The b-it – Twenty years of academic teaching and research with an international reputation
The Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (b-it) celebrated its twentieth anniversary these days. Since 2002, it has uniquely combined excellence in research with internationally renowned teaching in three master's degree programs in computer science. Thus, the b-it qualifies students from all over the world for future-oriented professional fields in the areas of life sciences, media informatics and autonomous systems. With the support of the federal and state governments, an institution with a worldwide reputation has emerged over the past 20 years, which at the same time has an impact on the region with innovative research results and highly qualified graduates.
The b-it brings together the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH), the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and three Fraunhofer Institutes – the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing SCAI. The special feature here is the direct cooperation in teaching programs of universities of excellence and non-university research institutions. "The b-it is a prime example of how excellence in research and teaching can be shaped in the IT sector," says Dr. Thomas Ogilvie, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Post DHL and member of the b-it's international advisory board. "Cross-university collaboration, a practical focus and internationality are key success factors here."
The only two North Rhine-Westphalian universities of excellence in Bonn and Aachen, as well as the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences with its strong practical focus, provide the academic part of the collaboration. The participating Fraunhofer institutes contribute their expertise in research and teaching for practical application in industry. "This unique combination produces highly qualified computer scientists who are in demand in regional and international companies as well as in IT research," says Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Executive Director of b-it, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Bonn and Institute Director of Fraunhofer IAIS. "When selecting students, in addition to their outstanding performance, we also pay attention to their practical experience and commitment. In our three master's programs 'Life Science Informatics', 'Media Informatics' and 'Autonomous Systems', we place great emphasis on practical relevance and our students benefit from the synergy effects that arise from the interaction between teaching and research."
The fact that the study program positively shapes the careers of young people was emphasized by Dr. Ajay Abisheck Paul George, alumnus of the Life Science Informatics program and Senior Product Owner at BioSolveIT GmbH in Sankt Augustin, at the anniversary celebration last week in the rooms of the b-it at the Poppelsdorf campus: "The b-it was the milestone in my career so far and opened the door to an interdisciplinary network of mentors and alumni for me."
The founding of b-it was initiated as part of the federal government's move from Bonn to Berlin with the goal of training and retaining highly qualified employees in the region and strengthening the region's reputation. This goal has been successfully achieved over the past 20 years, as Victoria Appelbe, head of the Office of Economic Development of the Federal City of Bonn, confirms: "The study programs attract excellent students from all parts of the world, and b-it decisively strengthens the region's expertise in information technology with its research."
More voices on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary:
Prof. Dr. Paul Plöger, Co-Director of b-it and Professor of Computer Science at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences: "After 20 years, b-it has now come of age. With its many new challenges, we have succeeded during this time in placing the master’s programs successfully and sustainably both nationally and internationally. Our graduates are highly sought after by many global players as well as in medium-sized companies or at universities. I see two reasons for this: first, we have opened the master’s degree in "Autonomous Systems" to current topics such as data science and machine learning, and second, we are very grateful for the support of the state of NRW, without which the successes of b-it would be inconceivable. We are therefore confident that we will also be able to face the questions that will come our way in the next 20 years."
Prof. Dr. Stefan Decker, Co-Director of b-it, Professor of Computer Science at RWTH Aachen University and, Director of Fraunhofer FIT: "I am proud to be able to contribute to steering b-it into the future. It is an outstanding example of successful regional collaboration to enable international visibility - something we need more of!"