Research should be application-oriented? And directly improve the life of people and the environment? The projects of Prof. Bernd vom Berg could hardly have any more practical relevance. The expert on electrical engineering and information technology at the Technical University Georg Agricola (THGA), Bochum/Germany, develops intelligent systems, which benefit Bochum directly, and also the animal inhabitants. He was awarded the first Third Mission Award from the university for his innovative ideas and social commitment (Figure 1).
With “Third Mission” the THGA describes its mission to link civil society and companies more closely with the university and promote the transfer of knowledge – alongside its core activities of research and teaching. The Third Mission includes cooperation projects with partners outside the academic landscape or initiatives, which should inspire the so-called “pioneers” for an academic education. Due to its application-oriented focus, the THGA is very active here. But last year Prof. vom Berg was the most active on the “Third Mission”.
With his team he developed a special monitoring system, which was originally designed to monitor legacies of the mining industry. A good deal more has now come out of it. The “Hai-Tech” system now also controls and protects large aquariums and terrariums in Bochum Zoo, with whom the THGA has been successfully cooperating for several years. More zoos throughout Germany are to be added in the future.
Prof. vom Berg was also able to find many more interesting locations for his technology solutions nearby. The sensors made by THGA are currently attached to a Bochum game reserve and monitor wild boars and similar animals. For this, the lecturer works closely with students from the Schiller School. And even the pond in Bochum city park cannot manage without the equipment of the electrical engineering professor. Here in the local recreation area Prof. vom Berg continuously checks the water quality and advises the city of Bochum on water management and monitoring.
“Excellent projects like these show how the applied research of the THGA works in urban society over the long term and what opportunities arise from it for further cooperation”, said Provost Prof. Jürgen Kretschmann at the award ceremony. “We want to continue to actively stimulate this dialogue between university and society and therefore honour special commitment in the future with a separate award, which will now be awarded every year.” (THGA/Si.)