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Bavarian universities launch Research Network for Digital Security

The presidents of Bavarian universities have come together to lay the foundations for a Bavarian digital security research network. The University of Passau will be in charge of the network's administrative management.

Am Freitag, 17. März, unterzeichneten Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der beteiligten Universitäten die Erklärung zur Gründung des Forschungsnetzwerkes für Digitale Sicherheit. Foto: UniBayern/Brauns

In a March 17 meeting of the presidents of all Bavarian universities (Uni Bayern e.V.) held in Munich, the universities of Augsburg, Bamberg and Bayreuth, FAU, LMU, Passau, Regensburg, TUM, UTN and Würzburg, who are all committed to furthering digital security, declared their intention to establish the Research Network for Digital Security. Copyright: UniBayern/Brauns 

In a consistent drive to promote digitalisation, Bavaria has set itself ambitious digital security targets. The aim is to face up to a growing menace. The effects of this menace – infiltration with ransomware or attacks on critical infrastructure – can already be seen today. Digital security is fundamental to ensuring continued security and prosperity in Bavaria over the long term. To address the digital security challenges in a strategically planned manner, extensive know-how is needed.

The Free State of Bavaria has the technology potential and academic prowess to successfully strengthen digital security through innovative and high-level application-based research, on the one hand, and technology and knowledge transfer as well as training and further education opportunities to ease the shortage in skilled digital security professionals, on the other. As things currently stand, Bavarian expertise can be rolled out and activated across the board at short- or medium-term notice. However, a nationwide network for research and development in the "digital security" field is needed and now being implemented. In the initiative "Bavarian Research Network for Digital Security", the signatory universities from across Bavaria acknowledge their responsibility and seek to ally themselves with partners from among the many Bavarian universities and from business and society. Previous research and transfer activities in digital research, which had often been undertaken in an isolated fashion, are to be bundled into the Bavarian research network with three strong regional centres to cover the geographically distributed need for research as well as technology and know-how transfer in the short and medium horizon.

Presidents sign declaration

In a March 17 meeting of the presidents of all Bavarian universities (Uni Bayern e.V.) held in Munich, the universities of Augsburg, Bamberg and Bayreuth, FAU, LMU, Passau, Regensburg, TUM, UTN and Würzburg, who are all committed to furthering digital security, declared their intention to establish the Research Network for Digital Security. Top researchers had previously pointed out the need for active participation, and declared their willingness to actively participate in the process, at a meeting held on 15 December 2022 in Passau where they had undertaken discussions on the network's initial subject content. The network will generate synergies and strengthen the distributed digital security competencies already available in Bavaria by integrating them into a network. The aim is to give Bavaria the ability to respond adequately and swiftly to the digital security menace in the short-, medium- and long term. In addition, the education and training opportunities for professionals in the region will be enhanced.

Besides the Bavarian universities, other network partners (academic institutions, universities of applied sciences or extramural research institutions) from across Bavaria will be invited to join. Every network partner will make available their existing digital security structures and competencies and work to improve these strategically in an effort to make an important contribution to the network. Having been put in charge of the network's administrative management, the University of Passau has set up an administrative office. Its task it to coordinate the development of the three hubs and to ensure sustainable networking between them, to perform essential administrative functions for the network as a whole and to coordinate internal and joint public activities within the network itself. "We are delighted that all Bavarian universities have joined the Passau initiative and support it. In a combined effort, we intend to cultivate this cooperative approach together with the universities of applied sciences and the diverse players in business and society while drumming up support from the federal government," says President of the University of Passau Professor Ulrich Bartosch.

Regional hubs

Within the network, several network partners at a time will establish local hubs – specifically for the further regional integration of users in business, industry and society – to serve as regional platforms in Northern, Eastern and Southern Bavaria. These hubs will allow anyone interested, including local authorities and business enterprises, to enter into an exchange about their experiences in different thematic areas and afford short communication channels to ensure that members can reach out to the entire network quickly. The know-how in the research network will thus also be available regionally to help in the implementation of further education opportunities and startups by facilitating a knowledge and technology transfer.

Plans are to set up a hub in Northern Bavaria between the University of Bayreuth, Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg, Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nürnberg and Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg. In the initial phase, the University of Technology Nuremberg and the Northern Bavarian universities of applied sciences will be integrated into the network. Creating an effective network that joins research institutions and relevant business enterprises across all three regional districts will strengthen the visibility and impact of research in Northern Bavaria.

Another hub will be created in Eastern Bavaria to link up the Universities of Regensburg and Passau with the universities in Amberg/Weiden, Deggendorf and Landshut. The institutions in Eastern Bavaria will thus be able to build not only on their expertise but also on their previous collaboration in the INDIGO network. East Bavaria's network partners intend to make active use of this and other networks in a bid to boost their research and teaching and to strengthen transfers and exchanges with users in matters regarding the key issue of digital security in the Eastern Bavarian area.

Another hub in Southern Bavaria will bring together the University of Augsburg, Technische Universität München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtität München as well as the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. Already existing close contacts to other major Bavarian initiatives will facilitate use of the knowledge generated in these institutions of higher learning for the benefit of the network and IT security research, on the one hand, and the organisation of joint local and international events, on the other.

In Munich, the presidents of the Bavarian universities reaffirmed their commitment to building the Bavarian Research Network for Digital Security launched on this day as a joint initiative and reiterated their intention to participate in the network's activities and to help strengthen and expand Bavaria's digital security research within their remit.

Projects in the area of digital security at the University of Passau

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