An innovation hub unites research and industry for an international campus at Ottobrunn

2 August 2012

The next generation of aerospace engineers and researchers will soon begin training near Munich as the first research projects of the new Bavarian International Campus Aerospace & Security (BICAS) will start later this year at the EADS site in Ottobrunn.

This unique facility – evolved by EADS and six other founding partners with backing from Germany’s state of Bavaria – will for the first time see universities and research institutions creating an educational campus at an industrial site. Ottobrunn is one of the main locations for EADS Innovation Works, the corporate research arm that reports to the EADS Corporate Technical Office.

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BICAS campus activities will begin at EADS’ existing Ottobrunn site, and also will be located within the nearby IABG and EADS Astrium space division facilities – depending on needs. The potential exists for new campus building construction if warranted by future development.

Four main domains have been established for the BICAS focus: Green aerospace, public security, autonomous systems and integrated systems – all being pursued with the goals of educating and motivating students in both innovation and entrepreneurship.

“From the very beginning, the concept of entrepreneurship will be embedded in the campus,” explained Alexander Mager, a corporate-level EADS manager who is the BICAS Project Head. “We will bring in expertise from the commercial point of view, ensuring students understand that research is not done just for research – the end result is to make marketable products, with company start-ups and spinoffs in aerospace and security fully encouraged.”

Joining EADS as BICAS partners are technology and science service provider IABG; the Bauhaus Luftfahrt non-profit internationally-oriented think tank; the DLR German Aerospace Center; the Hochschule München university of applied sciences; the Technical University of Munich (TUM - Technische Universität München); and the Munich-based German armed forces’ university (Universität der Bundeswehr München).

Their resources will be expanded with the involvement of other participants from industry, universities and research centers. “This is not a ‘closed club,’ as BICAS is open for additional collaborators, with a particular international emphasis,” Mager added. “As the campus is oriented to the world, teaching is planned in English to attract international students.”

BICAS will be based on three “pillars”: research projects; scientific equipment; and teaching and study programs – with initial project funding of 20 million euros pledged by Bavaria, and the same amount coming from private investors/industry, ensuring a sustained volume of activity at the campus for the next five years.

Two initial launch projects for BICAS have EADS involvement and leadership, and both provide a follow-on to development work already launched by the company.

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Key EADS players in the start-up of BICAS are shown together in the EADS Innovation Works’ Showroom at Ottobrunn (from right to left): Project Head Alexander Mager; Andreas Schuster, Technical Manager; and Tobias Zech, Commercial Manager.

 “This is a perfect illustration of how BICAS will bring industry together with universities and institutes to establish new competences at one site, generating an environment of open innovation to create new ideas, products and capabilities – all while supporting the campus’ growth,” said EADS Innovation Works’ Andreas Schuster, who is the BICAS Technical Manager. “An advantage is that all of the activity will occur on one campus, with people working side-by-side networking in the same canteen, and benefitting from a creative atmosphere to get the job done.”

The BICAS campus will begin at EADS’ existing Ottobrunn site, with certain buildings and facilities refurbished as necessary. This will include an area that will become available as the current tenant – the Eurocopter division of EADS – moves its development and support activity from Ottobrunn to Donauwörth, Germany. The existing Eurocopter helipad at Ottobrunn, which is certified for flight test activity, will remain, allowing BICAS programs to validate demonstrator aircraft and systems directly from the campus.

BICAS activities also will be conducted within IABG’s Ottobrunn facility adjacent to EADS, as well as at the nearby site of EADS’ Astrium space division – depending on needs. Areas around this existing aerospace “cluster” at Ottobrunn do exist for potential new campus building construction if warranted by BICAS’ future development.

Future planning calls for BICAS to become home to a set of new master study programs. These studies are shaped around identified engineering skills and requirements needed for future programs and applications in the field of aerospace and security. This activity is envisioned on a basis of three terms annually with 200 students per year – open to those with a technical/mathematical Bachelor’s degree. There also are later plans to set up a postgraduate school involving approximately 120 PhD students.

In one of its first international outreach efforts, BICAS will have an exhibit stand at this September’s ILA Berlin Air Show (Stand 2406, Hall 2).