Acquisition Of Majority Stake In Jacobs University By SIT Completed

15 Dec 2021

The acquisition of the majority shares in Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH by Schaffhausen Institute of Technology Genossenschaft (SIT), announced on September 23, 2021, has been formally completed. As a result, SIT is the majority shareholder in Jacobs University with 66.68 percent. The Jacobs University Bremen Alumni & Friends Foundation and the Reimar Lüst Foundation remain equal minority shareholders.

The completion of the acquisition is accompanied by various agreements supporting the further development of the campus site and the university, and also benefitting the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the community of Bremen-North. Thus, as a result of the property transfers to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the waiver of a right to purchase on the part of Jacobs University, the entire Oeversberg complex is now available to the citizens of Bremen-North for future use as a sports park.

As a further component of the final agreements, the Senator for Science and Ports of the State of Bremen has lifted the 2027 limit on the state recognition of Jacobs University Bremen and issued an unlimited state recognition. The awarding of university degrees in the State of Bremen is subject to the Bremen Higher Education Act. Accordingly, university degrees may only be awarded by state or state-recognized universities. Jacobs University received its first state recognition in 1999, the year the university was founded.

Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports Bremen, commented: “Since its founding in 2001, Jacobs University Bremen has developed into an important addition to Bremen's academic landscape with its broad range of subjects, its campus model that is unique in Germany, and its consistent international orientation. 

With the decision of the Jacobs Foundation in 2020 to realign its foundation work and to withdraw from the sponsorship of JUB as a longstanding majority shareholder, the further development of the university was acutely endangered. In this situation, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen assumed responsibility and temporarily took over the majority shares via the Verein zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung e.V. (Association for the Promotion of Scientific Research). Through the Board of Governors, we initiated a structured process together with the management of JUB and the other shareholders to find a new, private majority shareholder.

In this process, we succeeded in finding an investor in Serguei Beloussov and the Schaffhausen Institute of Technology (SIT) founded by him, whose concept takes up the strengths of the JUB described above and at the same time opens up new perspectives for it.

In recent years, the JUB has twice successfully undergone accreditation by the German Council of Science and Humanities, and by the end of 2021, all study programs have been accredited by the Accreditation Council Foundation. This means that all requirements for unlimited state recognition have been met. Jacobs University has already received the corresponding notification.

Thus, the foundation for a positive further development has been laid. I am pleased that this could be achieved through the responsible actions of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and wish Jacobs University all the best for a successful future as an integral part of the scientific landscape in the state of Bremen."

In order to ensure long-term university operations along with associated scientific and technological research facilities, the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which assumed ownership of the entire campus site after the conclusion of the acquisition agreement, is allocating the property to Jacobs University on the basis of a 99-year, heritable leasehold.

The investment plans of SIT founder and chairman Serguei Beloussov include not only modernization and expansion of the study program offerings or the introduction of new hybrid forms of teaching and learning, but also infrastructure developments. These include an expansion of housing options, improving teaching and research facilities through modern and larger lecture halls, and the establishment of a technology park, based on innovative research facilities that will generate new entrepreneurial activity and attract industrial research laboratories and innovative companies. These growth plans will be made possible by reserving expansion space in the Science Park north of the university.

"We're excited to create the new generation Jacobs University together with Schaffhausen Institute of Technology," said Serguei "SB" Beloussov, Founder and Chairman of SIT and Founder of Swiss-Singaporean tech unicorn Acronis, representing the new majority shareholder SIT. "Both SIT and JUB are centers of interdisciplinary excellence in science, technology and education. SIT and JUB will develop into a global leading scientific institution and transform Jacobs University to train the new generation technology leaders."

The partnership between SIT, headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and Bremen's Jacobs University will promote interdisciplinary science, technology and education in Europe and beyond. In doing so, the development of knowledge through science relying on close collaboration between research, business, and education is SIT's vision. The SIT business model is based on two main components: first, a not-for-profit facility for research and education around the concept of an Institute for Advanced Studies targeting eight focus areas: Quantum Technology, Advanced Materials, Software Engineering, Machine Intelligence and Computer Science, Quantum Business Science, Life Sciences, Autonomous Systems and Robotics, Cyber Protection, and Information Integrity. The second is for-profit, a container for all businesses that are part of the SIT ecosystem. Its mission is to create new businesses offering services related to education, technology transfer, scientific consulting, and executive education tailored to the needs of the industry. It consists of an educational institute, a research center, and an extensive internal and external ecosystem that collaborates with some of the world’s leading academic and scientific institutions, including Carnegie-Mellon University, the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Jacobs University Bremen (JUB).

The successful conclusion of this one-year process of finding a new majority shareholder and thus securing the future of Jacobs University is a milestone for the university – but also for Bremen and especially for Bremen-North," commented Jacobs University Managing Director Andrea Herzig-Erler. "Jacobs University will continue to be a place for excellent education and research, the financing of future growth is guaranteed and thus not only the securing of more than 430 current jobs but, in perspective, further expansion. For our neighbors and the sports clubs in Bremen-North, we are particularly pleased that the property agreements with the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the simultaneous waiver of the purchase of the Oeversberg property have secured the long-term use of the Oeversberg as their sports park.