CITEC Welcomes Minister of Science

Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen’s inaugural visit to Bielefeld campus

From the Cluster of Excellence, to the Faculty of Medicine and the modernization of the university: this Friday, 19 January, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen paid her first visit as Minister of Culture and Science of North Rhineland-Westphalia to Bielefeld University, where she met with university leaders to discuss the current issues facing the university.

Discussing the future of excellence in research (from left): CITEC Coordinator Prof. Dr. Helge Ritter, Parliamentary State Secretary Klaus Kaiser, and Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen pose with the service robot Floka. Photo: Bielefeld University During her visits, the Minister was also introduced to Bielefeld University’s Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC). She toured the CITEC Building accompanied by Professor Dr. Martin Egelhaaf, Prorektor of Bielefeld University for research, early career researchers and equal opportunities, and CITEC Coordinator Professor Dr. Helge Ritter.

Pepper, the “social” robot, greeted the Minister and took her to the experimental apartment at the Cluster of Excellence. One topic was the upcoming main proposal for the Excellence Strategy – the university is applying for a new Cluster of Excellence that would build upon the foundation of CITEC.

In the experimental apartment, Ritter briefed the Minister on the Cognitive Service Robotics Apartment (CITEC) research project, and also spoke more generally about internationally renowned CITEC research on thinking technical systems. The CSRA project is one of four large-scale projects at the Cluster. CSRA investigates how people interact and communicate with an intelligent apartment in their daily lives – and how a robot can help.

Following this, Minister Pfeiffer-Poensgen was shown the progress that has been made in modernizing the main university building, as well as other construction projects on Bielefeld University’s campus.

In a roundtable session with Chancellor Dr. Stephan Becker and the Prorektors of Bielefeld University, other important topics for the university were also discussed.