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“iwe” and “inwa” move to replace the Institute for Water and Energy Management

Strong growth in the research sector is leading to a significant change at Hof University of Applied Sciences: The former Institute for Water and Energy Management at Hof University of Applied Sciences (iwe) will in future be split into two institutes with future-relevant focal points: While the “Institute for Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Technology” will retain the short form “iwe”, the new Institute for Sustainable Water Systems will in future operate under the name “inwa”. The split into two institutes is also intended to provide a clear focus for researchers.

Archive photo: In the middle of last year, the topping-out ceremony was held at the future institute building – after completion, researchers from two institutes will be working here; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The previous iwe last counted more than 30 scientific employees in 10 research groups as well as the respective research group leaders. A continuation of this development is forecast for the new iwe focal points of hydrogen and energy self-sufficiency, as well as for the working groups in water-related research:

Research in high demand

University President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann:

There is currently no end in sight to this trend. Especially against the backdrop of climate change, the energy crisis and increasing extreme weather events, research is faced with major tasks. Organizationally, as well as for better visibility for the respective economic sectors, it is therefore useful to transfer the two areas into autonomy.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann

This also makes sense because work processes, approaches and networks increasingly differ from one another, which takes up valuable time resources of the scientific staff, Prof. Dr. Dr. Lehmann continued.

Advantages of independence

The departments, which have grown considerably, can now position and organize themselves much better in terms of specific topics:

Our scientific work thrives on professional exchange and discussion. Therefore, there are internal routines such as the institute seminar, which will be much more focused due to the separation of the two departments. “

Prof. Dr. Tobias Plessing

And further: “Cross-sectional topics can and should, of course, continue to be worked on across the institutes, but in the day-to-day work everyone can focus on their specialist areas from now on,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tobias Plessing, who will continue to lead the fortunes of the iwe, while the inwa is currently represented by Prof. Günter Müller-Czygan as spokesman for the institute’s management. And there are other advantages of independence: In some funding programs, such as ZIM SME funding, both institutes can now submit their own applications in a joint project. Previously, the limited funding budget had to be shared.

Topic-specific focus

But the thematic focus is also obvious: While the new iwe (Institute for Hydrogen and Energy Technology) will have a strong focus on knowledge-oriented research and applied technical research and development, the inwa (Institute for Sustainable Water Systems) will further expand its applied research and development in the focus areas of sponge city, photonics, food production, and knowledge transfer and sustainability.

“These advantages can and will be freely exploited by the two new institutes, making them more efficient.”

Prof. Günter Müller-Czygan

Organizational steps

Until the completion of the joint institute building on the campus of Hof University of Applied Sciences, the researchers will continue to work distributed in the offices and laboratories of the existing university infrastructure. Due to its strong focus on knowledge-oriented and applied research, the new iwe will occupy the new building with its laboratories. The inwa will use the laboratories planned for the water sector in it. For the professors and scientific staff, it is planned to concentrate the premises within the university in one place with a view to further growth. Initially, of course, IT infrastructure, public appearances, personnel administration, etc. will have to be reallocated or reassigned. New institute logos and adjustments to the corporate design have already been implemented.

Rainer Krauß

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