A Trip for Transatlantic DialogueEn route with Minister President Kretschmann: Vice President Harald Riegel is a member of the delegation trip to California and Ontario
Vice President Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel represented Aalen University during a delegation trip to California and Ontario with Minister President of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann and Minister of Science, Research and Arts Theresia Bauer. The goal is to enhance the good cooperation on topics like mobility, energy and climate change and Industry 4.0. Minister Vice President Riegel is the representative of Aalen University in the Programme “Science”, directed by Minister Theresia Bauer.
Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Kretschmann travelled to California in 2015 with University President Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider – now, the initiated projects can be developed further. The delegation visited San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the last few days, and for today and tomorrow, the programme includes Toronto and Ottawa. During the trip, representatives signed a declaration of intent to designate Baden-Württemberg and California as sister states. Besides that, the trip will deepen the partnership with the Canadian province Ontario, which has connected the states for over thirty years.
Digitalisation in Focus
Next to mobility, energy and Industry 4.0, digitalisation is also included as a focus of the trip. “The Americans really cleaned up in the first round of digitalisation. Now we are in the second round, where it is all about interconnectedness. With the internet of things, we’re up there with the rest!” says Kretschmann. These were the topics discussed with the pioneers in Silicon Valley: especially regarding Industry 4.0, the newest trends in artificial intelligence, intelligent mobility concepts and digitalistaion in the field of health. “Aalen University has established and positioned itself well here in past years. Corresponding opportunities and newly designed degree programmes like Digital Health Management and Internet of Things, for example, can be studied at Aalen University”, says Vice President Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel.
The Mecca of Start-up-Culture
The exchange and cooperation with California hopes to drive topics regarding mobility forward. “The megatrends like electrification, digitalisation, autonomous driving and sharing-models catapulted us into a new era for mobility”, says Kretschmann. “California is the forerunner in electric mobility, and digitalisation allows us to better manage the flow of traffic through driver assistance systems and autonomous driving”. Another important topic was the young entrepreneurs and start-up-culture in Silicon Valley, where the delegation participants exchanged ideas with young founders. Impressed, Riegel exclaimed, “it is fascinating to experience the ‘Mecca of start-up-culture’ up close”. After all, the spirit of innovation of founders is important for the sustainability of a country. “As founder’s university Aalen, we would like to shine like a lighthouse for entrepreneurial thinking and start-up methods – both in teaching and in the form of effective practice transfers. We consequently address that, not least through our Innovation Center and the founder initiative start-UP!de”, emphasises the Vice President.
In Canada, the delegation will experience how classic automobile centers promote changes in mobility with science, research, development and production. “Electric mobility is also a large and important field of research for Aalen University, which is promoted with other foci like the joint research project SmartPro. This develops smart materials for electric mobility and new intelligent production processes for industrial implementation with fifty industry partners in the region, as well as for other applications”, says Vice President Riegel. Due to the focus of the trip, a high-ranking delegation of over 100 participants accompanies Kretschmann – among them representatives from the cabinet, state parliament and the economy as well as from universities, scientific and research institutions and communes.
Photo credits: © Staatsministerium Baden-Württemberg und © Aalen University/ Peter Schlipf