Status: April 2022
Achieving more together is what the research organizations and scientific institutions of the “ABC Region”, the triangle of the cities Aachen, Bonn and Cologne, prove with their close cooperation every day. Only few conurbations in Germany possess a comparably high concentration of education and research institutions. The ABC region is even considered the area with the densest concentration of research and technology organizations in all of Europe. In such fine company, Bonn has long since acquired a reputation as an important international hub of science.
Science and international orientation
Science goes hand in hand with Bonn’s international orientation. Bonn is the seat of a Vice Rectorate of the United Nations University (UNU-ViE). The city on the Rhine is home to the UNU Programme for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). The United Nations University cooperates closely with the University of Bonn and its Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung - ZEF), as well as with the Institute of Geography, which has been offering the UNU’s first-ever Masters progam with a state university since 2013.
In order to further expand the cooperation between BICC (Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies), the German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS), the United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the University of Bonn with its faculties as well as the Center for Development Research (ZEF), these institutions, under the leadership of the University of Bonn, founded the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research during the World Climate Conference in Bonn in 2017. The regional research alliance aims to further strengthen research in the field of sustainable development and global change. The six alliance partners want to jointly create a platform for society-wide work towards a sustainable future and bundle a wide variety of ideas, expertise and perspectives on the topic of sustainability, strengthen competencies and networking.
The Council of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has decided that a new site of the European authority with up to 350 employees will be established in Bonn as of 2021. ECMWF is a scientific world leader in global numerical weather prediction and climatology and a central component of the European infrastructure in the field of weather forecasting and climate research. The University of Bonn, the University of Cologne and the Research Center Jülich have established a joint Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC). This creates an internationally visible focal point in the Rhineland to globally observe and comprehensively understand the Earth system and to predict changes.
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn
In addition to the UN organizations and international organizations based in Bonn, the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn has also been a major part of the city's international spirit for more than 200 years. As one of eleven German universities of excellence (and the only university with six clusters of excellence), it has enormous international appeal. Around 5,000 of the more than 35,000 students come from abroad. The university maintains intensive bilateral partnerships with 70 universities on five continents and is one of the most popular destinations in Germany for international researchers who come to Germany, for example, on scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In addition, there are several thousand joint research projects with partners around the globe. The University and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), with a combined workforce of around 9,000, are not only among the largest employers in the region, they also produce around 4,500 highly qualified graduates each year.
Their broad spectrum of subjects in their seven faculties ranges from agricultural sciences to dentistry; numerous subjects hold top positions in international competition. In addition to strong disciplines, six cross-faculty and cross-disciplinary "Transdisciplinary Research Areas" (TRA) also form spaces of exploration and innovation in which key scientific, technological and societal challenges are addressed.
The University of Bonn is one of the most important research universities in Germany and also enjoys a high reputation worldwide. As part of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments, Bonn became one of only eleven universities of excellence in Germany and two in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2019. Together with the six clusters of excellence acquired in September 2018 in the second funding line of the excellence strategy, the University of Bonn is thus the most successful university in the Germany-wide excellence competition.
In order to make research results useful for society, the University of Bonn focuses on knowledge transfer and science communication. It is thus a motor of social and technological progress. The optimization of computer chips using the methods of discrete mathematics or the discovery and use of the Lotus effect for dirt-repellent surfaces are success stories of the University of Bonn. Numerous companies have already been founded in cooperation with university institutes, and hundreds of inventions and industrial property rights have been registered. The forms of cooperation with industry are diverse and range from sponsoring and the joint establishment of endowed professorships to scholarships and contract research projects. These transfer activities are being further expanded through the Transfer Center enaCom, which was newly conceived as part of the University of Excellence application.
With the "Digital Hub Region Bonn AG", the business community, the University of Bonn, the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, the City of Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis (Rhine-Sieg District) founded a new platform in2016 to support growth-oriented start-ups in the field of digital applications on the path to their own company. Numerous start-ups have already emerged from the Digital Hub environment.
The City of Bonn and the University of Bonn have been closely intertwined ever since the university was founded. In the year of the university's 200th anniversary, the ties between the two partners have intensified even further. The City and the University have placed their cooperation on a new contractual footing. Strategic fields of action were defined in a "Memorandum of Understanding" signed in 2018.
The five core topics are:
- Urban development and university infrastructure, in particular the development of the campuses.
- Internationality, UN and sustainability topics
- Dual career and family
- Knowledge and technology transfer
- Communication and information exchange.
Science region with a focus on neuroscience
The Federal Government’s decision to move Germany's capital and government to Berlin had far-reaching consequences for the Bonn region. The city and region emerged stronger from the ensuing period of upheaval, not least because they also relied on science as a factor for the future.
On the basis of the Berlin/Bonn Act passed in 1994, the Bonn region developed into a center of science. One focal point was the establishment of the "caesar" foundation - the "center of advanced european studies and research", which today is active in the field of neuroscience in association with the Max Planck Society. The neuroscientific and life-scientific focus of the Bonn science region is complemented by the "LIFE & BRAIN" research platform, which is also financed with compensation funds, and the German Center for Research into Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), founded in 2009 as a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. Currently, around 1,000 employees nationwide are investigating the causes of diseases of the nervous system and developing measures for prevention, therapy and care. About half of them work at the DZNE headquarters on the Venusberg in Bonn, in close proximity to the relevant institutes and clinics of the University Hospital Bonn.
Universities in the Bonn region
The establishment of new university locations on the Rhine, Sieg and Ahr rivers has rounded out the region's educational offerings. The universities of applied sciences have developed very well, train urgently needed academic specialists and cooperate closely with the regional economy. The RheinAhrCampus in Remagen, which is part of Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, is home to the departments of "Business and Social Economics" and "Mathematics and Technology". The courses on offer range from business administration to sports management and logistics. The Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, with its three campuses in Sankt Augustin, Rheinbach and Hennef, comprises the departments of Applied Natural Sciences, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Technical Journalism, Computer Science, Social Policy and Social Security, and Economics. By cooperating with the regional economy and with other research institutes and universities, the university facilitates a lively transfer of knowledge and technology, which strengthens the innovative power of the region.
Other universities in the region include the IUBH International University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef, a state-recognized, private university with study programs in aviation, hotel, tourism and event management as well as international management. The Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Alfter offers degree programs in architecture and business administration in addition to artistic and educational subjects. The private, state-recognized University of Applied Sciences for Finance and Management in Bonn, the Cologne University of Catholic Theology (KHKT) in Sankt Augustin, universities especially for part-time study programs, the Bonn Center of the Distance Learning University of Hagen and the FOM University of Applied Sciences in Bonn round out the broad spectrum of higher education institutions in the Bonn science region.
Science and research institutions
The fact that high-tech and know-how "made in Bonn" have been successful export articles of the region for many years is also a credit to the research institutions located here. These include the Fraunhofer Institutes SCAI, IAIS and FIT in Sankt Augustin, where research projects are pursued in cutting-edge fields such as robotics, bioinformatics and information and communications technology. The Fraunhofer Institutes FHR and FKIE in Wachtberg are active in the fields of security research and radar technology, among others. The Fraunhofer Institute FKIE has been operating an additional institute location in Bonn since 2016. The spectrum is complemented by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne-Porz and Bonn-Oberkassel. The Max Planck Society maintains the Max Planck Institutes for Mathematics, for Radio Astronomy and for the Study of Common Goods in Bonn. The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change (LIB), which is a merger of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), Bonn, and the Center for Natural History of the University of Hamburg, has been in existence since July 1, 2021. The Leibniz Association in Bonn also includes the German Institute for Adult Education and the branch of the German Museum in Bonn.
Science intermediary and funding organizations and educational policy institutions
In addition to the numerous educational and research institutions, the Bonn region is also home to a number of Germany's leading science intermediary and funding organizations. Decisions of great significance for the German research landscape are prepared and made here. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has its first official seat in Bonn. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the self-governing organization of German science, has its headquarters at Kennedyallee in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. The DFG competitively promotes and funds the best research projects by scientists at universities and research institutes. Not far from the DFG is the world's largest funding organization for the international exchange of students and scientists, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Other organizations are located in and around the Wissenschaftszentrum des Stifterverbandes für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Science Center of the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany) on Ahrstraße, close to DFG and DAAD, including offices of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (German Informatics Society) and the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (German Rectors' Conference, HRK). The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation AvH, the German National Academic Foundation, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of the federal and state governments and the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states (KMK) are also located in Bonn.
Bonn is also home to national educational institutes and federal institutions focusing on research and science, including the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE), the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and the Federal Institute for Sport Science (BISp).