International Association of Lake Constance Universities

The IBH: connecting science, industry and communities around Lake Constance

The International Association of Lake Constance Universities (IBH) supports and facilitates cooperation between higher education institutions around Lake Constance, across four countries. World-leading research universities, universities of applied sciences, teacher training colleges, as well as music and art academies work together under the auspices of the IBH, creating mutual synergies from their individual strengths and perspectives. Innovative solutions for the region are developed in transnational cooperation with industry and other non-academic partners. Close collaboration in these projects leads to long-term partnerships: the IBH higher education institutions see their diverse approaches as a strength as they learn from one another and exploit new opportunities in knowledge transfer.

Social impact is at the centre of all our projects; be it in the form of innovative products and services, new societal alliances or evidence-based policy advice. To this purpose, our researchers work together with companies, policymakers and civil society. All of these partners are united in their understanding that the greatest challenges do not stop at state borders or system boundaries, and that the best results arise in collaboration between diverse stakeholders.

The IBH is the most significant project of the International Lake Constance Conference, the organisation in which the states, provinces and cantons bordering Lake Constance in Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland have joined forces. We are an ambassador for the region and a role model for other transnational organisations in Europe.

How we work

IBH projects span national borders as well as types of higher education institutions. Seventy-one projects in research, teaching and innovation were funded between 2008 and 2019. Cooperation between research and real-world application is particularly intensive in our thematically focussed innovation clusters, the IBH-Labs.

In addition, the IBH enables opportunities for potential. For example: we network experts across the higher education landscape in working groups, we initiate joint strategic projects through personnel recruitment, and we have launched a think tank in which scientists and non-academic stakeholders discuss joint solutions to future challenges: the DenkRaum Bodensee.

The IBH is funded through the International Lake Constance Conference membership fees, the EU Interreg Programme and the membership fees paid by IBH higher education institutions.

Our impact

Academic research, analysis and testing – IBH projects are much more than this. Our central focus is on tangible results developed in and for the Lake Constance region. For this reason, our impact reaches far wider than scientific publications, presentations and media reports. Paramount are the innovations that arise in the projects: from software supported solutions in dementia patient care, to networked production processes in mechanical engineering, to new technology in material processing. The IBH supports a broad spectrum of projects, such as the development of new forms of participation in policymaking and civil society or the improvement of writing skills amongst students in vocational training.

These successful real-world applications of our projects spotlight the IBH and contribute to fact-based decision-making in policy, industry and society.