Research at the University of Technology Nuremberg is picking up speed: First third-party funded projects approved

Vier rote DB Cargo Züge nebeneinander seitlich fotografiert.
Das erste internationale Forschungsprojekt der UTN beschäftigt sich mit dem Thema Logistik im Schienengüterverkehr (Copyright: DB Cargo Polska)

Third-party funding plays an important role in assessing the research power of universities. Just two and a half years after its foundation, the University of Technology Nuremberg (UTN) already has a solid standing in this respect: more than one million euros in third-party funding will be available to its researchers in 2023 alone. The first two research projects at UTN, which will be funded by third parties from the beginning, are now starting.

NÜRNBERG. “Bavaria’s youngest university is now able to retrieve research funds from the German Research Foundation and the European Union. With our first third-party funded projects, we are once again demonstrating the progress we have made in building up research at UTN in recent weeks and months. I congratulate my colleagues on the approval of the projects”, said Founding President Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Jürgen Prömel. Prof. Dr. Alexander Martin, Founding Vice President for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, adds: “At UTN, there are already many committed scientists, numerous exciting research topics and an inspiring research culture, all of which are laying the foundation for interdisciplinary and target-oriented scientific work. I wish the project participants much success with their research projects!”

Advancing digital school development

Prof. Dr. Isa Jahnke, Founding Vice President and Professor of Information Science and Learning Technologies is leading the project “Digital Leadership & Communication and Cooperation Development (LeadCom)” (funding code 01JA23E01F) at UTN. It is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project kicked-off on August 1, 2023 and has a duration of three years. The collaborative project with Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) as the alliance coordinator, and other partner universities, aims at advancing digital school development by offering a training and support system for school administrators and teachers as well as developing practice materials at general and vocational schools. The project participants are using the already researched and evidence-based action model “Digital Didactic Design”. They make it available digitally to schools on site, adapt it as needed, and implement it in teaching practices. All measures are evaluated and further developed based on the learning experience design – for example, with regard to usability or learning experience. “Germany is lagging behind in terms of digital teaching in an international comparison. This makes it all the more important for us to sustain the model in the long run. We want to use workshops to enable digital leaders, i.e. stakeholders at schools, to drive digital teaching forward and support it in the long run”, explains Prof. Dr. Isa Jahnke.

First International Research Project on Rail Freight Logistic

How can rail freight logistics problems be solved using mixed-integer optimization models, statistical methods, binary program formulations and decomposition approaches? As part of UTN’s first international research project, Dr. Jonasz Staszek is investigating this problem together with Prof. Dr. Alexander Martin from the Lab Analytics and Optimization. For this purpose, he is cooperating with DB Cargo Polska. The contractual partner in the project is the software house Nodus. “In the railway logistic sector, we face many planning challenges. In order to optimize processes in a sustainable way, we focus on making decisions based on science and using research results as a foundation for our actions. Only by doing so can we create a logistic system with the highly efficient freight transport that benefits all stakeholders in the long term”, Michal Batko, COO of DB Cargo Polska points out. Dr. Staszek’s research deals, among other things, with the scheduling of locomotives and the duty rosters of their drivers. It also looks at logistical issues in transport, for example how cleaning processes of wagons can be optimized for different cargoes or how resources can be easily localized as well as profitably used. Since a large proportion of the transports are international, the scientist is also working on proposals, on how resources can best be adapted to the regulations of the various countries. “The research project gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the potential of our method on the real problem of our industry partner DB Cargo Polska. This makes the project particularly interesting for me”, emphasizes Dr. Jonasz Staszek. The project is divided into several phases and originated from his dissertation at FAU, titled “Modeling and solving the integrated locomotive scheduling and driver assignment problem with an extension to graph 2-list-coloring problem with compatibility constraints.”

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About the University of Technology Nuremberg

The University of Technology Nuremberg was founded on January 1, 2021 and has been the first new foundation of a state-run university in Bavaria since 1978.  With its consistently interdisciplinary approach, an innovative spectrum of subjects, new teaching methods and a future-oriented organizational structure, a model university will be created when it comes to teaching and research. The university is to have an international, interdisciplinary and digital approach. Upon completion, up to 6,000 students will be able to study on a campus embedded in the surrounding quarters.