These partial strategies also define the requirements for our processes (including measures and tools) as well as structures. Distinct cycles can be determined in our transfer strategy: Transfer 1.0 by the end of 2004, Transfer 2.0 by the end of 2015, and Transfer 3.0 from 2016 onwards.
Transfer 1.0 - Leverage of untapped potential
The fact that research and transfer are core processes embraced by our university today is due to the systematic implementation of a key policy adopted in 1998. According to this policy, research and teaching are equal pillars that enhance each other's quality. Since the main focus of universities of applied sciences at that time was teaching, the first challenge was to especially promote the potential of research. For this reason, we created an incentive scheme featuring twelve elements as a "research drive" from the end of the 1990s.
Another objective was to address new research topics, creating a distinct profile. This was achieved by applying for federal state funding for several interdisciplinary research structures. With regard to transfer activities, we took greater efforts to proactively initiate projects with companies in the region. The Transfer Office, which until then had one employee and mainly responded to enquiries from outside the university, was systematically strengthened by externally funded projects specific to certain industries, technologies or regions. "Train - Transfer in Steinfurt", a joint initiative with the District of Steinfurt, was also launched in 2001.
Transfer 2.0 - Professionalisation of strategies, processes and structures
The transfer strategy was advanced and fine-tuned from 2005 in the Second University Development Plan (HEP II) and from 2011 in the Third University Development Plan (HEP III), and also translated into concrete measures and tools, and tested and evaluated. Process orientation is a strong element of quality management at Münster University of Applied Sciences. As a consequence, we have analysed individual transfer activities, derived processes from them, and professionalised structures. This period led to the emergence of closely interconnected partial strategies on aspects such as startups, participating interests and patenting/exploitation. Back then, we were the first university of applied sciences in North Rhine-Westphalia to formulate the latter. Since then, our research institutes have been key structural elements in the partial strategy for research promotion within the university. We have used these research institutes to stimulate interdisciplinary research as a basis for transferring knowledge and technology. When the option of offering cooperative PhD studies became legally permissible, we seized the opportunity and, as a result, reinforced junior academic staff positions. In 2008, we were one of the first universities of applied sciences in Germany to establish a Doctoral Studies Programme and, in addition, initiated an internal job scheme for supporting early career researchers.
Since the initiation of HEP II, and to an even greater extent since HEP III, knowledge transfer has increasingly focused on the development of dual study programmes and continuing professional development. We wish to respond to this increased need for lifelong learning by providing a high degree of knowledge and experience. The "PLUSPUNKT" series of events communicates study strategies to students, interconnecting offers provided by the Career Service and startup consultancy. And since trust is a key factor in successful innovation partnerships, we set ourselves the goal of developing long-term partnerships and alliances. In addition to analysing and systematising our existing partnerships, we have developed tools to intensify these alliances and to take them on to the next level of partnership.
Transfer 3.0 - Transfer 2020 and partial strategies for further areas of development
As a core element of its future orientation, our university has defined seven strategic areas of development that are reflected throughout the Fourth University Development Plan (HEP IV). Under the working title "Transfer 2020", we systematically take up the interconnectedness of our three core processes - teaching, research and transfer -, concentrate resources, and contemplate alternative and integrated services and forms of exploitation. The aim is to specifically implement targeted measures to tap and further develop innovative areas of business.
Inspired by concepts of an "entrepreneurial university", our central idea is that of the "committed university". Although it is essential to secure the financial means for our considerably expanded range of offerings, we do not seek to generate profit or profitability. Instead, our "return on investment" may take the form of exciting research questions, the reinforcement of junior academic staff, and opportunities for early career researchers, new partnerships and social impetus for an attractive region that is a desirable place to live. In addition to Transfer 2020, we also tackle other areas of development, derive our own partial strategies, and translate them into (regionally synchronised) measures.
Exchange processes with many groups in society
In science with and for business, Münster University of Applied Sciences has made a name for itself not only nationally, but also in some areas on the international arena. We continuously optimise our strategies and measures. Along the lines of the "third mission", our understanding of transfer also embraces the cultural, social and political dimension, involving numerous groups. In many places, members of the university make a valuable contribution to addressing social challenges; take a stance; and transfer values such as tolerance. The aim of our "healthy living" area of development is to clearly embed science with and for society in the transfer strategy; to define clear, overarching goals; and to derive measures from these goals.
After all, demographic change, and the wide-ranging impact it has on medical and care services, poses a challenge to health and welfare systems - particularly in the rural area of Münsterland. Efficient healthcare services, disease prevention, and the promotion of independent ageing are essential aspects. The solutions should allow equal participation and well-being in society, albeit with a limited cost budget. As a neutral catalyst for ideas, a partner in innovation and a change manager, Münster University of Applied Sciences can contribute to ensuring high-quality services and a high quality of life in and around Münster, and to transferring the models developed to other regions. Consequently, in implementing our "münster.land.leben - health care, participation and well-being in rural areas" partial strategy, we consistently focus on our previous success factors: a triad of strategic, scientific/analytic and operational levels; the consideration of target group-specific requirements by involving relevant stakeholders along vertical and horizontal value chains; and, last but not least, our resilient partnerships.