiles on the labour market with the new framework conditions in the academic - but also non-academic - education sector generated by digitalization.
Interdisciplinarity is ensured by the consequent restriction to the basic fields of teaching and research economy, computer science, communication and law. From this thematic focus, the necessary digital competences are flexibly transformed into an attractive modular study system. The didactic concept with application-oriented research objects, which is consistently geared to the real questions of digitisation, ensures that the proximity to markets, companies and society is also guaranteed at all times.
With Berlin University, therefore, a broadly defined university program is offered, which still does not exist in this form at any university. These are programs which are intended to secure professional success with new competency profiles.
In recent years, the private university sector in Germany has experienced a development boost with numerous new foundations. With just over two percent of the approximately 2 million students, it is still quite small, and the range of subjects offered by private universities is also limited to the legal, economic and social sciences. Nonetheless, private universities have always been and still are an important driver of reforms. They are more flexible and have more freedom of action due to their independence from the state. All in all, there has been a great deal of progress in both teaching and research at state universities in recent years. They are taking advantage of the extended autonomy granted to them by the state departments.
BUDS relies on strengths such as diversity of subjects, research orientation and an established academic tradition. Compared to the young, not yet established private universities, it is of course relatively easy for the historically renowned universities in particular to build their profile on an existing "brand name".
Private universities will play a significant role in the future due to their flexible structures. However, the BUDS must also hold its position in fierce competition but can also take this into account in its role as a pioneer in special courses of study and as a driving force for reform. The competition between private and state universities will play a role in various thematic areas: direct and sometimes even local competition, innovative forms of teaching, the importance of research and transfer for universities, the interface between studies and career, the conditions and possibilities for funding.
In the future, it will no longer be so of major importance whether a university is private or state, but rather what quality and above all what relevance it offers in research and teaching. There will be a spiral of performance in the competition between private and state, which will ultimately benefit the entire academic education system. With its concept of specializing in digital science, BUDS has recognized this as a market niche and an associated USP, which is further strengthened by its close cooperation with the Humboldt University of Berlin.
The real basic idea of the BUDS goes back to a long-lasting concept development. Prof. Dr. Mike Friedrichsen has been discussing for years (beginning 2010) with national and international colleagues about an alternative university institution focusing on the new framework conditions of digital change. Various models of connection to an existing university were also considered. Finally, however, all these considerations have led to a separate and above all independent approach, combined with close cooperation from the existing networks. The result is the present concept of the BUDS. The "BUDS Förder Fonds e.V." was founded in order to accelerate the raising of capital and to create an operating company for the university. The latter then also founded the holding company "Berlin University of Digital Sciences gGmbH" as the sole shareholder. In the meantime, prominent advocates from politics, science and society have been won over for the concept. The evaluation of the BUDS and some initial market research data show that the demand and necessity for a university with this focus exists. However, the implementation depends on idealistic and financial support, especially from companies.
In accordance with the requirements of the Berlin Senate and the Science Council, the operator of the university must provide the necessary financial means, especially in the implementation phase (advance financing). To ensure the sustainability and quality of BUDS, a capital requirement of at least 12 million Euros must be expected in the first five years (high start-up costs for material, space and personnel costs as well as marketing, three-phase model with 3 million Euros 2017/18 - preparation -, 4 million Euros 2018 - implementation - and 3 million Euros 2022 - establishment -). It should be kept in mind that the demand in this highly focused thematic area is very high both internationally and nationally, and thus the break-even point will be reached in the fourth year. In principle, the acquisition of funds via donations and sponsorship directly to the Berlin University of Digital Sciences gGmbH or via the BUDS Förder Fonds e.V. (BUDS FF) is not permitted. is possible. One hundred percent shareholder of the Berlin University of Digital Sciences gGmbH is BUDS FF e.V. The Berlin University of Digital Sciences can thus take over the management as a university and act independently and independently. It is important at this point that the University always ensures no influence can be exerted on scientific activities.
Berlin University will refinance itself from several sources. Last but not least, an essential task will be to create an optimal mix of revenue.
Tuition fee: A key factor in revenue. The costs for studying at Berlin University are in the upper third of comparable offers.
Certificates: This source of revenue is also intended to build up the relationship with companies and to implement them sustainably. The certificates are to be adapted in the short term to the requirements of the market and can also be integrated in the modular option into the master programs (with additional academic examinations).
Research institutes: The institutes (most of the six institutes are already in the process of being founded) are supposed to contribute to the refinancing by means of specific scientific services such as research and development contracts from the business world.
Research: The application of research funding from various pots like the German Research Foundation, the EU, foundations or ministries is another source of income for the Berlin University.
License system: After the implementation of the platform and system infrastructure, the development of modules, certificates and training materials combined with the brand will generate revenues in the long-term planning as offers with one-off or monthly license costs.
Donations / sponsors: Last but not least - based on a successful start - donations of companies, individuals or organizations should be generated. Here, events and events as well as conferences and workshops will be just as much a part as endowed professorships or grants for new academic education.
These multi-pillar revenues are designed to ensure that BUDS are always able to respond to short-term changes in one of the areas (e. g. tuition fees) without fear of liquidity bottlenecks. This also ensures a sustainable financial situation in the medium and long term. In this way, it is also possible to achieve break-even after three years and begin to reduce the funds invested.
The reputation of the private universities is based in many cases on high-quality teaching and research, as can be seen, for example, at Bucerius Law University in Hamburg (ZEIT- foundation as sole shareholder) or Frankfurt University of Finance & Management (financed by the Finance & Management Foundation). For BUDS, the Hertie University of Governance (financing by the Hertie Foundation) and ESMT (with most DAX companies providing funding) can be seen locally in Berlin as direct competitors - in some areas of academic training. The uniqueness of the structure and implementation of the BUDS makes a comparison with these universities only possible to a limited extent. Currently, the CODE University of Applied Sciences has just received the state admission to higher education (from winter semester 2017/2018 with the three bachelor's degree courses in Software Engineering, Interaction Design and Product Management). The Exponential University of Applied Sciences (with a focus on digital business, digital engineering and digital arts) has also submitted an application for admission to the Senate in Berlin for the winter semester. However, these are universities of applied sciences and bachelor's degree programmes, i. e. there is no direct competition to the BUDS.
Nationwide competitors include Hamburg Media School (financed by 50% HMS Foundation, 25.2% City of Hamburg and remaining shares in Hamburg universities) or Zeppelin University (financed by 3 donors: Zeppelin Foundation, Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen AG). Finally, the thematic focus on the topics offered by BUDS will of course increase at all universities. But in the concentration and with the international orientation as well as this unique didactic concept the BUDS is provided with a USP.
BUDS is ready to break new ground. Without question, there is no denying that the education system also needs to explore new avenues in order to meet the challenges of globalisation and digitalisation. It is often said today that universities and entrepreneurial universities compete, but a company that is not prepared to take risks and does not enter new innovative markets is not a free enterprise. In globalization, only those who can adapt to today's global demand in a differentiated way can survive. "Uniform origins, however, have uniform impacts", to quote Humboldt once again. With this state monopoly on education, with uniformity, the future cannot be won. Competition has become global, American universities have long since staged the "going global". In the field of research, internationality is a matter of common sense. Research groups cooperate across continents - just as they compete. Competition is global, the decisive criterion is the time of innovation! Hence now and immediately we need the BUDS.
The strategic options of the BUDS arise from the extensive conception and evaluation and are primarily focused on financial, content and normative aspects.
Short-term: The focus is on admission as a state-accredited university. The process at the Senate and Science Council is scheduled to run for about 10 months. With the submission of the application, the marketing measures for branding and publicizing the content orientation were introduced in parallel. To this end, personnel recruitment is being prepared and the organizational structure is being set up. International cooperation is to be implemented with concrete initial projects and exchange programmes. The establishment of the institutes is also an important cornerstone for consolidating the content and acquisition of research funds.
Medium-term: With the state recognition, the most important positions will be filled immediately (e. g. President of the Foundation, Chancellor, Advisory Board, etc.) and the first study programmes (Master, MBA, Research Training Groups) will start. This involves setting up the personnel structure (assignment of professorships, scientific staff, administration) and thus also the provision of spatial and technical resources (buildings with offices, laboratories, seminar rooms). This phase also includes the deepening of international cooperation and the appointment of endowed professors. The marketing activities for the study and certification programs are being expanded. Depending on their success, the institutes are strengthened with human and material resources.
In the long term: The capacity utilization of more than 500 students and 1,500 participants in certificate courses per year will be reached with 100 percent and should stabilize at this level. Human resources have also reached the level required for quality assurance. The primary goal is to reduce investments and establish the university as a competitive and attractive university for companies.
The BUDS would like to establish itself as one of the few free universities in non-government ownership. The independent shaping of the economic and legal life of the BUDS is in the spotlight. The ambition will be to achieve the highest possible degree of freedom for research and teaching to shape themselves.
This is made possible by the establishment as a non-profit organization, whereby the Berlin University of Digital Sciences controls all its internal processes in teaching, research and administration itself. For this purpose, it has the usual organs of a university (see also slide presentation). Externally, i. e. in business and legal relations, the Berlin University of Digital Sciences is represented as gGmbH.
At BUDS, therefore, the power and responsibility for the configuration of the BUDS are not - as is otherwise customary - in the hands of the operator, but in the hands of the operator. Over and over again, politics and society criticise the "governing" of major sponsors of private universities, who seek to influence the university's research, teaching and self-organisation via the sponsoring structure. The legal structure of the BUDS is intended to consistently exclude this.
The model for all activities at BUDS is Humboldt's educational ideal, which is to be combined with the new framework conditions of digital transformation, especially in relation to the content. The Humboldt's tradition is kept alive by taking into account the diverse perspectives of science and society and focusing on their future issues.
The BUDS sees itself as a university committed to transformative education. In cooperation with the business community, it prepares graduates to meet professional challenges. The most important mission is to enable students to understand the processes of transformation in the context of digital change and to actively promote them as professionals. Personality development and international orientation are promoted, and lifelong learning is made possible through courses of study and certificates. An essential approach is to promote logical and structured thinking and action by applying analytical methods.
The link to the Humboldt University in Berlin is an important cornerstone for the BUDS, not least because of the reference to the Humboldt ideal of education described above. Thus, Wilhelm von Humboldt's content-related considerations were incorporated into the founding of BUDS. Even in today's age of globalization, universities have to position themselves worldwide - and as always, there are new opportunities and new risks. However, the Prussian state wanted "prosperity and peace of the citizens". Humboldt's idea of a university acting independently of the state, which should even be financially secured by its own domain income, was rejected by the government. But even though the Prussian state was unable to decide on a structural release of the universities, the university's internal constitution was free: no school-based teaching of the subject matter. In principle, there have been no compulsory lectures in the universities of German tradition for a long time, except in medicine. The aim of the course was not so much to impart specialist knowledge as to be able to solve problems. Freedom of learning and the students' own responsibility shaped the university. If German universities were to achieve this goal again, it would be a unique selling point worldwide. The cooperation with the Humboldt University of Berlin offers BUDS the opportunity to create a common digital platform at the highest qualitative level in the medium term and to establish a cooperative link to excellence research - and thus to international project cooperations - from the very beginning. In addition, joint professorships and Research Training Groups are planned to consolidate the BUDS' research approach (see LOI of the HU Berlin).
International cooperation is becoming increasingly important today. International networks are of central importance for universities, for example when it comes to positioning in the research landscape or obtaining funding at European level. At the same time, transnational research cooperations are an important contribution to improving the quality of our own research.
The BUDS is integrated into the European and worldwide network of science in research and teaching through a far-reaching network of national and international relations. University partnership agreements have been concluded with universities and colleges in Europe, North and South America and Asia. It is also planned to participate in EU-funded research and exchange projects.
The BUDS contributes its expertise to national and international scientific networks and sharpens its scientific profile through research clusters, associated institutes and joint appointments with non-university research institutions. Concrete exchange programmes for lecturers and students have already been agreed with various universities, and joint study programmes are also planned for the medium term.
An essential component of national and international cooperation is the use of established alumni networks of the participating universities and colleagues. By linking these networks on the BUDS platform, it is possible to access existing knowledge.
The BUDS organises the university time of presence suitable for working people, supplemented by online offers to promote the balance of family, work and studies. The modules can be integrated into internationally recognised degrees (Master of Science and MBA). The study concept is interdisciplinary, independent, international, PhD-capable and practice-oriented. Optional compulsory modules provide for current accents and transdisciplinary implementations. The curriculum provides for a flexible structure of study processes without any time and content restrictions. In this way, all students should be able to complete their studies in accordance with their own priorities during the period of study.
The digital competence profiles are differentiated into specialisations under the heading "Digital Sciences": Digital Transformation Management, Digital Business & Economy, Data Science & Digital Security, Digital Analytics, Global Strategic Communication Management, Digital Media & News Management, Data Management and Digital Law.
The BUDS wants to bring students together with ambitions that develop their potential and together create innovative solutions that can also have a social impact in the sense of the abovementioned remarks. It is possible to build up a digital start-up and network economy in the context of an internationally oriented network.
The BUDS aims to become a kind of centre for digital literacy, similar to the model of business schools in the economic sciences, ultimately an academic institution with excellent research and teaching, closely linked to a dynamic network of start-ups and innovative companies.
Preparing for the labour market 4.0 requires a new emphasis: professional competence is the starting point for a comprehensive, career-oriented and personality-building course of study. For the new work environment, job-relatedness and personality development are becoming more important than ever before. Digitalization is a new interdisciplinary topic, but it has its specific characteristics in all fields. The analysis of large amounts of data and thus statistical competencies will become more important in all disciplines. In addition, study programmes must include the specific effects of digitalization in each subject. For this reason, students at BUDS are provided with three specialist competences: basic technical competences, specific professional competences and digital specialist competences.
We regard responsible leadership at all levels, sustainable economic activity and innovative management in the digital world as the basis for long-term competitive advantages and social progress. These topics are reflected in research projects, study programmes, publications (with own series of editors) and certificates at the BUDS. Finally, the aim is to create a platform that implies an exchange between the network economy, political actors and science. Due to the excellent networking in the academic field, outstanding lecturers from the national and international environment can teach at BUDS. In addition, the scientific cooperation partners in various countries are well linked to companies and politicians, so that the platform can lead to concrete new networks via the digital focal points.
Humboldt University's offerings are focused on digital sciences, with a focus on the pressing challenges of digital transformation, digital business processes (models), digital communication, digital law, digital data and IT security. The BUDS strives for interdisciplinary and at the same time transdisciplinary networking. To this end, representatives of various scientific disciplines work systematically together as a joint faculty in the fields of study and teaching as well as research and development with users and representatives of knowledge from professional and social practice. In transformative research and teaching, which is oriented towards social problems and develops specific transformation paths, BUDS sees itself as part of the social community and, in cooperation with companies, enables application-oriented and practical academic training.
With this university concept, which is oriented towards interactivity and partnership, BUDS offers elements of scientific consulting, further education, contract research and recruitment and thus acts as a partner for companies, organizations and institutions. Tailor-made continuing education programs are also an essential part of the BUDS' offer, so that companies not only have the opportunity to keep their staff at a prominent level of education, but also to offer them attractive jobs. BUDS is interested in offering research and teaching with a high degree of effectiveness and in particular in developing value-added concepts for and with our partners, especially in services.