A total of 9 times we have now awarded the Univention Prize. The objective of this competition was to support the employment of Open Source in a university context and make it known to a broad public. The response impressed us. In some years, there were almost 40 bachelor, master or diploma theses submitted for the competition.

And the broad press coverage in well-known media such as heise.de, the Linux Magazine, Pro-Linux or golem.de certainly contributed to deliver the message to a wide audience that Open Source has nothing to do with spaghetti code, idealism or even stubborn dogmatism. So you could say: The goal is reached!

What impressed us, too, was the range of submitted topics and the quality of the works. Both impressively demonstrated what a high level of technical requirement open source solutions can have. But there were not only submissions from the IT faculties. For example, some theses have examined the economic sustainability of open source and others discussed the social relevance showing the wide range of areas the topic open source offers.

A big thanks to the jury members

The prize was only made possible by the different jurors who voluntarily evaluated all papers. In addition to well-known journalists, the jury also included representatives from science and business. A big thanks to all of them who committed and took the effort to ponder about scientific questions and to make a preferably objective assessment which was surely sometimes difficult.

Today the success of Open Source is undoubted and there is actually no DAX company that does not have any open source software in use. This is equally shown by the somewhat late commitments to open source by corporations such as Microsoft who long pursued purely proprietary approaches. Today, no one wants nor can circumvent open source anymore if he does not want to renounce the innovative power, the agility and the high security of open source based systems.

This is why we believe that there is now no longer a need for a particular competition to bring more focus on the issue of open source at universities. And even if traditions can be beautiful, we feel after nine years it would be exciting to embark on completely new topics.

Good bye Graduate Prize! Hello Future Ideas!

This is why we decided to discontinue the Univention graduate award. Instead, we would like to think about whether there are other topics that we could explicitly promote. Maybe you have an idea? Because open systems, transparent structures and control over our own data also play, of course, an immense role for current topics such as artificial intelligence, openness in educational systems, digital sovereignty or the urgently necessary digitization of our national administration.

We would be very happy if you supported us in our deliberations with your suggestions, so that in 2018 we could perhaps continue with a new, exciting award.

So at this point we say: “Good bye Graduate Prize! Hello Future Ideas! “

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Peter H. Ganten is the founder and CEO of Univention.

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