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Highlights and challenges

Hans-Jochen Schiewer takes stock of the 2018/19 academic year

Freiburg, Dec 13, 2019

The 2018/19 academic year was a year of contradictions for the University of Freiburg. Despite excellent performance numbers, the University was not selected as a university of excellence.  However, together with its partners, the University was successful in competing for funding as a European university and with a large number of research alliances. The new “Connected Services” project is also a step forward in the University’s cultural shift. What other highlights and challenges have marked the past academic year? Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer will present his annual report to the Senate. Equal Opportunities Officer Dr. Regina Herzog will also present her first report.

The power of creativity: The banner on the Rectorate building presents the University of Freiburg motto. Photo: Sandra Meyndt

The report begins with the application for the funding line “Universities of Excellence.” Despite the great commitment of its staff from research, teaching, administration, service and technology as well as the students themselves, the University of Freiburg was not able to convince the Excellence Commission with its proposal. “We were very disappointed with this decision, particularly in view of the fact that our performance numbers speak for themselves,” said Hans-Jochen Schiewer. With its future strategy under the motto “Connecting Creative Minds - Trinational, European, Global,”, however, the University of Freiburg is on the right track. “The arguments with which we were able to convince people are also important to us.”

Some of the arguments included the young scientists as the driving force behind research; the focus on innovation and disruption, i.e. completely new, groundbreaking research approaches; the international research college Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS); Eucor - The European Campus as a model of success for the concept of a European university; and Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, in which the university plays a pioneering role nationwide. “We will continue to improve our starting position in order to be successful with new, strong applications in future competitions for funding at both the national and European levels,” emphasizes Schiewer.

“No Science, no future”

The Rector will also discuss other highlights of the year: For the trinational Eucor – The European Campus network, the University of Freiburg will receive funding from the State of Baden-Württemberg between 2020 and 2023. The European Commission has selected the consortium European Partnership for an Innovative Campus Unifying Regions (EPICUR) as a pilot project of a “European University.” The University of Freiburg will continue its work with the University of Ghana at the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) over the next six years. The Sustainability Center Freiburg, a cooperation between the University of Freiburg and the Fraunhofer Institutes in Freiburg, will continue to receive funding until the end of 2020 and will receive sustainable funding from the federal and state governments after 2020. The University of Freiburg has submitted a successful application under the Tenure Track Program by the federal and state governments for the promotion of young scientists and has recruited an additional seven professorships, which will be funded until 2032. Under the motto “No Science, No Future,” the state universities are placing demands on the new university financing agreement.

Under the title “Connected Services,” the university has also launched a large-scale initiative to improve and modernize the administration. In doing so, it is setting the course for more efficient processes, better communication, greater participation, more scope for creativity and more effective support for work on the University’s core tasks. The projects are to be implemented over the next five years.

Equal Opportunities Officer report

Regina Herzog, the Equal Opportunities Officer at the University of Freiburg, presents her first annual report with the latest figures on the proportion of women students and academics at the University of Freiburg. Other topics include the proportion of women in the eleven faculties, data on appointment procedures, the awarding of prizes, and the activities and work priorities of the Equal Opportunities Office in 2018 and 2019.

The Rector will present the Annual Report on December 17, 2019 at 2:15pm in the Senate Hall of the Rectorate building. This will be followed up by the presentation of the Equal Opportunities Commissioner. All members of the University are cordially invited. Registration is not required.

Patrick Siegert