With its "Digi-FIT" project for digital transformation, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences is one of the seven winners of the Carl Zeiss Foundation's competition in the category “Transfer”. With this funding program, the Foundation supports universities of applied sciences in developing structures and expertise in the research field of "digital transformation". Mannheim proves itself with its project to establish a transfer centre for digital transformation in the health industry (Digi-FIT), which was conceived under the leadership of Professors Dr. Carsten Hopf, Dr. Matthias Rädle (both CeMOS Research Centre) and Dr. Rüdiger Rudolf (Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology). The focus is on industry 4.0 applications and the reliable, automated processing and analysis of data that are generated by the leap in technology in high-throughput technology and digital processing of biomedical images and biomolecular information. The innovation potential of the centre, which is now supported for three years with around €750,000, lies in the added value arising from the combination of the to be newly developed features, interfaces and applications.
"The grant fits perfectly into the university's research and transfer strategy," said Prof. Dr. Mathias Hafner, Prorector for Research and Technology Transfer. It distinguishes the high quality of the research achievements and the transfer potential of the university and motivates to further intensify transdisciplinary cooperation in the main research areas". In addition, the university could strengthen its competences in the field of digitisation through the development of resources for "Big Data" processing and relevant IT expertise.
The Digi-FIT transfer centre rests on four pillars: (A) Smart Production - Industry 4.0, (B) Data integration and 'Big Data' machine learning for data from multimodal biomedical analysis and imaging, (C) Data visualisation and virtual engineering, as well as (D) Cyber Security. The university contributes infrastructure and know-how for the pillars C and D from existing competence centres. The functionalities that Digi-FIT intends to implement also include aspects of central data hosting, data quality, integrity and security. "From a scientific-technical perspective, it is on the one hand our goal to be able to establish even better smart inter-device connectivity for measuring devices in the sense of industry 4.0 'Smart Devices'," clarifies project coordinator Prof. Dr. Carsten Hopf, head of CeMOS. "On the other hand, we will further develop our data-intensive instrument infrastructures in mass spectrometry imaging and 3D microscopy through innovative image and signal processing methods and consistently develop them into platforms for the development of products and services with industry.
In the transdisciplinary project, with a research focus on "Medical Biotechnology / Medical Technology" and "Intelligent Sensor Technology", the university departments Centre for Mass Spectrometry and Optical Spectroscopy (CeMOS), Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Institute of Medical Informatics, Competence Centre Virtual Engineering (KVE) and Competence Centre Information Security (KIS) cooperate closely. Among others, they collaborate with the joint Institute for Medical Technology of the University of Heidelberg and the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences with the research campus M2OLIE, the Economic Development Agency of the City of Mannheim, the Smart Production network, numerous universities in Germany and abroad and, above all, more than 100 regional companies and networks. The new project is to be integrated into the innovation partnership " Multimodal Analytics and Intelligent Sensorics for the Healthcare Industry" (M2Aind).
"Digi-FIT is a further component that expands and consolidates the position of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences as a nationally important research player at the interface between life sciences, industry 4.0 technologies and computer science," explains the vice-chancellor. The transfer centre increases the opportunities to create added value for ongoing projects, to conduct additional collaborations with (small and medium-sized) companies, to efficiently transfer project results to industry and to expand cooperation with local companies on important innovation topics.
About the Carl Zeiss Foundation
The Carl Zeiss Foundation has set itself the goal of creating a nurturing environment for scientific breakthroughs. As a partner of excellence in science, it supports both fundamental research and application-oriented research and teaching in the STEM subject areas (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Founded in 1889 by the physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe, the Carl Zeiss Foundation is the oldest private science funding institution in Germany. It is the sole owner of the Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. It finances its funding activities through dividends paid by the two foundation companies.