»New spaces for data and people«: A new institute building for the Fraunhofer ISST on its 30th birthday
DORTMUND. 30 years after the founding of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST, the institute will move to a new location in autumn 2022, the »lighthouse« in the digital quarter currently being built in Dortmund harbour. The Fraunhofer ISST will celebrate this double reason for joy with a ceremony on 8 September 2022 in the brewing tower of the Dortmunder U. Under the title »New Spaces for Data and People«, the speakers will explain their vision of a social data market economy. Afterwards, the »lighthouse« will be inaugurated.
Creating innovations from data is the core mission of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST, founded in 1992. For years, Fraunhofer ISST has been one of the pioneers in setting up so-called data spaces. These data spaces enable »data sovereignty«: private individuals as well as companies are to be given the chance to retain control over the use of their data when exchanging it with others. To this end, technical and regulatory possibilities are created to attach conditions of use to the data that is shared with others. What sounds very abstract has many advantages in practice: Companies that are actually in competition can, for example, share data with the same suppliers. Citizens have the possibility to regulate the use of their data vis-à-vis authorities and contractual partners.
Digital spaces with democratic principles
»Each of us is increasingly digitally on the move, whether privately or professionally,« says Ina Brandes, Minister for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. »Data protection and data sovereignty are crucial for the acceptance of digital offers. Fraunhofer ISST and its partners are working to ensure that these basic democratic principles are implemented better and more securely in the digital world.«
The approximately 150 employees of the Fraunhofer ISST are on the move from the Dortmund location throughout Europe and internationally in projects aimed at data sovereignty. They are working on the European data infrastructure »Gaia-X« and are in particularly close contact with the International Data Spaces Association, which is also based in Dortmund and aims to build company networks around data spaces. The institute's work focuses on the areas of logistics, data management and health care.
Pioneer for sovereign management of data assets
»The design of data rooms has developed into a key topic for the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft across all institutes. Fraunhofer ISST is playing a pioneering role here with regard to digital collaboration and the sovereign management of data assets,« explains Fraunhofer President Prof. Reimund Neugebauer. »As a key player in this initiative, Fraunhofer ISST generates a significant internal and external impact for our digitisation research, which is also a driver and enabler of innovative new business models. Among other things, the essential contributions to the International Data Spaces and the pan-European Gaia-X project are decisive milestones in this regard.«
Mario Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), explains: »Data from science and research are the basis of tomorrow's innovations, which we so urgently need. They are also the guarantor of technological sovereignty and therefore an integral part of the Federal Government's data strategy. The BMBF and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft - in particular the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST - have been working together for years on the creation and further development of interoperable data spaces and data ecosystems. In projects such as the Mobility Data Space, Catena-X or Fair Data Spaces, they are being implemented in practice in very different sectors. I wish the Fraunhofer ISST the same innovative power and commitment for future research questions that the institute is demonstrating in the International Data Spaces.«
In a few weeks, the staff will have more space and more creative freedom to further advance this research work: Then they will move from the premises in the Technology Park, which have become far too small, into a new building, the »lighthouse« in the Dortmunder Hafen digital quarter currently under construction in Speicherstraße. The building has already become a landmark for the city of Dortmund, visible from afar. The institute's scientists will be provided with state-of-the-art working conditions on around 3,340 square metres spread over six floors.
Living and technologically enabling New Work
»We are at a turning point in the digitised society,« says Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, who has headed the Fraunhofer ISST for five years. »From the perspective of Fraunhofer ISST, this applies in two dimensions: Technologically, we have ever new possibilities to implement data infrastructures in a controllable and sovereign way in the sense of the user. In organisational terms, the last few years of the pandemic have also changed digital cooperation at the institute. We are looking forward to further advancing »New Work« from the new location in the future - in our way of working as well as in our work results.«
The move will take place as early as late autumn this year. Then »innovations from data« will also be among the goods that leave the port of Dortmund and go out into the world. Thomas Westphal, Lord Mayor of the City of Dortmund, is pleased with the attractive location that has been offered to the institute in Dortmund: »Fraunhofer ISST is a leading software research institute in Germany. The interaction of the strong computer science department at our TU and FH, the research institutes such as the Fraunhofer ISST and the large software companies will provide a great boost for the Innovation City Dortmund with attractive training and workplaces in one place. And our new harbour quarter has an anchor with a great reputation.«
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: Contract research for industry and government
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, based in Germany, is the world's leading organisation for application-oriented research. With its focus on future-relevant key technologies and on the exploitation of the results in business and industry, it plays a central role in the innovation process. It is a signpost and initiator for innovative developments and scientific excellence. Founded in 1949, the organisation currently operates 76 institutes and research facilities in Germany. More than 30,000 employees, most of them trained in the natural sciences or engineering, produce the annual research volume of 2.9 billion euros.
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