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ERNACT regions network gets to know new member region Hof via speed dating

Hof University of Applied Sciences is becoming increasingly international: Now the European regional network ERNACT held its first international management committee meeting in Upper Franconia, its newest member region. During these days, representatives from various European regions had the opportunity to learn more about Hof University of Applied Sciences and the innovation ecosystem in which the university is embedded. The meeting took place at the Einstein1 start-up center. The aim of the meeting was to set the course for future topics and cooperation between the member regions.

Met for the first time in Hof: The European regional network ERNACT; Image: ERNACT;

As a university of applied sciences, Hof University of Applied Sciences has strongly focused its research on cooperation with manufacturing companies, particularly from the region, from the very beginning. Now it is going one step further to the international level: Hof University of Applied Sciences has set up an international strategy with a new focus on European funding pots: both the development of showcase examples and the establishment of new partner networks are now well established and beneficial for the five research institutes. One of the international strategy modules has emerged from a joint project with ERNACT: DIGITAL REGIONS, a project with eight European partners, went so well that the university was invited to join a permanent consortium.

We asked Hof University of Applied Sciences to join our network because we see similarities in the challenges that all regions in the ERNACT network face and in the expertise that the university brings to the network.”

Dr. Caitriona Strain, Managing Director ERNACT

in 2023, the time had come: Hof University of Applied Sciences joined ERNACT.

Benefits of ERNACT for Hof University of Applied Sciences

To date, ERNACT and the university have worked together on three project proposals. ERNACT also supports the university when innovative ideas and EU partners are sought. In the same way, the university and the Wirtschaftsregion Hochfranken e.V., the economic region of Upper Franconia, which supports the cooperation, also find suitable partners in Upper Franconian companies and research groups for the European partners. The chance encounters are impressive: When employees from the various partner organizations meet and discover that the other has what they are looking for. And this is very much in line with the EU’s principle of promoting regions: not everyone has to reinvent everything themselves, but can learn from others and share their own knowledge.

“Speed dating” at the “Einstein1” start-up center; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

For this reason, we had prepared a speed dating event where people could inform each other about common challenges and new topics in an informal and rather playful way.”

Katrin Müller, EU Network Manager

Each exchange lasted a total of five minutes and covered topics such as digitalization, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The exchange took place over a total of 10 rounds, which will then form the basis for upcoming projects and topics.

Lively exchange between representatives of Hof University of Applied Sciences and their international guests; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The Mayor of Hof, Angelika Bier, presented the cultural, economic and cultural-historical highlights of Upper Franconia and welcomed the guests to Hof. The program also included a general meeting and an excursion to the German-German Museum in Mödlareuth.

Hof’s mayor Angela Bier welcomed the guests as a representative of the municipality; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Well networked in Europe

“We are very satisfied with the range of funding that ERNACT has built up and continues to develop expertise in, as well as with the established contacts that the network provides,” says Anne-Christine Habbel, Head of Research Marketing and idea generator for the cooperation. The university management welcomes the link between the research topics and the topics and needs of regional companies:

“Interdisciplinarity and networking are not only very important for researchers within the university, but also in Europe with other researchers and multipliers.”

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Valentin Plenk, Vice President Hof University of Applied Sciences

Hof University of Applied Sciences is focusing on this in its now stronger international orientation.

Katrin Müller
Anne-Christine Habbel

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