Bosch Forms Research Center for Power Electronics

December 09, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

The Bosch Group, the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences, the University of Stuttgart, and the state of Baden-Württemberg are to establish a center for power electronics studies and research. The Baden-Württemberg state government has given the project the go-ahead. Power electronics includes modules, components, and systems that are used in areas such as hybrid vehicles, but also in the renewable energy field, where they are part of photovoltaic systems.

This alliance is said to be the first research and teaching network of its kind in Germany. Over a ten-year period, Bosch and the German state of Baden-Württemberg will invest more than 25 million euros in new teaching posts and infrastructure. The Robert Bosch Center for Power Electronics is to be based in Reutlingen and Stuttgart.

"Despite economically difficult times, We are investing in the future, strengthening Germany as a business and educational location, and assuming social responsibility," said Dr. Wolfgang Malchow, the Bosch board of management member responsible for human resources and social welfare.

In addition, Malchow regards the new center as a logical complement to the Bosch Group’s activities in Reutlingen. Dr. Volkmar Denner, the Bosch board of management member responsible for automotive electronics, said, "In Reutlingen, we are investing some 600 million euros in the construction of a new semiconductor manufacturing facility and a testing center. Over the next few years, the location will need highly qualified graduates capable of tackling the challenges for power electronics in areas such as electro-mobility."

"On the one hand, this agreement to set up and operate a center is a milestone in the development of Reutlingen’s University of Applied Sciences. On the other hand, it breaks new ground in establishing an alliance between a university of applied sciences and a full-blown university. The result will be a model research and teaching network offering bachelor and master degree courses and well as a joint PhD program," said Prof. Dr. Peter Niess, president of the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences.

"For Stuttgart University, the center is also a welcome addition to the courses it offers – one that is geared to the needs of the future. "A collaboration such as this is a beacon for future projects," said Professor Wolfram Ressel, president of the university. "Among other things, we hope this will generate a pool of qualified masters graduates. We are also treading new ground in founding a cooperative graduate college with the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences. This college will allow the best graduates from these two institutes to write their PhDs. For this purpose, eleven scholarships are available, whose continued existence is guaranteed."

In Reutlingen, 35 additional undergraduate places will be created for its bachelor program, and a master program will be set up for 30 postgraduates per year. In adding power electronics to their curriculum, these universities are now teaching a subject that is important for the region. The agreement will allow excellent professors to be appointed, and attract outstanding applicant from the region and beyond. It also offers the opportunity to establish an internationally recognized institute.

The planned power electronics network comprises a total of seven chairs. Five new chairs will be financed to the tune of more than 25 million euros. Three of them will be created in Reutlingen, while there will be a junior professorship in Stuttgart, and Reutlingen and Stuttgart will share one chair. Bosch is contributing some 12.4 million euros to finance two endowed chairs at the Reutlingen University of Applied Sciences. This money will finance the equipment needed to begin teaching, as well as academic and administrative personnel. Bosch will provide an additional in-kind payments worth roughly 2.3 million euros. These might include, for example, experiments in semiconductor manufacturing and the use of laboratory facilities. In all, therefore, Bosch will sponsor this project to the tune of some 15 million euros. The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science and Technology will provide some 12 million euros over a ten-year period.