What are the goals of the Mönchengladbach Knowledge Campus? Who is behind it?
Mönchengladbach, as a business location, is facing a double structural change. As part of the Rhineland lignite area, Mönchengladbach has to cope with the consequences of the reduction of lignite. The local economy is directly and indirectly involved in interregional lignite production chains.
It is already to be expected that the loss of these structures will have to be compensated for. For this we need innovations and new business models in Mönchengladbach. At the same time, digitisation is rapidly changing the way we live and conduct our business. It is crucial for the economic success of the companies in Mönchengladbach to exploit the new opportunities offered by digitisation by means of smart innovations.
Knowledge plays a crucial role in shaping this double structural change. In many ways, knowledge-driven innovations are already ensuring the economic success of many companies and regions, which, for example, benefit from the establishment of knowledge-intensive institutions and organisations. The importance of knowledge transfer, innovation and qualification is constantly increasing. Regions will only be sustainable if science and business together generate new knowledge locally, convert it into practical use and train people accordingly.
For Mönchengladbach, the promotion of knowledge transfer, innovation and qualification are the essential drivers for shaping the future. With the university of applied sciences, innovative medium-sized companies and the growing number of start-ups, Mönchengladbach has the best conditions to establish itself as a centre of knowledge with an interregional appeal. This requires coordinating structures which enable systematic cooperation between the parties involved and provide effective impulses for the further development of Mönchengladbach as a knowledge centre.
In a broad alliance of business, science, politics, administration and society, the Knowledge Campus Mönchengladbach Association aims to increase the potential of Mönchengladbach.
What measures does the MG Knowledge Campus intend to use to promote structural change? Has the implementation already started?
The Knowledge Campus has drawn up an application concept for the former police headquarters and supports the city of Mönchengladbach in the application process within the framework of the emergency programme in the Rhenish mining area.
The presence of the university of applied sciences was of decisive importance in the very first plans, as a link between the two town centres of Rheydt and Mönchengladbach. Now it is precisely this central location that creates an essential prerequisite for the transformation to a knowledge society in Mönchengladbach that is accessible to everyone.
The location of the old police headquarters serves as a hinge between the university of applied sciences, the neighbouring innovative medium-sized companies, the Monforts Quarter – with its innovative areas – the textile academy and the two city centres. It is also the ideal location to give modern, urban living and contemporary sports and leisure facilities available in the immediate vicinity a new urban appeal with a mix of innovation and leisure.
If there was an opportunity to completely redesign Mönchengladbach on the drawing board, an area for the productive co-existence of research, education, knowledge- and innovation transfer and the creative scene would certainly be at the heart of the city center. Thanks to the construction of a new police headquarters, such an area of the required size is now available precisely on the site of the old headquarters.
What is a junior university and what are its objectives?
Structural change requires knowledge. Education is one of the most important factors for successful structural change. Specific knowledge transfer, especially in technical or scientific study subjects (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, technology), can promote individual skills. In order to achieve this goal, Mönchengladbach intends to set up a junior university, along the lines of the Wuppertal Junior University, as an educational and research institution for young people between the ages of four and twenty, and to integrate it firmly into the transformation process. The junior university is an educational network that will strengthen individual talent as well as Mönchengladbach as a future business location.
In close cooperation with the Hochschule Niederrhein, committed teachers of all school types and people from the business world, the junior university is developing and testing new concepts for extracurricular knowledge transfer. There is a varied programme covering a wide range of topics – from natural sciences, history and art to economics, space technology and programming.
Thanks to teachers from the practical field (e.g. high school students and students and research assistants from the Hochschule Niederrhein), the junior students learn and experiment outside the school environment and are able to expand their knowledge and skills playfully and without pressure of grades. In addition to the programme for children and young people, a programme for families is also being developed.
What do you think makes a region or city attractive to students and graduates?
The Lower Rhine region is particularly characterised by many medium-sized companies. Many are hidden champions in their industry. Particularly in medium-sized companies, graduates can make a good contribution with their knowledge. Medium-sized companies are more flexible than large concerns and are often the driving force behind innovations. For graduates, this means that they can take responsibility more quickly and often have a faster career than in larger companies.
Entrepreneurs in the region are also often open to students taking dual courses as well as semester and graduation assignments. This offers students the opportunity to get to know potential employers at an early stage.
More information about the Mönchengladbach Knowledge Campus