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University and economic region strengthen cooperation with European regions

The Hof University of Applied Sciences, together with the economic region Hochfranken, would like to advance the exchange on a European level and promote innovations. This is to take place within the framework of the partner network ERNACT. A memorandum to this effect has now been signed by university president Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, the Vice President for Research and Development, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Valentin Plenk, as well as by the Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken e.V. – represented by the Executive Board Rolf Brilla and Managing Director Susanne Lang. It expresses the common goals of the organizations.

Picture (f.l.): Katrin Müller, Anne-Christine Habbel (both Hof University of Applied Sciences), University President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.. Jürgen Lehmann, Rolf Brilla (Executive Board of Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Valentin Plenk (Vice President Research and Development of Hof University of Applied Sciences, Susanne Lang (Managing Director Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The Institute for Information Systems at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iisys) had already made a start by cooperating in the European DIGITAL REGIONS project: Now Hof University of Applied Sciences has joined the European regional network ERNACT. The network, based in Ireland, leads a community of eleven European regions and coordinates applications of communication technology. The goal here is to work on issues of the future: Economy, sustainability, technologies and dealing with climate change are on the agenda – always linked to new developments in digitalization. Upper Franconia now becomes the twelfth region in the network.

“We warmly welcome Hof University of Applied Sciences as a representative of its region. The members have unanimously approved their inclusion. We are therefore very pleased that we will now work together, ” said Colm Mc Colgan, General Manager of ERNACT.

Roots in Ireland

ERNACT is a “European and Economic Interest Grouping” that operates as a company based on EU law. It is owned by County Donegal Council in Ireland and Derry and Strabane District Council (Northern Ireland). The network aims to drive digital innovation in their partner regions from across the EU.

The network is made up of experienced project partners who have been jointly attracting funding for around thirty years. This vast experience in managing technology-oriented projects is now also benefiting Upper Franconia. The projects are mostly mapped via the so-called “INTERREG funding lines”, the aim of which is to strengthen interregional exchange between Europe’s rural regions. Concrete innovation projects in the regions can then be initiated via this. This continuous “look over the shoulder” at partners throughout Europe makes it possible to publicize solutions that have already been tried and tested and to adapt them to one’s own needs. Specifically, the wishes of the region are communicated to ERNACT, which in turn drives the joint development of all partners through projects.

Hof University of Applied Sciences is the only German member

Hof University of Applied Sciences is the only German member of ERNACT. The network has so far cooperated with 160 organizations from 50 regions – Of these, there are 11 core regions that initiate the project plans in the network. Upper Franconia becomes number 12 when Hof University of Applied Sciences joins the network.

The advisory partner organization in this constellation is the economic region Hochfranken, which accompanies the activities of the network with its approximately 350 member companies and organizations as well as public institutions.

Voices on membership

“We will benefit greatly from this European-oriented partnership on the one hand with the Economic Region Hochfranken and on the other hand with ERNACT. We can pass on the newly acquired knowledge via the European partner projects to the companies and organizations in our region through the economic region.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, President Hof University of Applied Sciences

“From a research perspective, ERNACT offers us the opportunity to take up proven research results again and to exchange know-how. We can gain a lot of new expertise for our region here – and pass on our expertise.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Valentin Plenk, Vice President Research and Development

“As a region of hidden champions, half of whose exports go abroad, the exchange of experience with other countries is important to our economic region. The cooperation with ERNACT offers the chance to network ideas and actors in a new way and to think European promotion in new dimensions.”

Rolf Brilla, Board of Directors Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken e.V.

“We may have regional roots in Hochfranken, but we benefit from exchanges with other, similar regions. Thinking internationally moves Hochfranken forward, and the role of the economic region is to bring the European added value of this cooperation to the region. Hof University of Applied Sciences is building bridges to neighboring European countries in this regard.”

Susanne Lang, Managing Director of Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken e.V.

Katrin Müller
Anne-Christine Habbel

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