From research lab to leadership position: Software Campus celebrates 10th anniversary

In 2011, representatives from research and industry, together with Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, launched the Software Campus funding program to counteract the shortage of specialists and managers in the IT sector in Germany. Since then, a total of 452 excellent participants from 40 nations have received personal support in the Software Campus: each participant received up to €100,000 from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to manage their own IT research project, personal mentoring from their industry partner, and high-quality training.

Executives for German digital companies

The partners agreed as a common goal that after 10 years 50% of the graduates will be in management positions in companies or will have founded companies. The program was relaunched in 2017 and today, a decade after the program was founded, surveys (as of June 2021) show that this goal is being achieved. Even though the first graduates successfully completed the program in 2014, making it only 7 years, the 50% mark is in sight. The oldest class is on average 45% in leadership positions in business and startups, 73% even including academia.

Political visibility for participants and partner consortium

The IT Summit not only marked the launch of the Software Campus, but is also the recurring event at which the Federal Ministers of Education and Research, Dr. Johanna Wanka and Anja Karliczek, meet with program participants and partners. Started with 8 industry and 9 research partners in 2011, part of the consortium changed for the new edition in 2017 – and it grew. Today, 11 partners each on the research and industry side are active in the program. link to partners

Sustainable networking

The innovative and lively nature of the program can be felt when all participants come together at the annual summits: top-class partners, motivated participants, interested and supportive representatives of the BMBF and the project management organization. Project results are presented, graduates receive their certificates, and networking takes place to discuss career options with industry partners. The continuation of this network is also a central concern of the Software Campus Alumni e.V.. Seven alumni founded the association in 2014 and are continuing to expand their activities, including lecture series and regular get-togethers.

Software Campus – and what’s next?

The further life and career paths inspire the Software Campus team: Personal contacts and information from online career networks show that about 45% of the graduates go into business and 11% founded their own startup. 44% stay in research to complete their PhD or Master’s degree or to take on leadership positions after graduating from the Software Campus.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all partners and supporters of the Software Campus from the areas of personnel, research, administration, accounting, communication, management, law, as well as the project management organization DLR. We would like to thank the BMBF for its initiation, funding and continued support.

“The diverse collaboration in the Software Campus is unique on many levels. The exchange with participants and alumni, the commitment of the partners, the project sponsor and the BMBF – we are all pulling together. For me as program manager, this is a great feeling of confirmation for the work done so far and at the same time an incentive for creative, innovative ideas with a view to the future of the Software Campus.”
– Stefan Jazdzejewski, Program Lead

Stories from 10 years of Software Campus and program successes could be viewed on the campaign site until end of June 2022.

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